Dear St. Johns Community,
I am both excited and honored to have the privilege to be named the seventh Headmaster at St. Johns Country Day School. I realize this opportunity has not been my achievement alone, but is the result of a collective group of individuals in my life, many whom are a part of our St. Johns community. These individuals and this school have provided me the foundation and character to Do Everything and Become Anything.
With this announcement, my mind is filled with the acknowledgement of the responsibilities ahead of us and the exciting opportunities in our future. However, what most rests on my mind is sharing with you a few of my thoughts about the future. The essence of leadership includes the ability to chart a vision for the future, establish a culture of expectations, work together as a community to relentlessly pursue the expectations we establish, and most importantly to understand that it is the ability to build and maintain relationships with individuals in the community that is most important in serving our students.
To my fellow Alumni and friends of St. Johns, we will strive to cherish the history of the school and maintain the values and traditions that make St. Johns unique, while realizing that our biggest responsibility is to provide a distinctive academic experience that prepares our students for their future. For more than 60 years the school's values, traditions, and success in preparing our graduates have been the result of a dedicated faculty and staff that we cherish. I'm confident that our current faculty and staff are as dedicated as those that came before them and firmly embrace the understanding that students are most influenced when known, loved, and challenged. I urge each of you to come back to campus, not only to see how our small school has become as big as life, but also to show our current students the culture of excellence you represent and the heritage they should strive to honor.
To our parents, thank you for the commitment you make to your children's future and for entrusting us with that responsibility. My personal experience as a student at St. Johns not only gave me a tremendous passion for the school, but an understanding of the opportunity each parent gives us every day to provide students with an experience that will allow them to achieve whatever they choose in life. We look forward to building on the trust and confidence you have in St. Johns and to furthering our partnership, so that it is clear that the school's mission for your child is the same as your own. We strive to provide your child with a foundation full of inspiration, character, and confidence so that they may live a life without limits.
Most importantly, to our students, Dr. Heinrich, the school's founding Headmaster, told the first graduating class that a St. Johns diploma was an honor and a key that will open doors. Through the achievement of graduation, the aim was to give every student a strength and spirit that would last throughout their life. The honor of a St. Johns diploma and the goal for each student has not changed. This strength and spirit will provide students with the capability to recognize their own unique personal gifts and abilities, the self-esteem to take advantage of those gifts and set corresponding personal goals, the self-worth to overcome personal adversity throughout the journey, and ultimately the self-empowerment to believe that goals can be achieved.
Before closing I would be remiss if I did not thank Ed Ellison for giving me the opportunity to return to St. Johns, a place I call "home." On behalf of the St. Johns community I want to also thank Ed and his family for their service to St. Johns over the last five years. Ed leaves behind a legacy that describes the essence of what Dr. Heinrich and our community has strived for the last 63 years, which is to "know and love" every child.
Finally, to the Board of Trustees, thank you for the confidence and support you have given me while entrusting me with the leadership of this great community. Today is the start of a long journey, where we will work together to build on the foundation that has been provided not only for our existing students, but for students in generations to come.
I look forward to August 16 as our St. Johns family gathers around the flagpole to commence the school's 63rd year.
Todd A. Zehner