Ted Talks September/October 2022: Becoming Good Ancestors

Ted Graf, Head of School
In many ways, the story of our school is simple, inspiring, and elegant–two different groups of teachers gathered separately to start two different schools committed to peace–one (The Khabele School) served grades 6-12 and the other (Primavera Montessori) served children ages 2-5. In 2016 we took a big step to bring our community together by renaming the school and asking all community members to think of the students as our community’s headwaters and to care for them in such a way that each can follow their own course. 

During that time, our school developed much the way start-ups do–by iterating, stretching, failing, growing, contracting, and doing it all over again. This evolution would not have taken place if it weren’t for the moxie, generosity, commitment, pragmatism, and vision of its guides, staff, students, trustees, and parents.

In addition to this list of remarkable attributes, it’s time to add two new attributes: deep stewardship and long-term thinking. Last year, the Board of Trustees, senior leaders, and I spent some time thinking about how our school can prepare for our next era. It’s now time for all of us to think long term and imagine how we might steward Headwaters into the future.

Later in October (see below for dates, times, and locations), I’ll be reviving Tacos with Ted for parents, so I can share our ideas, hear your questions and suggestions, and show you our major initiatives for the year. These sessions will be conversational and designed to familiarize you with our thinking and to build habits that will help us all imagine how Headwaters might prepare itself for the future.

Here’s a brief narrative overview of these priorities. 

Under the heading of Community & Culture, we know that our culture needs care and attention or it can languish. Our priority in this area is to create a place (and program) that once found, our students, guides, and families choose to stay long-term.

In Talent & People, we are proud our school attracts fascinating and inspiring educators, and, as we look ahead, we aspire to be the employer of choice among independent schools in Austin.

For Programs, the time is right for us to intentionally and explicitly link Montessori to the IB experience and to understand how all of our programs are connected and support each other.

Our Operations priority is clear and ambitious: we need to develop a plan that simplifies our operations and ensure our spaces reflect our size and the kind of teaching and learning we want to do.

Under Finance & Development, we will continue to be disciplined and build up reserves to ensure the school’s stability in the long run.

And, lastly, our school has always been committed to values of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and it’s time for us to pursue them with more energy and intention. As we plan for the future, we will develop DEI goals and initiatives connected to each of the areas outlined above. We choose to do this so that diversity, equity, and inclusivity is incorporated in all the work we do. Expect to hear more in the coming weeks from your Program Director about how this work will play out in your child’s classroom. 

Below, you can see a table showcasing some of our sample projects and initiatives.

Headwaters Strategic Priorities

Tacos With Ted Events
I hope to see many of you at these events, and I look forward to ongoing conversations.
  1. Tacos with Ted Central | River Campus | 8:30-9:30 a.m. | Wednesday, October 19
  2. Tacos with Ted South | Creek Campus | 8:45-9:45 a.m. | Tuesday, October 25 
  3. Virtual Ted Talk on Zoom | via Zoom | 6-6:45 p.m. | Wednesday, October 26 
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As a 501(c)3 non-profit school, Headwaters School does not discriminate because of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other classes protected by federal, state, or local law in its admissions, hiring, or board membership processes.