Oaks and Acorns

July 2nd 2018

Let the wild rumpus start!

So said Max in Where the Wild Things Are, a Frye family favorite… and it always comes to mind as I start any new adventure. And it’s adventure time: today is my first day as Harley’s Head of School.

In my role as Upper School Head at Harley, I sent out a letter every Monday morning called the Upper School Weekly, and found this was a good way to stay in touch with families about what was happening in the Upper School. As your new Head, I still plan to communicate regularly, and so we start here on Oaks and Acorns, my blog, with a beginning-of-the-month post to the Harley community.

Larry Frye: New Head of School on His First Day

I’m a Harley Dad

I filter “Harley World” through the lens of being a father
of three graduates (Lily ’12, Amos ’15, and Josh ’15)

As I move into this role, one of the most important things to know about me is that I’m a Harley dad. We all filter the world through personal experience; in my case, I filter “Harley World” through the lens of being a father of three graduates (Lily ’12, Amos ’15, and Josh ’15), as well as a teacher of English, college counselor, and all the other roles that came with being Upper School Head. When we moved to Rochester 14 years ago, it wasn’t necessarily to be in Rochester, though we have come to love this city: it was to be here, at Harley.

Larry Frye: Introducing the Frye Family

Enough about me, for heaven’s sake! The goal is for this to be a quick introduction to our new format—and to me in this new role. But before we go, let’s take a moment to extend proper congratulations to some folks who are taking their leave and heading into retirement. Much has been said about all three of them, but: Can you ever really say enough about this trio?

Jay Stetzer

At Jay’s goodbye assembly in the Lower School, I sat next to a dad whose youngest was a student of Jay’s as a Lower Schooler through 2004, before she went on to MS and US at Harley. That was striking to me—it had been a long time for this dad since his child was taught by Jay directly. When I remarked on it, he paused and said, 

“I’m here to bid farewell to one of your true geniuses.”

Genius—that sounds about right. Jay’s radical commitment to the voices of children, his mind-blowing creativity, and his empathy and mindfulness certainly all constitute a teaching career of true genius. After almost a half-century of Jay teaching Lower School Creative Arts, Jay is taking his richly deserved retirement. Thankfully, as a Harley dad and grandad, he’ll still be around.

Denise Kuebel

Dr. Kuebel just completed her 20th year as our Upper School Supplementary Support Program teacher. As we often say at the school, every student has their own distinctive intellectual character, like a thumbprint, and we aspire to work well with children who learn in all sorts of interesting ways. Denise has been at the forefront of our growth in the area, helping us improve as teachers and helping students reach their potential as Harley students.

Talk about being “in the trenches.” Denise has been there as her students faced the most significant intellectual challenges of their young lives, and she has helped scores of them puzzle it out to find success. Another well-deserved retirement, and I hope we’ll continue to see Denise.

Ward Ghory

Big shoes, right? Ward, like Jay, has retired after a long and brilliant career in education, having worked in both the public and independent school world as a teacher, Dean, Upper School Head, and Head of School. He led Harley through a strategic planning cycle, the decennial accreditation process, the procurement of the largest gifts in school history, the groundbreaking of this summer’s building projects, and so much more.

Most of all, Ward led with that wonderful combination of smarts and humility that seems to characterize Harley, and really the best educators everywhere. He has been a mentor, friend, and role model to me and so many others here and elsewhere.

Commencement Highlights

Finally, the beautiful geniuses of the Class of 2018 at their commencement.

Have a great July!