From Lower School Principal, Elena Jaime

Elena Jaime
Dear Lower School Families,
I write to you at the end of a rather full week in the Lower School. By now you will have heard the news regarding my departure at the end of this current school year. As is true in the midst of most major shifts in life, this moment brings with it a number of conflicting emotions. Echoing Phil’s note on Tuesday evening, I am thrilled at the opportunities and challenges that will come with my new position, and am deeply saddened by the loss I will feel when I leave LREI’s Lower School.
These moments of transition invite reflection. As someone who values the importance of relationships in my work as an educator, my reflection naturally focuses on the ways in which the relationships I have built with faculty and staff members, families and students have impacted the way I engage in my work.
The success of our community is, in no small part, due to the extraordinary gifts that the faculty and staff bring to their work. On tours with prospective parents, I often speak of LREI educators as both scientists and artists. Our teachers are deeply committed, life-long learners who utilize both their understanding of the science of learning and their passion for curriculum and program development to create a truly transformative learning experience for their students. Their love of developing curriculum is surpassed only by their care for their students. The teachers model each day what it looks like to remain committed to deepening one’s practice, and that is a lesson I will take with me. I will leave the community knowing that this talented group of educators will move the work of the division forward in service to your children.
In my first letter to the community three years ago, I ended with an invitation to families to visit often, and to my delight, that invitation has been taken up on countless occasions. This community of parents and caregivers has shown me what true partnership looks like on behalf of the students I serve. You have generously shared your hopes for the work we do with your children and you have walked along with me as we have shaped this community in order to live more fully our values. The importance of that partnership is a lesson I will treasure.
Finally, no conversation about my time at LREI would be complete without a focus on the students. Each time I host a visit to the division, I am reminded that our students are remarkable learners and community members. They work hard to make sense of the world, question assumptions people take for granted about how the world ought to be, and act in the service of others. A song we often sing during gatherings in the Lower School is “What Can One Little Person Do?” Our students constantly remind me that there is much that each of us can do, and even more so when we rely on the strength of our relationships with each other.
The moment I walked into the building a little over three years ago, I knew that this community would become an important part of my life, both professionally and personally. The relationships I have developed with colleagues, families, and students have left an impression that will impact all that I do moving forward. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I would be remiss if I were not to mention how invaluable my partnership with Debra Jeffreys-Glass, our Lower School Assistant Principal, has been over the past three years. Her deep commitment to our mission and values, her thoughtful approach to the work of supporting students and families, and the example she sets for all as a life-long learner have been essential to the success of the division. We wish her all the best as she takes the next step on her professional journey.
Over the next few days, the teachers, Debra, and I will work together to figure out when and how to share our news with the students. In the meantime, there is much work left to do as we head into the final stretch of our year together- cities to construct, plays to write, books to read, stories to write, field trips to experience, and learning to do. I will treasure each moment as it comes, and continue to work closely with the teachers to ensure that the students experience a successful end of year.
As always, please do not hesitate to be in touch should you wish to share your thoughts.
With deepest gratitude,