Head of School Sid Rowell shares his speech from the 2022 Convocation ceremony as Gill St. Bernard's kicks off its 50th school year since the 1972 school merger.
From the Head of School
Welcome to Gill St. Bernard’s
This website is a great first step to learn about our school; I hope it inspires you to visit us to experience for yourself the authentic and inclusive community that lies at the center of a GSB education. Your time here will also give you a real appreciation for our beautiful collegiate-style campus, which has grown alongside GSB's academic and extracurricular programs over the past decade and a half. Underlying this period of planned growth is our deeply held belief that young people need plenty of space and a variety of opportunities to learn and grow.
At Gill, there is room for students to be themselves.
Many schools offer a wide range of opportunities in academics, the arts, and athletics. However, I have yet to find a school in which students are more genuinely supported—not simply by faculty and administrators—but by one another, as they explore their individual interests. I have seen our varsity athletes win a championship game and head from the field, still muddy in their cleats and uniforms, to watch their classmates perform in a concert. I have witnessed juniors and seniors stay after school to help Middle Schoolers with their homework, and I have watched our youngest learners light up when they read a book to an older student. That spirit is on display here every day at Gill, and it makes an incredible difference for students who are just beginning to find their way.
At Gill, there is room for students to be courageous.
When we think about courage, it usually involves dramatic moments of heroism—the risking of life and limb—that come foremost to mind. More important is the everyday courage that over time can be equally powerful and transformative. This is the courage to take a risk, to offer an answer in class, to share an untested opinion, to appear on stage, or to try something you may not excel at right away. Courage is the first among our core values at GSB, and while we recognize and celebrate those extraordinary acts of heroism, our focus with young people is on the everyday moments in life in which courage inevitably creates the conditions for learning and growth.
At Gill, there is room for students to explore new interests and realize their potential.
With over 600 students in preschool through Grade 12, the simple ratio of students to offerings in academics, arts, athletics, and extracurricular activities invites our students to try something new. At GSB, you will find writers who never realized that they liked to write, actors who never imagined themselves on a stage, members of student government who never saw themselves as leaders, Division One athletes who first tried out for their sport here, mathematicians, artists, scientists, filmmakers, and doctors all for whom a passing interest took root, grew, and blossomed at GSB.
All of us are to a certain extent, a "work in progress." At Gill there is room for that work to take place and for students to become the best version of themselves. The realization of potential is just one compelling reason I hope that you will visit and see for yourself.
Meet Sid Rowell
Sid Rowell was appointed Head of School at Gill St. Bernard's in 2001. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Trinity College, where he was awarded a B.A. and an M.A. in History. Prior to becoming the Head of School at Gill St. Bernard's, Sid was the Associate Headmaster of Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Florida, and Assistant Headmaster at the Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut. He has over 40 years of experience working in independent schools as an administrator, teacher, and coach, has served several terms on the NJAIS Board of Directors, is a member of The Heads Collegiate Forum, The 1911 Group, The Heads Network, and is a current member of the Board of Trustees at The Peck School.
GSB Receives Commendations from NJAIS Accreditation Team
Our school is accredited by both the New Jersey Association of Independent School (NJAIS) and Middle States Association. NJAIS recently conducted its five-year review and commended GSB for:
- Strengthening the academic program, maintaining balanced offerings in athletics, arts, and extracurricular activities, and encouraging student participation and support of peers in the pursuit of their passions.
- Integrating Home Winds Farm as a signature component of the campus and a model for sustainability.
- Maintaining a strong and unified commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and community (DEIC) among all stakeholders.
- Improving and enhancing social and emotional wellness for students and faculty and staff.
A Tribute to Growth, Stability, and Service
Since 2001, Head of School Mr. Rowell's clear vision, always balanced and open perspective, and unwavering belief in Gill St. Bernard's core values have guided the school into the twenty-first century.
Head of School's Blog
Observations, Comments, and Reflections
The nature of a friendship and the category a person fits in is influenced by the amount of time spent together, proximity, and common interests. Friendship doesn’t magically happen; it requires work to establish and sustain.
Once again, the holiday season is here with joy and the promise of hope for the New Year.