A STRATEGIC PLAN FOR WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON 2023
Robert W. Hill III, Head of School and John Hazen White Jr. ’76, Chair, Board of Trustees
The world has changed dramatically since 2014 when Williston Northampton adopted its last comprehensive strategic plan: Innovation and Purpose. Despite the massive disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Williston successfully accomplished the goals set forth in that plan—establishing a positive and unified boarding school culture, expanding the Williston Scholars program, and transforming our campus through the new Residential Quad and innumerable campus renovations. With the plan’s completion, we now look to the future, and have embarked on a strategic planning process designed by Trustee Strategic Issues Committee Chair, John P. Booth Jr. ’83, with assistance from John F. Green, former head of the Peddie School, and a consultant for RG-175.
Beginning in the spring of 2022, Mr. Booth and Mr. Green conducted interviews, in-person focus groups, virtual meetings, and surveyed our many constituencies to gather key quantitative and qualitative feedback. They also established an ad hoc steering committee on campus, led by Academic Dean Kim Polin, and charged that body to use these findings to identify possible priorities and goals. After further refinement by the Board’s Strategic Issues Committee, the final plan of Our People, Our Purpose was approved. This comprehensive process was affirming: Williston’s path for the future was supported by the united commitment and support of so many in our community—alumni, students, parents, trustees, faculty, and staff.
Our Board of Trustees has set forth in Our People, Our Purpose a roadmap to guide the school through to the end of the decade. The plan ultimately centers on Williston’s people because we know that it is our community—our students, faculty, and staff—who are the school’s beating heart and soul. Our People, Our Purpose honors the spirit and legacy of all those who have come before, while pointing the way towards a sustainable future for all who will follow. Our ultimate goal is to make Williston a place where everyone can live lives that are purposeful in direction, passionate in commitment, and guided by our enduring virtues.
AN EMERGING VISION
Williston Northampton is a school that puts its people first. We are a thriving, diverse, and inclusive school that welcomes students from across the United States and around the world, distinguished for their talent, authenticity, and spirit. Working intentionally, we have created a culture like no other, one that allows students to be ambitious and their authentic selves while embracing respectful and enduring relationships. The special feeling one gets at Williston springs from our warm community of motivated, open-minded, and caring people who practice what they preach.
Throughout its history, Williston has paired deeply dedicated faculty and staff with genuine and eager students, so that the whole exceeds the sum of its parts. We understand that creating this special community cannot be left to chance, and so we strive to be a school where all employees feel valued and supported so that they are prepared, capable, and eager to help our students become the best version of themselves.
Williston is a school that faces its future with courage and conviction. We acknowledge the privileged position we hold as a premier educational institution and the responsibility that position places on all those who pass through. In furtherance of our mission— to inspire our students to live lives of purpose, passion, and integrity—and to be able to pursue our mission for generations to come, we have identified the five strategic priorities and attendant goals below.
ENSURE A VIBRANT & BALANCED STUDENT EXPERIENCE
Williston students have access to an enviable breadth of academic and co-curricular opportunities. We understand, however, that our students’ determination to excel must be grounded in a sense of balance, support, and well-being. We commit to the goals below. Click the arrow, below right, to see specific subgoals.
GOAL 1: Support the physical and mental health of students by building a framework of peer and faculty support, teaching self-care strategies and skills, and incorporating a broader culture of wellness into policies, systems, and day-to-day campus life.
GOAL 2: Maintain and foster balance in academic and student life by encouraging students to follow their passions while systematically assessing how students manage the demands on their time.
GOAL 3: Continue to develop our advisory, residential life, and CORE Life and Leadership programming so that students develop strong connections and readily access support resources that allow them to make the best choices while at Williston and for their future.
GOAL 4: Develop programs that help build resilient, problem-solving teenagers who are working toward independence by prioritizing social/emotional learning.
SUPPORT OUR FACULTY AND STAFF
The single most important factor in shaping students’ experience is the quality of the faculty and staff who work in multiple roles in service of the school community. We recognize the evolving demands that working at a boarding school entail and the importance of rewarding and retaining our people. We commit to the goals below. Click the arrow, below right, to see specific subgoals.
GOAL 1: Review faculty and staff compensation and benefit plans to ensure Williston can competitively recruit and retain exceptional employees.
GOAL 2: Enhance the range of on-campus faculty housing options to accommodate the individual needs of faculty and their families while meeting the needs of our students.
GOAL 3: Design new recruitment initiatives that extend our outreach to attract prospective faculty new to the independent school world who are excited to embrace all components of a boarding school community.
GOAL 4: Prioritize health and wellness for all faculty and staff through new programs, professional development opportunities, and by promoting a campus-wide culture of care.
FOSTER DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION, AND BELONGING
Williston will build upon the specific goals outlined in its stand-alone Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Strategic Plan (2021-26). We vow to be a community where all students and employees feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. We commit to the goals below. Click the arrow, below right, to see specific subgoals.
GOAL 1: Seek funding to preserve Williston’s institutional commitment to initiatives and programs in support of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
GOAL 2: Reduce financial obstacles for promising students with high financial need by seeking endowed philanthropic support to underwrite the full cost of their Williston experience, above and beyond the cost of tuition.
GOAL 3: Establish a new Teaching Fellows program with the goal of recruiting a diverse cohort of first-year teachers who will make vital contributions to residential life, athletics, the arts, and the profession.
GOAL 4: Develop and strengthen a network of alumni that engages and supports current students through mentorship and engagement with campus programs.
GOAL 5: Ensure that all Williston students have access to the programs and support necessary to reach their full potential.
TRANSFORM ACADEMIC SPACES & ENHANCE OUR PROGRAMS
Our academic spaces should mirror the quality, flexibility, and innovation of our distinctive programs—while preparing students for their academic and work experience beyond Williston. We commit to the goals below. Click the arrow, below right, to see specific subgoals.
GOAL 1: Build a new state-of-the art Academic Center to address needs for larger flexible learning spaces and innovative programs.
GOAL 2: Use the construction of the new Academic Center as an opportunity to reimagine all academic, co-curricular, and student life spaces in alignment with master planning.
GOAL 3: Assess the curriculum to ensure that academic offerings are rigorous, relevant, and appropriate to prepare students for success at selective universities and colleges.
GOAL 4: Extend the scope of the Williston Scholars program to all students, incorporating more student-driven projects that address real-world questions and challenges into foundational course material.
GOAL 5: Foster a culture in which faculty responsively redesign curriculum to respond to rapid societal and technological changes in our students’ world, and design curriculum requirements that enable our students to understand and ethically integrate these new tools.
ADVANCE OUR FINANCIAL FUTURE
Increasing the school’s financial resources is key to Williston’s ability to sustainably deliver an inspiring and unique education for generations to come by providing access, supporting our people, and preserving and enhancing the physical campus and its culture. To this end, Williston must be forward thinking and rigorous in planning. We commit to the goals below. Click the arrow, below right, to see specific subgoals.
GOAL 1: Build the endowment so we can increase access and opportunity to a Williston education, support our people and programs, and establish a viable and enduring business model.
GOAL 2: Cultivate strong revenue growth through thoughtful enrollment and tuition management, exceptional financial aid oversight, and development of a robust and profitable series of auxiliary programs.
GOAL 3: Underwrite 10%-12% of the school’s operating costs by sustainably growing the Williston Northampton Fund.
GOAL 4: Increase and sustain investment in the physical plant with prudent utilization of plant reserves and the targeted application of financial commitments.
GOAL 5: Prioritize environmental sustainability, conservation, and future cost savings in our decision-making about current practices and new construction.
Williston’s strategic planning process was designed by Trustee Strategic Issues Committee Chair, John P. Booth Jr. ’83, with assistance from John F. Green, former head of the Peddie School, and a consultant for RG-175. Beginning in the spring of 2022, Mr. Booth and Mr. Green conducted interviews, in-person focus groups, virtual meetings, and surveyed our many constituencies to gather key quantitative and qualitative feedback. They also established an ad hoc steering committee on campus, led by Academic Dean Kim Polin, and charged that body to use these findings to identify possible priorities and goals. After further refinement by the Board’s Strategic Issues Committee, the final plan of Our People, Our Purpose was approved.
Strategic Plan Steering Committee Members Kimberly Polin (Academic Dean and Head Facilitator); Bill Berghoff (Science Teacher); Nikki Chambers (Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging); Mark Conroy (Director of Athletics); Chris Dietrich (Dean of Enrollment Management); Corinne Fogg ’99 (Dean of Faculty); Jen Fulcher (Director of The Middle School); Ann Hallock (Director of Communications); Natania Hume (Visual and Performing Arts Teacher/Department Head); Sarah Klumpp (History and Global Studies Teacher/Department Head); David Koritkoski (Dean of Students); Sarah Levine (English Teacher); Chuck McCullagh (Chief Financial Officer); Eric Yates (Chief Advancement Officer); Robert W. Hill III (Head of School)
Board of Trustees Mary E. Alcock ’84, Fred Allardyce ’59, GP’19, ’20, ’22, John P. Booth Jr. ’83, Jeff Bruce P’22, Mary Ellen F. Bull ’83, Jaidip Chanda ’88, Daniel C. Decelles ’89, Jesse N. Eaton ’90, William V. Fogg P’15, Bradley Foster P’14, ’16, ’20, Claire Kelley Hardon ’79, Clayton T. Hardon Jr. ’78, Kevin R. Hoben ’65, Cherie Holmes ’75, Jondelle Jenkins ’71, Ellen Rosenberg Livingston ’86, P’18, Bryant McBride ’84, Paula A. Monopoli ’76, Richard T. Monopoli ’89, Angela Perry P’21, Kristin J. Prigmore ’88, Stewart B. Reed ’66, Joseph Rigali ’70, John T. Risley P’93, Mijanou Malise Spurdle ’86, Richard Wagman P’14, John Hazen White Jr. ’76
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