Message from the Head of School | Opening Week 2018

Sui generis, one of a kind.


I love to tell people all about TJ. Often I’ll begin by saying, “It’s a unique place.” Of course a lot of schools say that about themselves— indeed, what school doesn’t want to see itself as distinctive and special? In that regard, we’re not different. But once you come in, once you look closely and beneath the surface, you begin to see that TJ really IS different.


It’s a matter of opportunity, across the board. The small size of our school enables this, but also the gifts and talents of the students who are drawn here, and those of the adults who work with them. I can’t think of another school where any student, in any given year, would have so much opportunity. At TJ, they can (among many other things):

  • play varsity sports
  • work on the newspaper, yearbook, or art and literature magazine
  • start and manage a club
  • plan and execute a student conference
  • be on Student Council
  • act in a play
  • perform music
  • do comedy improv  
  • learn to tap dance
  • study a mix of classical and modern world languages for six years
  • do nothing but AP in senior year
  • be known by every student and teacher in the school
  • learn from and with multi-talented teachers who work in more than one subject area
  • develop superb writing skills through a daily outside reading program
  • be valued members of a tremendously diverse, global community
  • engage fully in the classroom, on a daily basis
  • learn without limitation

Certainly, many other fine schools offer many such opportunities, but I know of no place that offers ALL of them, to ALL students, year in and year out. Nor do I know of a school that empowers students to create their own opportunities in the way TJ does.


The effect of this can be readily seen in the individuals who have learned here over the years. I know of no school, proportionally speaking, that has more interesting and accomplished alumni than TJ has. They are the real testament to TJ’s singularity, and many of them see their experience here as foundational to what they’ve been able to go on and do. In retrospect, they are able see that what they got at TJ was, truly, unique.