03 Jul

Nurse’s Office Update

The end of this school year brings the retirement of Sara Schulman, who has been our Middle/Upper School Nurse for the past 10 years. Sara stepped in at a critical time after the sudden passing of our previous nurse, and she has been with us since. She brought vast experience with her, both about nursing and about general aspects of health and wellbeing. She has shared advice about dealing with various kinds of ailments with anyone who was in her office, and she always seemed to appear with the appropriate cure. She has also led our work on concussion protocols that we have instituted and continue to address.

Sara will be finishing her work soon, and I am pleased to announce that we have hired another wonderful nurse to replace her. Let me introduce Allison Herriott, who will begin her work in August. Allison has been a critical care/intensive care nurse as well as a school nurse in several different settings. Alongside nursing, she has also done administrative health work in schools throughout the NYC area, so she brings with her all the important elements of the position. Most vitally, she has demonstrated already that she is an energetic and caring person who will take charge of the office when school starts, in the most positive of ways.

Allison arrives at the same time that we are implementing Magnus, our new service for health form management. She has worked with similar systems in other positions, and she will have no problem learning how to manage this one.

So far the switch to Magnus has been pretty clean. I know that several of you have been writing to Sara with questions or other comments about Magnus or your particular child. Please know that once Sara leaves, her email will be forwarded to Allison, but there may be a short time lag before you hear a response. Magnus will continue to send you requests and alerts, and we will be working on the forms during the summer, both Allison and others in the office, to be sure that we stay current during the transition. If you encounter ongoing problems this summer, please be sure to let me know, but with luck all will continue to go smoothly.

03 Jul

From Joe Algrant, US Principal

Dear Families,

I hope this final Upper School News edition for the 2018-’19 year finds you well, and starting to relax into the patterns of summer. Not that the weather has completely turned to that season, but it has tried a few times and hopefully looks at the calendar and sees that we have now left the month of June. A couple of important items are contained here that pertain to both the summer and the opening of school in September.

If you haven’t see it already, the summer reading list is posted online, on our Upper School website (www.d-e.org/upper) and also available by clicking here.

You can find the “Start of Season” schedule for the opening of the Fall 2019 sports season (beginning on Monday, August 19 and running through Friday, August 30) online, on our Athletics website (www.d-e.org/athletics).

At some point this summer, you might also want to watch the keynote commencement speech by our guest speaker, D-E alumnus Devin Delliquanti ’02. A writer for the “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”, Devin’s talk to the graduates was a stunning tribute to how what you learn in high school will help you both in college and in a career. He spoke several times about the value of an outline, which he uses to create the pieces he writes for the Daily Show as well as for his own comedy. Yes he was funny in his talk, but he was quite serious, especially with the words of “loose advice” that he presented to the Class of 2019.

Several transitions are taking place within the school’s staff this summer too, specifically, within our College Counseling Office (CCO) and the Nurses’ Office, about which you can read below and you will learn more when we are back together this September.

For now, I wish for you a restful break, one in which you can enjoy a different pace and fulfilling new experiences.


Joseph Algrant, US Principal

03 Jul

Eileen Feikens Appointed Dean of College Counseling

As you know, we have been working this spring to find a replacement for Rosita Fernandez-Rojo, who will be retiring. We opened a search process and interviewed many qualified candidates from all over the country, looking for the person with the best experience to match our needs in the College Counseling Office and who is best suited to move forward the functions and services provided by the counselors.

We actually needn’t have looked farther than our own building, and we are very pleased to announce that Eileen Cunningham Feikens emerged as our top candidate and has accepted the position of Dean of College Counseling. Eileen has worked in our office for the last eighteen years, and over that time has been involved in creating a highly functional and efficient office that first and foremost takes excellent care of students and their families in what can be a stressful and demanding process.

Besides a thorough knowledge of our school, of the college landscape, and with a vast repertoire of colleagues in both other high schools and colleges, Eileen brings with her some excellent ideas about how we can expand the work of the office in ways that are designed to lower the tension that this process can sometimes create. The key to these improvements lies in earlier and more substantive communication of information to students and families. We always try to balance the way we work with families so that thinking about college does not dominate the upper school experience. That can easily happen in today’s environment that places such huge significance on the college a student ultimately attends. Despite all the data that exists to demonstrate that what you do in college is much more important than where you go, there is enormous (and unhealthy) pressure placed on the outcome. We try to strike a balance so that pressure might be placed in perspective and perhaps therefore be lessened.

There are different strategies to ensure that balance, and we are working already to make sure we fine tune our messages to provide important and relevant information earlier. Eileen will be spearheading this effort, as well as ways for our counselors to spend more time earlier with students.

Eileen has begun her work already, and now leads the transition into the fall. She will be working on both very practical matters involving the office over the summer, and also starting to look ahead to improvements to be made during the new school year.

As a result of the search process this spring, we have also decided that we will add a fifth counselor for the 2020 – 2021 academic year, so that we can continue to provide the most individualized service in the search and application process. The search for a fifth counselor will begin in the winter.

Please join me in congratulating Eileen on her appointment, and know that the strong office that Rosita has worked so hard to build will continue to grow and flourish under Eileen’s leadership going forwards.