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Head of School Community Update: April 1, 2022

Head of School Community Update: April 1, 2022

Dear Bullis Families,

Bullis Community Update from Head of School, Christian Sullivan

I hope you and your families had a rejuvenating spring break. Lisa and I spent time with dear friends in their delightful vacation home. And as the adage goes, the only thing better than having your own vacation home is friends having a vacation home.

Hiring Updates

Recently, I announced additional positions that have been added to the Senior Leadership Team–the Director of Arts (Cheryl Terwilliger), the Director of Athletics (Justin Leith), the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Kenneth Waters), and the Director of Wellness (Jenna Borrelli). I am pleased to report that the last piece in the Senior Leadership Team jigsaw puzzle was put into place on Monday. As you know, our beloved Lower School head, Margaret Andreadis, announced in January that she would be retiring at the end of this year. With the help of a terrific search committee (Jeff Alexander, Mercedes Alicea, Faith Darling, Nate Gordon, Jennifer Houston, Marilyn Moreno, Lara Morford, and Meredith Wade–thank you all so much) and the search firm Educators’ Collaborative, we settled on eight excellent semi-finalists, all of whom had extensive leadership experience. Students, parents, and faculty were invited to meet with and provide feedback on the three finalists, and I am delighted to let you know that Genta Branstetter has accepted my offer to be the next Head of Lower School starting on July 1, 2022.

Genta is currently the Associate Lower School Principal of Hong Kong International School. HKIS educates approximately 3000 students, 660 of whom are in the Lower School. Prior to that, Genta was the Associate Principal at The American School in Japan and was a math specialist and coach at Washington International School before departing for Japan. Genta’s references (and I personally spoke to nine of them!) waxed lyrical about her connection to students, faculty, and parents–she, too, is beloved in the schools where she has worked. She is known as a curriculum and programmatic expert and is very excited to help support and lead our Lower School as it embarks on the next stage of its development. Genta has degrees from Northern Arizona University and Michigan State University and is National Board-certified. Genta and her husband, Chris, already have a home locally and are looking forward to returning to the United States where Chris will complete his diplomatic career at the State Department. I know you will join me in giving Genta and Chris a warm Bullis welcome back home!

COVID-19

I thought you would be interested to know that, anecdotally, it seems that a large percentage of students are opting not to wear masks, especially in the Upper School. Again, anecdotally, I judge that percentage-wise, more teachers are wearing masks than the students. This week, coming back from spring break and the possibility that many people were exposed through travel, we asked everyone to test on Tuesday and Thursday; we ran 1576 tests and had four positive cases, three on Tuesday and one on Thursday. Here are the latest numbers in Montgomery County; the Omicron sub-variant, BA.2, seems to be making its rounds. Let’s hope that with the warmer weather and more outside time, we will see a swift drop in numbers.

Student Enrollment

And finally, I want you to know that on the weekend of the new student enrollment deadline day, March 18, Bullis was fully enrolled for next year (2022-2023) with 900 students. This is a testament to the desire of current students and families to stay and the strength of applications. I want to offer my sincere gratitude to the faculty for creating the environment and experiences that make our families want to stay, to the admissions team for their extraordinary work telling the Bullis story, and to you all for entrusting Bullis with the care of your children, whatever the age. My entire team does not take lightly the trust that you place in us; we are honored and not complacent–we will continue to strive to continue to earn your trust on a daily basis.

Warmly,

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.