July 1, 2016

Dear members of the Hotchkiss community,

Today marks my official first day as your new Head of School, and I am very happy to be here. Elizabeth and I are grateful for the warm welcome so many of you have extended to us as we have anticipated the move to Hotchkiss over the past nine months. As you know, we have spent the past ten years living in France and working internationally. As native New Englanders, it is wonderful to return to this region and arrive at Hotchkiss, a place that is already beginning to feel like home. We sincerely hope to be here for many years to come.

Hotchkiss has been fortunate to have the strong leadership of Peter O'Neill over the past year, and Elizabeth and I are immensely grateful for the support and guidance of Peter and his wife, Peggy, as we have made this transition.

I write to you from Frank House, the recently renovated Head of School's residence, amidst many still-unpacked boxes and the post-move-in clutter. And there is no place I would rather be! The period of transition has been stimulating and heartening. We are enjoying beginning to get to know members of the community - students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents - through conversations on and off campus, in person and through correspondence. Thank you to all who have reached out to welcome us and to help us begin to understand this very special place. We look forward to continuing to meet members of the Hotchkiss family in the months and years ahead.

During Reunion Weekend, I enjoyed listening to graduates as they recounted their cherished and not-so-cherished Hotchkiss memories, described as if they happened last month or last year, not 25 or 35 or 45 years ago. As I listen to you, I hear again and again expressions of gratitude, joy, and love for dear old Hotchkiss - for the lifelong friendships, the superb educational foundation, and the formative experience of living and learning in a community that stands for certain enduring values.

A process of structured reflection on these values and on Hotchkiss's core identity is currently being led by the Mission Task Force, and I hope you will take time to contribute your ideas, your ideals, and your imagination about what Hotchkiss is, can and should be. The impetus for this review of the mission statement was a recommendation that emerged from the decennial Reaccreditation Review by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in 2015. This was described in a letter to the community on March 10, 2016, from Elizabeth Hines '93, Trustee, who is Chair of the Mission Task Force, and Jean Weinberg Rose '80, P'18, President of the Board of Trustees (click here to view this letter). The revised mission statement will guide our work into the future, the work of evolving and sustaining Hotchkiss as an exemplar of excellence in education.

Thanks again for your warm welcome to the Hotchkiss family. I look forward to our time together. It's great to be home.


Craig W. Bradley
Head of School