I guess I have ended up changing directions a lot, sometimes just because I wanted to and sometimes because it seemed like the only good option. As a result, the list of things I wanted to do at one point or another but haven’t, is pretty huge. On the other hand, I’ve become pretty comfortable with the idea that if you don’t like the way things are now, you can go ahead and change them.
As a senior in high school in Fairborn Ohio, a suburb of Wright Patterson Air Force Base, I was pretty sure I was on my way to Notre Dame, my father and grandfather’s alma mater, to become a naval officer. On a lark, I went to visit a small Quaker school with a couple of friends from the soccer team. A few months later I was enrolling at Earlham. As a senior there, I had a lined up a job teaching high school at a Quaker school in the West Bank. Then the intifada got hot, the school closed, and I was on my way to Oxford to take the first steps toward being a professor of English, ideally at a small college like Earlham.
I met my wife Susan there, and she turned out to be a keeper. But ten years and two degrees later, we finally figured out that the salaries of two English teachers do not equal the loan payments of two English teachers. So, it was off to the business world, and through a stroke of good luck I ended up at McKinsey. Over the next five years, I learned an incredible amount about the various ways one can maximize shareholder value. That turned out to be the perfect foundation for launching my own consulting firm, which some allege doubles as a socialist commune. Nothing wrong with making money, but there are so many other reasons to work.
I could go on, but the point is that when Susan and I found ourselves talking with four other families in December of 2011 about where to send our kids to school, taking a crack at starting our own school seemed like a plausible option, especially since we already knew the teachers we wanted our kids to be with. Now, as a parent and Board member, I see my job as helping to define a possible future that gets people excited, and then giving our wonderful teachers and staff the support they need to make it happen.
I talked a little bit about how strongly I feel about the importance of hiring of exceptional individuals here. Worth noting that we did that.