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  • Upper School Director's Blog: December 2019

    In December, we find ourselves turning towards warm fireplaces and festive lights as a defense against grey skies and wet, cold days—especially as we get closer to the winter solstice and the longest night of the year. It is no coincidence that the solstice is a time for festivities, such as Toji, the Japanese holiday filled with pumpkin dishes and hot citrus baths, or Yalda, when Persian families share pomegranates and poetry, or the celebrations of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa—each with their bright candles and heartwarming traditions. This is a time when human beings push back against darkness in its multiple forms, filling their communities with light and filling their lives with meaning.
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Upper School Director

Dr. Joel Coleman has more than two decades of experience in teaching, coaching and independent school leadership, serving most recently as Upper School Head at St. Paul’s School in Maryland. In that role, he led several curriculum initiatives, including spearheading changes to the school’s International Baccalaureate program, creating and implementing a K-12 departmental review cycle, and overseeing updates to the upper school’s science, math, arts, and philosophy curricula. As part of this work, he partnered with upper school faculty to create a portrait of a graduate and better define standards of teaching excellence at each grade level. In addition, Dr. Coleman piloted K-12 instructional coaching and mentoring for the faculty and worked to further align curriculum and faculty development with the school’s mission.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful, and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.