It is with a mixture of great pride and sadness that I write to let you know that Jeff Suzik, our Assistant Head of School, has accepted the position of Head of School at Mounds Park Academy (MPA) in St. Paul, MN. Jeff will finish the school year here at MICDS (and wrap up all that he’s working on!) before heading to Minnesota to assume his new responsibilities there starting July 1, 2013.
Interestingly, Jeff began his relationship with MPA five years ago, as a candidate for their Upper School Director position. Luckily for us, he accepted our invitation to join MICDS as Assistant Head of School, but MPA has held a special place in his heart since that time. Founded in 1982, MPA is a young school with big dreams, a great sense of collaboration and an abiding commitment to progressive school ideals. MPA, an independent coeducational day school serving 550 students in grades JK through 12, is located just four hours from Jeff’s childhood home where his parents still live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Many of the founding families and faculty remain actively involved at MPA, and just recently, for the first time, there are legacy children enrolled at the school. Jeff will have the opportunity to help the community shape the school MPA will become during his tenure there, and he is eager to take on that challenge.
In his fifth year at MICDS, Jeff’s fingerprints are everywhere! Over the course of his time with us, he has been involved in every single professional hire; worked indefatigably with division directors and department chairs to align curriculum and implement best practice pedagogy; coordinated faculty evaluation, professional development grants and summer opportunities. Jeff has served as the administrative liaison to the Educational Life Committee and attended all Board meetings, and he has coordinated the annual Board Campus Visit Days. In his first year with us, he even authored our history book, which allowed him to share his contagious love of institutional history and his beautiful writing skills. In his second year, he served as the Interim Head of the Middle School. In addition, he has managed to teach a course each year, including the History of Consumerism, American Protest Movements and the Invention of the American Teenager.
Jeff has worked closely with so many at MICDS, including those who oversee College Counseling, Student Services, International Programs, Diversity programs, Community Service, Technology, Eliot Summer Academy and Extended Day—plus others I am doubtless forgetting! For the last year and a half, he has coordinated, along with the Steering Committee, the ISACS Self-Study.
Anyone who’s ever chatted for any length of time with Jeff appreciates how much he knows about so many things, whether it’s local architecture or popular culture, professional sports or literary classics or ethnic cuisines. With his quick smile and generous spirit, Jeff has developed strong relationships with faculty and staff throughout the School. He remembers the details so freely shared with him, where folks grew up or went to school, the ages of their children or the kind of dog they have. Like so many others, I am personally so thankful for his friendship, his partnership and his wise counsel during our years together at MICDS.
MICDS is deeply grateful to Jeff for his kind presence and many accomplishments. We are a better school because of his contributions, and he leaves lacunae that will not be easily filled. Given the lateness in the hiring season, I hesitate to launch a national search for his successor at this time and have decided to spend the next few months assessing our needs before beginning a search in the fall for the following year. I will work with other administrators to make sure that nothing falls between the cracks in the interim.
Please join me in congratulating Jeff on this great new opportunity!