I arrived on campus one Tuesday afternoon in March, a month that brought much snow to the city. I came in the snow; I left with wet shoes. Unlike the interview at the NAIS Conference, the details here are very sketchy in my mind. Four days later, I had a grand list of people I had met. Some names had faces -- many of whom would mentor me during my first years at the school; others were part of the haze of racing from one room to another, answering questions followed by more questions.
The first day began with a tour of the campus. Mike Teitelman’s words depicted a place with some aging buildings, all of which he deeply loved; he was proud to continue the tradition of progressive education established by Miss Nelson and continued under Mr. Comfort’s tenure. Along the tour, I met Russ Bissell who delighted me with his stories and puns, Judi Chayet clad in black (dress and mantilla), and Nancy Priest reading to her ever-captivated students. Later, I spent some time in a French classroom with Madame Guiberteau. That was the beginning of a friendship I treasure.
Wednesday and Thursday -- and a bit of Friday -- brought many classroom visits. I recall Dan Barney’s humor in his eighth grade English class, Cathy Peryam’s calm and kindness, Sally Bisbee’s reverence for grammar ( and the lie/lay drill ), Jack Faber’s devotion to math with an irreverence I immediately loved. This is but a gander at the week.
I have forgotten all but two interviews. I wonder if any candidate in the history of the school was ever interviewed by a fourth grader. Should I add I had to pretend I wanted to see her ferret? Given my fondness for members of the class of 1981, I must divulge the name of the fourth-grader -- Marcia Toll ’81. Then, there was Ruth Gorham. That day-- and until she left Graland-- she was my Greek tutor, and I was her pupil.
Days later, with a contract in hand and a snowy visit to the sundial in Cranmer Park, I began my new life. I spent the weekend in downtown Denver at the Hilton Hotel. My exploration was quick and rather disappointing. By 8:00 p.m. my first evening, there were few signs of life-- quite different from New York City and Philadelphia. However, as I wrote in fragments in my journal, I knew I wanted to work at Graland School. I thought I would stay for about three years. I stayed a bit longer, much longer.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.