Several months ago, shortly after being named Head-Elect, I was given the Oldfields history book, A Feeling of Family. I paid close attention to what was written about the early history of the School. Since I began my tenure on July 1, I have become more appreciative of the people who make this community special, the unmistakable relevance of an Oldfields School education, and the strength of our guiding principles; Courage, Humility, and Largeness of Heart.
I am honored to be the 11th Head of School of Oldfields. There are days when I wonder what it must have been like for Anna Austen McCulloch to start this School. What an ambitious endeavor! Talk about courage—and humility—and largeness of heart! In the early years, “unselfishness” was a guiding principle. For obvious reasons, she exemplified all of these characteristics…and many more!
In recent days, as I contemplated this letter, I have enjoyed those moments where I catch myself having a conversation…with myself. Some would say self-talk is a healthy exercise. Others would simply say, that guy is talking to himself! Either way, the internal conversation has prompted me to be reflective, aware, and forward thinking.
Since learning about the Head of School opportunity in May 2017, going through a thorough search process, being named Head-Elect, and ultimately making the decision (with Lisa) to move our family to Oldfields, I have been asking a lot of questions—and taking a lot of notes.
Take a minute to think about your Oldfields story…
If you're reading this letter, and likely skimmed through the Class Notes section before you looked at anything else contained within, you have a story! It's unique and meaningful for many reasons...
Let me tell you a story I'd like to hear, because it's one that will help me learn, guide, and advance this School with the help of people like you. It's one that will help me be mindful of the treasured history of Oldfields—and it's one that will keep a watchful eye while adding chapters along the way. Truthfully, and hopefully, this story will outlive us all.
Outside the Head's House, there is an enormous tree that stands near the patio, in between Garden House and the front (or is it the back) door where I typically enter and exit our new home. The tree has three impressive trunks. I like to think of them as pillars. I haven't climbed to the top (and may have to discourage Anna and Lexi from being the first to try), but I would imagine this tree can see all of campus—and I bet this tree has seen all of campus for a long time!
This tree must have a story to tell. It is a resource; it's the object I have been talking to when having converstaions with myself. "Mighty tree, your foundation is solid, and you've seen it all. I can't talk to all of the former heads, former faculty, families who once lived on these grounds, and alumnae far and wide, but I can talk to you. What's your story…because in reality, it's the School's story. And, you symbolize why Oldfields School is special, perhaps magical, and strong."
As I start a new personal and professional journey at Oldfields, I'm humbled to follow “big shoes” and welcome the challenges that “new beginnings” provide for our community. Most of all, I am excited for our family to be here, to serve and provide leadership, partner with a talented group of faculty, staff, and administrators, and be part of the formula that promotes and produces Each Girl's Success. With time, I'll have my own story to share…
Please consider visiting campus or joining us at a gathering this year. You are always welcome!
David G. Perfield P'30, '32
Head of School