Roel will join us in August after relocating from Chicago, where he co-founded the Polaris Charter Academy. Roel co-leads Polaris with his founding partner, and has been Director of Academics for the past 9 years. Over the past 9 years, Polaris has become a nationally recognized teaching institute as a Mentor School for the Expeditionary Learning National Network. In addition to his work at Polaris, Roel has served as a teacher-trainer in Chicago, Singapore, Shanghai, Baltimore and Krakow, Poland among, other locations.
Roel's selection represents the culmination of an extensive and exhaustive global search, with the help and guidance of one of the most experienced and successful school leadership search firms in the world, Carney Sandoe and Associates. Our first round applicants included dozens of interested parties. The committee selected 10 semi-finalists to invite to campus for interviews in August. After these visits and thorough deliberations, the committee invited Roel and two other candidates back to Park Day for two days each of meals, meetings and interviews with the committee, students, faculty, staff and families. This intense process led our Search Committee to recommend Roel to our Board of Trustees with great enthusiasm.
It was clear from the details of our meetings with him and his glowing references that Roel is a visionary, with a pragmatic ability to inspire teams to turn vision into reality. Throughout the process, Roel proved to be warm, approachable and down-to-earth. The committee found it easy to see that his calm confidence would help him to be a diplomatic collaborator and consensus-seeker here at Park Day.
We learned he is an effective leader, decisive administrator, and an amazing teacher motivator. In his curricular leadership role at Polaris, Roel facilitated expanding the boundaries of the classroom. For example, he developed plans, secured funding and inspired teachers to lead groups of students across the city to interview community activists and create a book, Peacekeepers of Chicago. Another group of students visited Birmingham, Alabama to do civil rights work, and another went to Shanghai to do environmental work that included the construction of rooftop gardens.
Feedback from Park Day's teachers, staff, parents and guardians revealed the community's enthusiasm for Roel's capacity to expand Park Day's position as a leader in progressive education. Parents envisioned the continued growth of our program, a stronger connection to our local community, and new methods for encouraging student leadership. The community loved his presence of mind, humility and ease at creating connections with whomever he met. The teacher/staff survey feedback revealed Roel to be a "teacher's teacher;" they had confidence that Roel's emotional intelligence and leadership style would blend quickly and effectively with Park Day School's culture.
At Park Day School our values include progressive, child-centered, experiential learning, social-emotional well-being, diversity, social justice, environmental stewardship and academic preparedness. We are an active, informed and engaged community of learners. We are deeply aware of our social and political reality, and our position within it. We are enormously pleased to welcome an individual who is the embodiment of our values.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Chair of the HOS Search Committee