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TPS MasterClass with Dr. Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

Reading from her recently released memoir, The Cat I Never Named, Amra gave us an intimate view into the Bosnian war and the effect of this insidious conflict on her family.
 

Yoga Assembly

On Friday, September 25, Tuxedo Park School warmly welcomed guest yoga instructor, Mrs. Stansbery, to lead our Friday Assembly.

Mr. Wise involved in Video Production of Episcobuild’s 15th annual 12th Night Celebration
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Zoë Steinberg-DiStefano

Alex Wise, a Music Instructor and Private Lessons Coordinator at TPS is involved in a video production of Episcobuild’s 15th annual 12th Night Celebration.

Alex Wise, a Music Instructor and Private Lessons Coordinator at TPS is involved in a video production of Episcobuild’s 15th annual 12th Night Celebration.

Twelfth Night is an annual, festive celebration marking the end of the holiday season. For 13 years, EpiscoBuild has celebrated Twelfth Night with a gala concert by local area Episcopal choirs and soloists of their best seasonal music. This year, the tradition will continue, online. 

As part of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh, EpiscoBuild has helped to build homes for seven Newburgh families. Any donations to this Twelfth Night Celebration will help raise funds to sponsor the 8th house. 

Despite the different conditions of this year’s event, EpiscoBuild will host, via the magic of the internet, the 14th Annual Twelfth Night Celebration for a Habitat Newburgh Home at 3 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2021 at this link: https://bit.ly/Episcobuild12thNight

You can donate online during the concert, or mail a check made out to "Habitat for Humanity" (noting “12th Night” in the memo) to: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh, 125 Washington Street, Newburgh NY 12550. 

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Zoë Steinberg-DiStefano

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, we are thrilled to announce the appointment of Stuart Johnson as Tuxedo Park School’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2021.

Dear TPS Faculty, Staff, Administrators, Parents, Alumni, and Friends:

 

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, we are thrilled to announce the appointment of Stuart Johnson as Tuxedo Park School’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2021. This unanimous decision by the Board of Trustees follows a unanimous recommendation by the Search Committee.

 

Stuart joins us from St. Bernard’s School, a kindergarten through 9th grade school for boys in Manhattan, where he served as headmaster for 35 years. During his time at the school, Stuart played an active role in admissions, secondary school placement, school publications, curriculum, strategic planning, fundraising, and the hiring, evaluation and development of teachers. He planned and executed significant capital campaigns, raising over $60 million during his tenure, and led a 63,000-square-foot expansion of the school’s facilities. Throughout his time at St. Bernard’s, Stuart continued to teach Latin, Greek, and modern European history and directed an annual Shakespeare play. Stuart’s references consistently spoke of his commitment to knowing and respecting each student, devotion to faculty, natural leadership skills, strong relationships with alumni, and love of education. He began his teaching career at St. Bernard’s, leaving briefly to teach at Groton School in Massachusetts. Stuart holds a BA in History from Yale University and is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and St. Albans School.

 

Stuart is excited to join our warm community, to learn and embrace our traditions, and to lead TPS to realize its full potential, and that of its next generation of students. We are also pleased to welcome to the Tuxedo Park School family Stuart’s wife, Susan O’Connell, a former attorney and now active tour guide at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and their son Stuart.  Stuart works as a coach and in high school admissions at Trinity School in New York and assists younger students with remote learning. 

 

Stuart’s appointment is the product of an extensive and deliberate search supported by Dr. Jerry Larson of Educational Directions. We had an extremely strong candidate pool, including several experienced sitting Heads of School. As previously communicated, 24 candidates completed formal application packages. The Search Committee interviewed eight strong, qualified candidates and presented four finalists to the TPS community. Based on the results of those virtual visits, two of the finalists were invited to campus for additional in-person visits with faculty, administrators, staff, and trustees. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support, participation, and flexibility throughout this search process. COVID-19 certainly presented some challenges, but our dedicated Tuxedo Park School community rose to the occasion. Our virtual visit days were well attended by faculty, staff, and parents and our candidates were impressed by our thoughtful and passionate community. 

 

As spring approaches, we will be in touch regarding plans to welcome Stuart as he transitions to his new role leading TPS.  Until then, we wish you a safe, healthy, and joyful holiday season.

 

Sincerely,

 

Suzanne Donaghy & Frank Peverly

Search Committee Co-Chairs

TPS MasterClass with Dr. Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
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Zoë Steinberg-DiStefano

Reading from her recently released memoir, The Cat I Never Named, Amra gave us an intimate view into the Bosnian war and the effect of this insidious conflict on her family.
 

Tuxedo Park School welcomed author and alumni mom, Dr. Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, to a special upper school student assembly over Zoom, in early December. Reading from her recently released memoir, The Cat I Never Named, Amra gave us an intimate view into the Bosnian war and the effect of this insidious conflict on her family. Students understanding of the war was helped by TPS historian in residence, Mr. John Ham, who presented the facts along with a topographical map and some select photographic journalism. Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess shared her personal photographs with the students and her words painted emotional pictures, helping students connect to the book’s characters.

 

The Cat I Never Named is an incredibly humane and moving memoir of a teen struggling to survive the Bosnian genocide—and the stray cat that provided comfort, and even saved her life many times over. This is a story of survival, war, love, and the metamorphic power of education.

 

The Cat I Never Named is relevant in so many ways to the conversations that students and families are having around about power, privilege, and prejudice. Students, conscious of these important themes, asked why Amra had chosen this moment in time to share her story. Amra acknowledged the pain but also the courage involved in standing up to ‘othering’ and for the truth. We ended our assembly in gratitude to Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess for sharing her  time and her story with Tuxedo Park School, and for reaffirming one of our core values- Be Kind.

 

 

Music Matters: Students flourish under the instruction of Mr. Schietroma
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Zoë Steinberg-DiStefano

Despite the challenges and changes in 2020, Director of Bands and Performing Arts, Todd Schietroma, has pivoted to socially distanced outdoor rehearsals

 

You may have seen the Tuxedo Park School Bands and Music Ensembles rocking out on our Instagram or Facebook (if you haven’t, check them out!). Despite the challenges and changes in 2020, Director of Bands and Performing Arts, Todd Schietroma, has pivoted to socially distanced outdoor rehearsals. Our students are still highly engaged, learning new instruments, and grooving like never before in TPS’s backyard.

At Tuxedo Park School, music lessons begin as early as Pre-K so that when they enter fourth grade, they can join the band, and later, additional elective ensembles in 7th grade.  From the Tropical Music Ensemble to the Rock and Jazz group, Junk-Orkestra, and the African and Brazilian Percussion ensembles, Mr. Schietroma offers our students extensive opportunities to engage with music!

“My favorite part of teaching the elective ensembles is teaching students to play new instruments and watching them progress from, How do I play this instrument? to I can’t believe I can play this instrument and it’s so much fun! in only two short months.” Mr. Schietroma explains. “Student input and suggestions are encouraged during the creative process and typically have a huge impact on the overall performance of the group. But greater than the results of the performance, is the empowerment and raised self-esteem that a student feels when they realize that their voice and point of view is valued.”

How does Mr. Schietroma teach kids to play all of these instruments and introduce them to so many genres? He models it of course- first by playing multiple instruments including, percussion, piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, clarinet, ukulele, steel drums, brass, strings, and the recorder, and then by having a genuine love for his craft.

For the last nine years, TPS students have flourished under the instruction of Mr. Schietroma.  He believes his talent and passion for music comes from the long line of music educators in his family. “I guess you could call it the family business,” he says. “After years of working as a composer, composing music for the Olympics, Xbox, and numerous commercials, there was still something missing. Teaching was always in my blood and I was fortunate to come to TPS and focus on my passion as an educator. There is nothing like the thrill of working with young students and watching them develop their musicianship and love of music.”  Students feel just as fortunate to have Mr. Schietroma as their instructor and mentor.  

Music matters at Tuxedo Park School and during this time of many adjustments, the normalcy of hearing melodies in the air brings a sense of joy and calm to our students on a daily basis!

 

 

TPS 8th Graders Attend Social Justice Summit, Hosted by The Masters School and Rye Country Day School
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Zoë Steinberg-DiStefano

The summit explored the important roles that diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice play, both in and outside of our school communities.
 

 

On Saturday, November 21, upper school teachers and students had the opportunity to attend the fourth annual interactive half-day Social Justice Summit for local independent schools (grades 8-12), hosted by Rye Country Day School (RCDS) and The Masters School. The summit explored the important roles that diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice play, both in and outside of our school communities. It featured student and faculty-led workshops on relevant social justice matters, as well as affinity groups, and a keynote presentation from renowned artist, Tshaka Campbell.

 

Two of TPS’ eighth-grade students, Lauren E. and Valerie D., facilitated workshops around the understanding of privilege and political intersection. When asked about the summit, Lauren said, “We have to disagree but learn from each other at the same time. Try to always have an open mind”.

 

We are thrilled that this group of students was able to attend the fourth annual Social Justice Summit, and we look forward to next year!

Thank you RCDS and The Masters School!

 

Lauren and Val, two TPS students that facilitated groups at the Summit.