Our vision of the role that competitive athletics can play in the lives of high school students is a deeply personal one. We—the head of school and athletic director of Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts—have been playing competitive sports since we were children, and we were blessed with opportunities to compete at both the high… Continue reading SPORTS LE-SHEM SHAMAYIM: THE SACRED MISSION OF HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS


Rigorous classes, holiday celebrations, sports, arts, boyfriends, breakups, SATs, bus rides, trips, shabbatonim, tefillah, Talmud Torah, Hebrew, English, Chinese, Israel, America... We believe that there is a growing need to ground our work in theory and to develop a shared language about what it means to bring the best of the Jewish camp experience to… Continue reading DEEPENING THE CONVERSATION ABOUT WHAT SCHOOLS CAN LEARN FROM CAMPS


The vastly expanding demands put upon school leaders provides schools with an opportunity to create their own form of distributed leadership. Baker explains what leadership teams are, why they offer many benefits, and how a team can be most effective. In the face of a changing world and increasingly complex challenges, the most important thing… Continue reading IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE “LONELY AT THE TOP”: DEVELOPING HIGH FUNCTIONING LEADERSHIP TEAMS

Researchers and Soul Searchers

9 December 2016  9 Kislev 5777    This week I observed an exquisite example of what the educational world calls “project-based learning,” driven by a task with real-world consequences.   Around the corner from Gann (or just through the woods, if you take a short-cut) is the site of The Fernald School. Before it was closed… Continue reading Researchers and Soul Searchers

Planting Trees

18 November 2016  17 Heshvan 5777    Shalom Chaverim,   I just returned from a two-day trip to Israel, where I visited places and people with whom Gann is building collaborative partnerships, spent time with Gann alumni, and—the reason for the trip—joined our nearly 30 Gann juniors for the final days of their Israel experience.   On… Continue reading Planting Trees

Election Reflections

11 November 2016 10 Marcheshvan 5777    Shalom Chaverim,   So much has already been written and said about the presidential election. I am not sure that I have much to add nor that I want to follow my inclination to rush immediately to words. At the same time, we began this week to process the… Continue reading Election Reflections

Our Messy Democracy

4 November 2016  3 Marcheshvan 5777    Shalom Chaverim,   With this election finally coming to an end next week, many of us are feeling a great deal of anxiety, both about the outcome and about what feels like the fragile, if not damaged, state of our country and our democracy. As a high school, we… Continue reading Our Messy Democracy

Under Our Roof

21 October 2016  19 Tishrei 5777    I have recently been reminded why Gann Academy chose to build its culture and community on a foundation of Jewish pluralism, a commitment to diversity and engagement with the “other” that is too rare in the Jewish community and that, while a hallmark of American democracy, seems to… Continue reading Under Our Roof

“The Times They Are A-Changin”

14 October 2016  12 Tishrei 5777    Shalom Chaverim,   After the news broke about Bob Dylan receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, my inbox and social media were filled with messages. Any Nobel Prize announcement is an historic moment, but when the recipient is Jewish, it is an “important moment in Jewish history”… Continue reading “The Times They Are A-Changin”

Two Minutes Matter—A Yom Kippur Reflection

7 October 2016 5 Tishrei 5777    Shalom Chaverim,   In the spirit of Yom Kippur and this season of teshuva—reflection, introspection, and repentance—I want to share one way that I recently missed the mark (probably the best translation for the Hebrew word for “sin”) as Head of School and what I learned from it.   Last… Continue reading Two Minutes Matter—A Yom Kippur Reflection