Dear Buxton Families,

Happy Summer! I hope everyone is enjoying the bright sunshine and longer days—apart from the killer heat, that is! Things here on campus are actually hopping. We have had several summer guests using the campus, from Overland (a Williamstown-based summer travel and adventure program) to Artsbridge (a Boston-based camp program that brings together Israeli, Palestinian, and American teens to make art together) to a few weddings! I can’t think of a more beautiful place to get married, can you?

There has also been a lot happening behind the scenes for the school as well and I wanted to share some of that with you.

First and foremost, there have been some faculty changes. The biggest surprise is that our beloved Henry Smith will not be returning to the Buxton faculty in the fall. As you may know, Henry grew up on this campus and has worked at Buxton since he graduated from college. He has been a tremendous asset to Buxton and is treasured by ten-years-worth of students, faculty, and staff. But he was ready for a new adventure, and he has found one. He and a close friend (who is a Buxton graduate) are starting a small business together in Portland, Maine. It’s an exciting time for Henry, one that will stretch him in new ways and bring new challenges. As someone who has known Henry for much of his life, I am both heartbroken to see him go but also proud of and excited for him to try something new. At Buxton we are constantly asking students to take risks and get out of their comfort zones. It’s cool to see Henry do exactly that.

The good news is that Torie is staying, that Henry will still be living in town (and “commuting” to Maine a few days a week), and baby Jack will still be with us. Wait a minute: did I say “baby”? Jack will turn 3 before you all get to campus. Amazing!

As sad as we are to see Henry go, I am also very excited about the faculty we have in store for you this year. As you may have heard in the spring, Peter and Lizzy Beck will be returning to Buxton after three years away—Peter went to Yale Law School in the meantime; Lizzy was teaching, earning an MFA in poetry, and giving birth to two children! They are both phenomenal teachers, and it says a lot about how compelling Buxton is as a place to teach that they have decided to return. Lizzy will be teaching English; Peter will be teaching social studies and will also be serving as Associate Director of Buxton. We are thrilled to have them back.

We are also thrilled to welcome Matthew Martin as our new Learning Support Coordinator. Matthew is an experienced educator who has worked in both traditional and nontraditional settings. He is very student-oriented and skilled, and has taught high-level courses in many, many areas. He is also great at working one-on-one with students. Matthew is really looking forward to working with any and all kids who need some extra support, extra help, new strategies, or some organizational tools.

We will also have two teaching interns at Buxton this year, Nyasha Franklin and John Kalapos. Both Buxton grads, they went off and had terrific college experiences at Mount Holyoke and Pitzer, respectively. They will be shadowing many of our experienced teachers throughout the year, learning the ropes from the veteran educators, and working their way toward co-teaching winter-study courses or even spring-semester electives with other teachers. They will also be living in the dorms, helping out with activities (Nyasha has been involved in African drum & dance for years; John is a computer guy and is also the student who brought us the “Star Trek” game when he was here!), running study halls, and being part of the energetic network of adults who live and work at Buxton.

In addition to those personnel changes, we have been making a few policy changes as well. The most important one for people to know sooner rather than later is that we are no longer going to be giving out allowances. Given the many, many ways that parents can now make spending money available to their kids, doling out ten-dollar bills once a week no longer makes sense. (It is also a logistical and accounting nightmare!) So, between now and the start of school, families should think about how they want to handle supplying some kind of allowance to their students. If you have any questions about this change, please feel free to reach out to Andrea in the business office.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that the schedule for student returns has a slightly different pattern this year, so double-check your calendars. The seniors will be returning on Thursday, September 12 by 6:00 for a special dinner with faculty. Returning juniors will return on Friday, September 13th (spooky!) by 1:00 for an important meeting with faculty. Returning sophomores will return by dinner on Friday for a meeting with faculty right after the meal. Then we will ALL meet together to get organized for opening day: September 14 is the big day for all new students to come to campus and start their year.

I will send another newsletter closer to the start of the year. In the meantime, enjoy these lazy days and get psyched for a terrific year!

All the best,

Franny Shuker-Haines


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