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A South Kent School education is about far more than just what happens in the classroom between students and teachers, at SKS attention is given to all aspects of a student’s growth and development. In this space I will share my thoughts on South Kent School, the latest thinking in the field of education, and, because parents are vital to a boy’s growth, information and links to resources that can help you better understand and be more involved in your son’s education.
Lawrence A Smith '73
Head of School
Lawrence A. Smith, SKS class of 1973, became South Kent School’s ninth Head of School in February of 2019. As the son of two former faculty members, Lawrence grew up at and attended South Kent School, and has strong connections and great devotion to the School. Lawrence holds a BA from Princeton University and a Master’s degree in History from the University of New Hampshire.
Lawrence has a long and distinguished career in secondary education as a teacher, coach, mentor and academic administrator. He spent 22 years at Phillips Exeter Academy teaching history, coaching hockey and varsity crew, overseeing the largest boys dormitory and serving as History Department Chair and Associate Dean of Faculty. While at Exeter, Lawrence co-founded the Exeter Humanities Institute, which has become a nationally recognized conference for learner-centered teaching.
He was recruited to St. Paul’s School in 2011, where he again taught history and humanities, coached crew and served as Dean of Teaching and Learning. While at St. Paul’s he co-founded the Independent School Teaching Residency (ISTR) program in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, a groundbreaking approach to training teachers in independent schools. For seven years Lawrence co-directed the program with his wife, Relinde de Greef.
Lawrence now brings his many years of educational experience to South Kent School. Under his leadership SKS embraces a curriculum based on how boys learn best, and capitalizes on the many advantages of being a school that is small by design. As the School approaches its 100 year anniversary in 2023, Lawrence’s leadership ensures that the school adapts and develops so that South Kent School can continue its mission for the next 100 years.
Now viewing articles posted in 2019.
December 6th, 2019
We did not have a Thanksgiving break for several of the years that I was a student at SKS. Instead, we would all get dressed in our three-piece suits, spend what seemed like hours in chapel, and then join together for a Thanksgiving feast in the dining hall where the kitchen crew outdid themselves. We had classes as usual on the following Friday and Saturday.
September 11th, 2019
It is wonderful to have the boys back on campus, and so good to see so many of you when you dropped them off. We have surpassed our enrollment goals, our new hires have enhanced our teaching faculty, and the campus has been patched, groomed, mowed, painted and refreshed and has never looked better. We are ready to go.
July 1st, 2019
Finishing the school year at SKS has brought a little slower pace to the Hillside in June, though a great deal is still happening. We had a wonderful Alumni Weekend and a fruitful trustees meeting, many campus facilities are getting upgraded, and some of our graduating student-athletes have been recognized. The slower pace of the day has also allowed me to read some of the documents and books that have been sitting on the shelves in my office all year, including “How It Came About” which includes excerpts from the journal/diary Sam Bartlett kept during the opening of the School in 1923, and “Letters to Sam,” guiding correspondences from Fr. Sill, Kent’s founding headmaster and the driving force behind South Kent’s founding. There are many diary entries that I found particularly pertinent to SKS today and my first year as Head of School.
June 6th, 2019
Good morning, and welcome. Members of the Class of 2019 - before we celebrate you, which is the purpose of this day and the event we have all been anticipating, there is one last task that I would like you to perform for the School. You would not be here if your family had not made sacrifices of money, time and emotion to send you here. You may not really get this yet, but these sacrifices were huge. I would like you to get up and go thank your parents or sponsors for this sacrifice, right now, and be back in your seats in 3-4 minutes.
May 1st, 2019
The biggest news in April, certainly, was our U15 and U18 hockey teams both qualifying for the national championships in Michigan, and the U18s returning home with the championship trophy for the second year in a row. For a school of 170 boys, these feats are particularly impressive, and it is about our boys being boys on which I want to focus in this “April Recap.”
April 1st, 2019
April greetings from the Hillside. Though we have been on vacation for much of March it has been a busy month: I continue to travel quite a bit despite my intentions to slow down and spend more time on campus; our U15 and U18 hockey teams have qualified for the national championships and are off to Michigan for their respective tournaments; and a group of faculty members spent several vacation days reimagining what our curriculum can and will look like next year.
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