by Thad Falkner, Head of School
“I’d pay tuition even if Wilson teachers held class in my basement.” In my 12 years of Head of School, this is one of the parent comments that has really stuck with me. It was made to me a few years ago, during a construction project that required us to be in an interim location. The comment stays with me as direct proof that our ongoing, deliberate focus on having the best faculty is why Wilson continues to be a top early childhood and elementary school.
What factors influence a person’s perception of a school? Low student-to-teacher ratio, newer facilities, prevalence of technology - this list could go on. More importantly, though, what is the factor that makes a school truly great? Easy...it’s the faculty. That is why Wilson School puts so much emphasis on faculty excellence.
Knowing that research proves the strong correlation between effective teachers and great schools compels us to consider what it is that effective teachers have in common. In considering dozens of teacher traits, three components continually appear amongst the highest characteristics of an effective faculty:
I absolutely believe in the significance of these attributes, and I also think they can be boiled down to one faculty attribute that pulls all of those things together - continually bettering yourself; applying your expertise to building a program; and staying engaged in this work over a number of years - that’s dedication.
Unfortunately, in general, schools are not largely successful at cultivating and perpetuating dedication. When compared to other professions, teachers have one of the highest rates of departure from the field within the first five years. Many of these teachers are intelligent and talented- exactly the professionals not to lose. Not so at Wilson: Dedication is a central theme, and it is properly focused on our students. “The students come first” is a statement I often hear repeated by exceptional teachers. It is why our teachers are driven to do what they do: leading students toward mastering academic skills, helping them develop and maintain friendships, challenging them to uphold strong character, and motivating them to stay curious. Our faculty never cease to impress me. They are the heart and soul of Wilson and make our school the uniquely wonderful place it is.
Wilson in the News