On Thursday, May 23, the Indian Creek School community gathered to raise a glass together to honor and thank departing Head of School Rick Branson, who is completing his eighth and final year at our School. Parents, faculty, Board members, administrators, and friends celebrated Rick’s many contributions to Indian Creek, while enjoying delicious treats from SAGE dining, and wished both Rick and his wife Sarah well in their upcoming move to Connecticut, where Rick will serve as Executive Director for the Connecticut Area Independent Schools (CAIS) organization.
Trustee (and ICS parent) Robert Wells took the stage to share with the crowd insight into how much of an impact Rick has had on Indian Creek School. Mr. Wells shared a bit of school history, and described the situation that Rick found when he first came to ICS: an economic downturn, declining enrollment in independent schools nationwide, a new Upper School program, and the recent departure of the founding Head of School. Mr. Wells also described some of the monumental tasks that the Board of Trustees put before Rick in the form of the School’s strategic plan when he came.
As he shared, “Rick saw, understood, and appreciated what was so very right about Indian Creek. We were and remain uniquely committed to providing a broad range of educational and developmental opportunities to a diverse community of learners and people. We were and remain a community willing to take calculated chances. We are and remain a community that deeply believes in our mission and what we stand for and are willing to fiercely promote and protect it. The path forward would require a great deal of innovation and it would require a great deal of courage. It would require navigating the need to strongly embrace our history and past, while simultaneously challenging that same history with new and different approaches. We are all so very fortunate that Rick Branson was up for the task.”
Mr. Wells shared just some of the hallmark aspects of Indian Creek School that were conceptualized, encouraged, and made a reality during Rick’s tenure: Faculty cohorts, increased retention, technology upgrades, record annual fund participation, an invigorated academic program, one school rebranding, many athletics successes, the building of the $4.1 million Eagles Athletics Complex, an ever expanding college acceptance list, the move of grades 7 & 8 to the Upper School, our revolutionary flexible tuition program, the sale of the Evergreen Campus, the beginning of the new Lower School building project, and much, much more.
After Mr. Well’s toast, Rick took the stage and thanked his wife Sarah for her support over the past eight years. He then thanked the Indian Creek community and shared many of the aspects of the ICS culture that are unique and special, and described how excited he is for the bold, bright, and boisterous future of our School.
PTO representative Jenny Keuleman next thanked Rick for his partnership with the PTO over the years, and presented him with two thoughtful gifts: a pair of ‘designer’ running shoes in vibrant ICS colors, and a student painting of the Upper School driveway, which has been meaningful to Rick during his time at the School.
The community raised a glass and toasted to Rick and Sarah Branson in celebration of their work for our school, and to wish them well in their next adventure. As Robert Wells shared, “The entire Indian Creek community owes a tremendous amount of gratitude to Rick for the work he has done for our school, and for the future generations of Creekers, most of whom will never meet Rick, but who will benefit from his efforts.”