On Thursday, I met Pilot’s founding Head of School Doris LeStourgeon. It was an absolutely lovely visit, and it was so helpful for me to hear Doris talk about the early days of the Pilot School. Doris shared that she was working as a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania when she received a letter from Jo Myers, the Head of School at Tatnall at the time, and Mary Kaye Carpenter, the mother of a son with learning differences. Doris invited the two women up to Philadelphia for a visit, and Mary Kaye returned the favor with an invitation to dinner down here in Wilmington. The rest, as they say, is history.
Doris thinks she still has those initial letters in a box somewhere, so I hope we can unearth them. But just hearing about our early beginnings reinforced a few things for me about Pilot’s current existence and certainly about its future. At its core, Pilot was built upon a collaboration between an educator, a researcher, and a mother who wanted the best for her child. As someone who is responsible for stewarding the mission and vision of the Pilot School, I found great affirmation in that truth.
Indeed, the school will be well-served by careful attention to those three pivotal perspectives. Are we creating optimal environments and experiences for generating learning and growth? Are we aligned with the most recent research on teaching, learning, and child development? Are we fully nurturing all of the children in our care? These are certainly questions we intuitively ask ourselves every day, but Doris’ visit provided a grounding reminder.
If you didn’t see this picture already on social media, below is a photo of Doris and me catching a laugh. While there was plenty of wisdom shared in our meeting, there was also just a lot of plain old joy.