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  • Upper School Director's Blog: October 2019

    For scientists, it is easy to see why autumn colors are so bright. As trees shut down their production of chlorophyll, other pigments—anthocyanin, xanthophyll, and carotene—shine through. For a poet like Robert Browning, however, the greater task is to explain why those colors make the fall season our favorite: “Autumn wins you best with this: its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.” In other words, we love this time of year because we know that those vivid oranges, reds, and golds, for all their brilliance, hold inside them their own withering, and we sympathize with those leaves that must, by their very nature, fall into the sere. That sympathy arises, I think, from our memory of the vigorous growth we witnessed in June flowers, July corn, and August oaks. Our awe, mixed with envy for those leaves that once touched the sky, eventually turns to pity as they return to the ground.
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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.