The ACS community gathered together on Thursday, September 15, 2016, for the installation of the 24th Head of School, Greg MacGilpin, Jr. Members of the Board of Trustees and Parents’ Committee joined the 1,080 students in welcoming the new Head of School. Dr. Fadlo Khuri, the President of American University of Beirut, attended as one of several special guests, and Deputy Head of School Karim Abu Haydar emceed the event.
The ceremony opened with a flag parade displaying the 64 nationalities of the dynamic and diverse student body, followed by opening remarks from Salwa Siniora Baasiri, the Vice President of the Board of Trustees. Baasiri presided over the installation in place of ACS Board of Trustees President, Nina Joukowsky Köprülü ’79.
ACS students from High School, Middle School and Elementary School addressed Mr. MacGilpin with their own special greetings, and Parents’ Committee President Mona Maktabi highlighted the new Head of School’s extensive background in education: “Mr. MacGilpin comes to us with lots of experience in both teaching and leadership. ”MacGilpin’s career in education spans more than two decades. He most recently served at the helm of Country Day School in Costa Rica, and previously led independent schools in the United States. “His strong focus on teaching and leadership,” she added, “will be a great asset to the school.”
Grade 12 student Layla Tabbal ’17 conveyed to MacGilpin the singular qualities that set ACS students apart, and Karim Nimeh ’17 disclosed what impressed him most the first time he met the new head: “The first thing I noticed…was that he truly cared. I noticed that he was genuinely interested in the school...the community we had here was so apparent to him and he wanted to be a part of it.“
Alex Fouladfard ‘21 spoke on behalf of the Middle School, remarking, “My peers and I are excited to establish a relationship with you, which we are hoping will prove instrumental to our development during this critical time.” Sam Al Baayno ’24 closed the student greetings with a message from the Elementary School: “We are so delighted to have such an eligible person with such great experience to monitor our school. We assure you that you will find our school a comfortable place to work in…Congratulations, and we welcome you and your family to our [ACS] family.”
“Greg emerged as the unanimous choice of the search committee,” Board Vice President Baasiri shared with the audience. “During the search process, the committee was struck by the extent to which Mr. MacGilpin’s qualities and attributes matched what members of our school community so clearly articulated they were looking for...Our ACS community spoke clearly about their hopes for the next ACS head: An educator with intellect, judgment, vision, and humor, [who is] accessible, a compassionate listener and a mentor for ACS’s diverse faculty. We have found these qualities and more in Mr. MacGilpin.”
MacGilpin thanked the community for the kind words and concluded with a lesson: “Listen, leap, laugh, learn, and let others do the same.” Explaining that each word was interconnected, MacGilpin advised the ACS community to listen in order to learn; leap and take risks to grow; laugh at your mistakes; learn from your mistakes; and let others do the same by respecting each other’s individuality.
He ended by reminding the community what makes ACS so unique: “A school like ACS is a community, just like Beirut, that is complex with lots of individualized relationships. With over 50 nations represented at ACS, with many religions, beliefs and backgrounds, we have to find a way to let others be able to listen, take leaps, to laugh, and to learn.” MacGilpin thanked the audience and looked ahead to both an “incredible” 2016-2017 school year and to “the many years ahead together.”
For MacGilpin’s full script, please click here.