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Head of School Community Update: March 18, 2022

Head of School Community Update: March 18, 2022

Dear Bullis Families,

Bullis Community Update from Head of School, Christian Sullivan

As we all depart for a well-earned spring break, I wanted to take a moment to provide a few updates to the community. I’ll do my best to keep this short so that you can get on with your vacation plans, which hopefully include having some time away from your devices!

Bullis Gala

We held a fantastic “Bullis In Wonderland” Gala last Friday, and it was wonderful for so many of us to be together in person. I am grateful to our community for coming together to support our faculty professional development, student financial aid, and, importantly, student wellness programs during the “Raise the Paddle” portion of the gala. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to our gala co-chairs, Heather Charkatz and Nikki Manoussos, the countless volunteers who assisted them, particularly Livia Christensen, who practically lived at the gala office in the weeks leading up to the event, and our own Advancement team, led by Sharon Kessler. They all did a phenomenal job.

Return from Spring Break Plan

As a result of the dropping COVID rates in Montgomery County and at Bullis (we’ve had zero positive tests in the last two weeks of on-campus testing), we will return to campus after spring break as scheduled on March 29. That week, all students and faculty will test on Tuesday, March 29, and Thursday, March 31. We will continue to be “mask-optional” upon returning from spring break.

Hiring Updates

I am excited to report that Justin Leith has accepted my offer to be our new Athletic Director. Justin comes to us from Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, New Jersey, where he has served as Athletic Director and girls’ basketball coach since 2014. Justin is a former college and professional basketball player and has served in both coaching and administrative roles at various independent schools. At Stuart, he led a transformation of the entire athletics program, dramatically increased participation in school athletics, and led a coaching staff that took their teams to many years of state championships in multiple sports. We are thrilled to welcome Justin and his wife Meredith to Bullis!

Between last Friday and this Wednesday, we conducted full-day on-campus interviews of three finalists for the Head of Lower School position beginning July 1, 2022. Over the next week, we will be conducting exhaustive reference checks, and I anticipate an announcement shortly after spring break.

Signature Programs Update

As part of the work driven by our strategic plan, we have begun a process of evaluating, and, in some cases, reimagining our K-12 Signature Programs. We have already begun to make some changes to the Signature Programs and wanted to provide an update on what is changing in the short term. Next year, the Upper School program will remain very similar to years past. However, we are moving away from having the Humanities and Global Studies as a stand-alone K-12 signature program. Instead, we plan to integrate HGS-related programming into our existing program and curriculum. One way we’ll begin this next year is through the MS Journeys program, through which all students will participate in experiential learning trips tied to the STEM and Social Sciences curriculums. We are so grateful to Dr. Sara Romeyn, who has dedicated her immense talent and time to establishing and growing a wonderful HGS program over the past years. Looking ahead, we are thrilled that Sara will be leading our Upper School global studies program as we aim to inspire students to become impactful global citizens. We are also grateful that Sara will have even more time to bring her inspirational teaching to more students in the classroom.

We also congratulate Taryn Kittel, who has been appointed Director of the STEM Signature Program. Taryn is a Bullis alumna who brings to the role five years as a teacher in the math and technology and engineering departments. She will bring enthusiasm and creativity to this K-12 role. Taryn will fill the very large shoes left by the fantastic Mark Walter, who has done an outstanding job running our STEM Signature Program for the past three years. Mark has decided to focus exclusively on his role as third-grade classroom teacher–lucky 3rd graders! Congratulations, Taryn, and thank you, Mark.

Spring Athletic Season

The weather has been fantastic this past week, and it’s been wonderful to get outside and see our spring athletes practice and compete. I look forward to watching the games and matches we have coming up after the break. I’m also eagerly anticipating the many exciting music and art programs we have scheduled throughout the spring.

Speaking of the Bullis Arts program, I’d like to say a belated congratulations to the Middle School musical participants and faculty for a simply fabulous production of Cinderella in late February. Lisa and I were wowed by the talent displayed both by the actors on stage and by the technical crew who created true theater magic. Thank you to our entire Arts Department for their efforts, and Chelsie King, Anthony Brooks, and Charles Johnson, who led our students in the creation of a wonderful production.

With that, I wish you a restful and rejuvenating spring break. I look forward to seeing you all back on campus on March 29.


christian sullivan signature

Christian G. Sullivan
Head of School

I write to you with a heavy heart about the horrific shooting yesterday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. My colleagues and I, and I am sure our entire community, are so deeply saddened by this heartbreaking news. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families affected by this tragedy and with the entire Uvalde community as they respond and grieve this terrible loss.