Raynard Kington
July 01, 2020

A message from Andover’s 16th Head of School

Greetings from Dr. Raynard Kington on Day One
by Raynard Kington

To the Phillips Academy community:

It is a tremendous honor for me today to become the 16th Head of School. I take on the responsibilities with great enthusiasm and with great hope, knowing that those who have preceded me have worked tirelessly to uphold Andover’s highest ideals. Among those extraordinary individuals is Jim Ventre ’79, who has been beyond generous in these recent months, sharing his wisdom and advice. I am delighted to continue our work together as he returns to lead the team in admission and financial aid.

I also take on this role with humility and introspection, knowing that this incredible institution and the entire country are facing their greatest public health, social, and economic challenge in over a century. In spite of that awareness, I remain hopeful because of all that I learned in the search process that led to my selection.

During the several months of my candidacy, I had scores of conversations with a wide range of members of the PA community. In almost every one of those conversations, the motto non sibi was mentioned. In the coming months, the PA community will be challenged to live up to that motto. Over the next year, we will be asking everyone to sacrifice for the common good. That will not be easy for any of us, but from all that I have learned about this community, I have no doubt that we will rise to this occasion.

As I have helped to respond to the pandemic in various roles over the past several months, it has become clear to me that the greatest challenge before us is the uncertainty. Even those with the most expert knowledge cannot predict exactly where this pandemic will take us. We know only that the virus will not just go away. While we have no control over the direction of the pandemic, there is much that we can control. First, we can follow the evidence-based recommendations for our own behavior, including those related to wearing masks or shields, social distancing, and self-isolation. But there is even more that we can do. We can make an extra effort to be generous to each other. Already, there have been days when I have found myself irritable and impatient and frustrated. That is to be expected for everyone. When I was having a tough day, my colleagues were generous to me. Everyone is enduring stress of all sorts, and we will all have bad days and make mistakes. When we make mistakes, we can be kind and forgiving. When we encounter colleagues and friends on their bad days, we can support them and help each other. We can remember that we are all trying to do our best under difficult circumstances. We can remember all that is embedded in the Andover motto non sibi, which I believe at its core is about the strength of community.

I can promise that I will try hard to honor the responsibilities that have been entrusted to me by all of you during this extraordinary time. I will try to learn from all of you. With your help, I will try to learn from my mistakes. I will try to be generous. I will try to remember always our mission and the values reflected in our motto.

It will be quite some time before we have fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and all that it has wrought and perhaps even longer for us to be able to look back and objectively assess how well we did as a nation and as a community. When the time comes, I hope we will look back and be proud of what we at PA did together.

Thank you again for welcoming me and my family into the Andover community. Be safe and well.


Raynard S. Kington
Head of School

Categories: Leadership

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