Incoming Head of School Learns Indian Creek History from Founder Anne Chambers

Over his spring break this week, incoming Head of School Booth Kyle flew from Seattle, Washington, to the East Coast to spend time at Indian Creek School (ICS) in preparation for next year. To ensure a smooth leadership transition, Mr. Kyle will continue to make periodic visits to Indian Creek’s campus during the current school year to get to know faculty and administration better, and to meet parents, students, alumni, and friends before he officially begins on July 1, 2019. A highlight of his trip came on Monday, April 8, when Mr. Kyle traveled to Fairplay, Maryland, to spend time with Indian Creek Co-Founder and First Head of School Anne Chambers.

This visit was a significant moment in ICS history, as Mr. Kyle was accompanied by former Head of the Upper School Eileen Mattingly and Director of Campus Connections (and former Head of the Middle School) Bruce Crossman. The trio enjoyed a pleasant drive through Maryland, sharing ICS stories, and talking about the many aspects of Indian Creek that make the school unique.

True to form, when Booth met Anne, she immediately began sharing her thoughts about the principles upon which ICS was founded, using colorful stories interspersed with colloquial phrasing. Ms. Chambers shared with Mr. Kyle what her experience was like as a public school teacher, and the ways in which she was inspired to create a school that consistently makes decisions based on what is best for children. “I decided I would start a school where every child is valued,” she shared. “I talked Becky [ICS Co-founder Rebecca Randolph] into coming with me, and she was stuck here for 40 years.”

With the founding principle of creating a school that sees the value in every child, Anne shared other decisions that have been critical to the philosophy of Indian Creek since its inception. “We are a family school,” she stated. This important piece of the School’s mission is a motivating factor in bringing the Indian Creek Lower and Upper School buildings together on a unified campus.

Next, Anne shared that educational research has demonstrated for decades that kids learn better in diverse classrooms. Indian Creek’s emphasis on consistently working to create a vibrant school community has been a priority since the founding of the school. The fourth pillar of Indian Creek’s founding is that “We build every decision based on educational research.” Booth shared that the School’s commitment to these founding principles were apparent to him when he first visited Indian Creek last fall.

Eileen Mattingly agreed that the heart of Indian Creek can be felt from one’s first introduction to the School. “One of the things I liked about the school, from when I first came in as a parent looking for my two-year-old was that there were a variety of students, teachers were working with the kids in age-appropriate ways, and they were using good books…folk tales, legends, etc. It was just such a healthy environment. This is what I found – and what I worked to institute at the Upper School.”

The group continued to discuss some of the important ways in which Indian Creek works – and has always worked – to create a healthy environment for students. Camping and team building class trips each year, a robust Human Development curriculum, and using rational discourse to deal with student issues were at the top of the list. Anne shared that she always worked to “create an environment where kids trust us [the teachers] and come to talk to us when they are concerned about each other.” 

Anne congratulated Booth on being chosen as the next Head of School and wished him well as he leads Indian Creek into its next chapter. “I enjoyed coming to work every day, and I think everyone else did too. The kids were funny, and they were close to us. It was like a family. [And I managed to avoid most of the camping trips.]”

Booth was grateful for the opportunity to meet Indian Creek’s founding Head of School, and enjoyed this peek into the history of the School. “Having the opportunity to meet Anne and hear Indian Creek's story directly from her was incredible,” shared Booth. “This experience was one that I will remember for the rest of my life. Anne has such charisma and has always been a visionary. Her pride in Indian Creek and commitment to the mission of the school came through loud and clear and evoked great respect in all of us.” Booth shared that this visit deepened further his understanding that as the third Head of Indian Creek School, he is part of a legacy that is truly special.