Head of School
Dear Canterbury Community,
Canterbury celebrates its 26th school year in 2018-19. The past 26 years have been foundational in terms of thoughtful design, growth, and development, of building and innovation, of meaningful teaching and learning and, most importantly, of loving relationships. What began in the early 1990s as the vision of a small group of inspired parents is now carried out daily by a dedicated set of more than 70 full- and part-time faculty and staff on behalf of 350 children on a beautiful campus with first-rate facilities and a healthy endowment.
I came to Canterbury as Head of School at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. My wife and I choose Canterbury because it is the kind of school we wanted for our sons. It’s a close-knit community that values whole-child education -- emphasizing both character and academic excellence -- and where children are truly known. The PreK-8th grade structure also was a strong draw for us. I came from a PreK-12 school, and most of the energy and leadership opportunities at a school like that are funneled to the juniors and seniors. At a PreK-8 school, 7th and 8th graders can take the lead. I admire the ability that Canterbury graduates have to change and grow and carry the values we instilled in them to the high schools they choose. We know Canterbury has been successful when we hear stories about how our students applied the skills they learned here to tackle challenges in new settings.
The fact that Canterbury is an Episcopal school was important to me. Episcopal schools have existed in the United States since 1709, and today Canterbury is part of a strong group of more than 1,200 of them -- all members of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES). From its inception, Canterbury has stressed the principles and ideals that define these distinct institutions: a challenging curriculum; a comprehensive community life, in which physical, mental, and emotional health are nurtured; regular, creative, and inclusive worship; meaningful and substantive religious formation and study that fosters dialogue with other faith traditions; and a commitment to social justice, which includes the integration of equity and justice throughout the life of the school, embracing and honoring diversity, and including community service and service-learning in the curriculum.
There’s a wealth of information about Canterbury on this website and in-depth stories in our magazine, Canterbury Tales (found here), but there’s no substitute for visiting a school to understand what kind of place it is. If you haven’t visited campus, please call the office (336-288-2007) to schedule a visit or join us for a chapel service on Monday or Friday at 8:10 a.m. while school is in session.
The children’s excitement about learning, the faculty’s love for what they do, and the sense of community are palpable when you’re on campus. I think you’ll see that Canterbury’s commitment to educating creative, engaged citizens is as strong today as it was at our founding 26 years ago.
Phil Spears, Head of School