Trustees persist despite storm
February 16, 2017
—Blizzard conditions and a Massachusetts state of emergency did not keep the majority of trustees from their winter meetings last week. Many arrived early or maneuvered around cancelled flights to uphold their commitments.
Trustees weren’t the only ones dealing with challenging circumstances. The team at Paresky Commons, with less than 24 hours notice, served a delicious dinner for about 100 faculty, alumni and trustee guests Friday night. The dinner was originally planned for the Andover Inn, but a rooftop fan unit broke, putting a stop to food service in Samuels. “The kitchen was up and running by Saturday, but in the moment, Aramark staff pinch hit in spectacular fashion,” said Ferd Alonso, dean of administration and finance.
Following are highlights from the board’s business agenda:
Committee debut: Trustee Gary Lee '74 presided over the first meeting of the Committee on Equity and Inclusion. Charged with assuring progress toward the Strategic Plan goals of equity and inclusion, the committee seeks to guide the board’s knowledge around campus and global matters, as well as develop skills in cultural competency to help ensure an inclusive Academy community. The committee also will regularly assess the diversity of the board and recommend candidates for board service to the Committee on Trustees.
Eager to hear directly from students, members of the committee shared breakfast with students on Saturday to discuss campus climate and issues most prevalent in their lives.
Although the Committee on Equity and Inclusion is newly formed, the board’s commitment to Andover’s strategic pillar has been ongoing. Last year trustees gathered with Linda Griffith, assistant head of school for equity and inclusion, and facilitators from Jones & Associates, to explore topics that included cultural competency, unconscious bias, diversity and leadership.
Positive education: A presentation by Stephen Meek, principal of Geelong Grammar School in Australia, intersected with virtually all pillars of Andover’s Strategic Plan. Meek’s talk, “Positive Education, A Whole School Approach to Wellbeing,” sparked a number of questions from faculty and trustees, who joined for lunch Friday in Kemper.
Capital projects: Campus facilities discussion centered around a design concept for renovation of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library. The library project is among a handful of building proposals up for board consideration this winter and spring.
Consultants from Ann Beha Architects joined Mike Barker, director of academy research, information and library services, for a presentation that outlined a reimagined library that would include expanded study spaces, flexible classrooms, integration of the Tang Institute, increased makerspace for The Nest, and new mechanical and climate control systems.
The board also heard updates on planning for facilities to support music and dance and the next phase of athletics. Balancing academy needs, cost and capacity for fundraising, the board is aiming to prioritize these proposals over the next few months.
2018 budget: Trustees approved the foundational elements of the FY 2018 budget, which begins July 1, 2017. The board approved a financial aid budget that preserves need-blind admission, as well as salary pools that maintain leadership in faculty compensation and market equity for staff and administrators. The board also set boarding and day student tuition for the 2017-18 academic year and will release those figures in mid-March. Final approval of the budget is set for the board’s May meeting.
iMAX appreciation: Representing the Working Group, Dominic Veneto, director of information technology, and Betsy Korn, assistant dean and registrar, received a proclamation expressing the board’s gratitude for the tremendous work and collaboration that underpinned Andover’s legacy system overhaul.
College landscape: With college decision season on the horizon, Sean Logan, CCO dean, and Kassy Fritz, CCO director, engaged the board in current topics. Informed by student data and a survey of recent news headlines, their conversation focused on the outside pressures and expectations that students and families face and the evolving ways the CCO team is engaging and communicating with our greater community.