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Bullis Community Update: May 19, 2023

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Bullis Community Update: May 19, 2023

Dear Bullis Families,

Bullis Head of School, Christian Sullivan

Today is the last day that the class of 2023 will be on campus as students. Next week, they will participate in their Habitat for Humanity service projects, and on June 5, they will graduate at Strathmore. We will miss them deeply. They are about to join the ranks of Bullis alumni, and we look forward to welcoming them back in the coming years and decades as alums, and as parents, grandparents, and trustees. Those constituencies may seem bizarrely remote to the 129 students right now, but the passage of time will take care of that; the seven current trustees who are alums can pay testament!


At the beginning of this school year, I shared with students that when I walk around campus looking down at my phone, I miss opportunities for meaningful interaction. I vowed to do better and promised our students that if they caught me looking down at my phone outside of my office, they would earn a blue-gold dress day. I’m afraid that we did have our fair share of blue-gold days, but the process of thinking intentionally about my phone use has made a real difference in my relationship to my phone. Most days when I leave my office, my phone stays at my desk. This opens me up to more conversations, more noticing, more being present.

Evidence is mounting that cellphone use is addictive, can impede learning and connection, and can be detrimental to mental health. Imposing restrictions is becoming more and more commonplace at schools. At our first Senior Leadership Team retreat this summer, we will be working diligently to understand the risks and potential benefits of cellphone use in schools and develop appropriate limits. I will communicate our new cellphone policy to parents and students before the start of the next school year. Whatever limits are set, I will ask parents for your help supporting these new protocols, which may include, in some cases, reducing your communication with your child during the school day and understanding that your child may only be able to respond to your communications at certain approved times. I know that any changes we make will take getting used to by both parents and students, but our faculty will be here to assist, and we will be putting our phones down alongside our students!

Dining Hall

The addition to and renovation of our dining hall is coming along beautifully, and we eagerly anticipate its opening on the first day of school this fall. In order to maximize the number of workdays to ensure a timely opening, the demolition of the existing dining hall’s interior will commence on Saturday, June 3. The kitchen will remain intact for the last three days of school; however, we will be serving grab-and-go lunches rather than our usual fare. Students and faculty will eat out outside, weather permitting, or inside other buildings if it rains. I promise it’ll all be worth it!

Football Coach Update

As our Athletic Director, Justin Leith, shared earlier this week, we have appointed Raymond Butler as the Interim Director of Football. Coach Butler brings valuable expertise and a demonstrated ability to develop and lead successful football programs. His extensive experience as a JV Head Coach and Assistant Varsity Head Coach at Bullis has given him a deep understanding of our players and the Bullis community. Please join me in congratulating Coach Butler!

Coach Butler is in the process of building his coaching team, but he has already appointed Ryan Kuehl (Associate Head Coach), Julian Peterson (Defensive Coordinator), and Elijah Weeks (Assistant). With a degree in history from Williams College, where he played lacrosse and football, Elijah will also be teaching Upper School social studies next year. He has taught and coached in high school and is currently Director of Player Development (football) for Yale University.

June 1 Contract Date

Every year, I send a rather uncomfortable reminder to families that the enrollment contract that new and returning families sign includes a notice that full tuition is payable as of June 1. We very much hope that every student who is enrolled for next year will come; however, if you currently have a valid enrollment contract for the 2023-24 school year but do not intend to send your child to Bullis, you must let us know in writing before June 1, 2023, that your child will not be returning. The full tuition for the entire school year is payable after that date, and we do enforce this element of the contract. Thank you.

So, not counting today, there are a mere 12 days left in the school year. I will write one final time before June 7 to give an overview of the year, say goodbye in writing to departing faculty members, preview what will be happening on campus over the summer, and even send remarks about the beginning of next year and what the year will hold. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend, and the happy last days of the school year.


christian sullivan signature

Christian G. Sullivan
Head of School