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Walnut Hill School for the Arts
  • Head's Letter

Head's Update: August 2019

Campus Summer Walnut Hill

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Dear Families,

As the summer months come to an end, I find myself amazed at how quickly the warm, sun-filled days have gone by. While many of you took time away from campus, our summer programs were busy creating art on the Hill. Without question, the arrival of summer students and faculty to 12 Highland Street brought an energy and enthusiasm that simply could not be matched. I encourage you to review the orientation schedule and the key dates noted for the first few weeks of school. Faculty, staff, advisors and dorm parents have been working hard to prepare for the arrival of students. As we begin the 2019–2020 school year, I wanted to share with you some of the work that has happened during the summer months and some of the exciting new changes we are looking forward to this year.

We are welcoming many new members to our community. Kathryn Antonucci, Nurse, Bethany Carchedi, Nurse, Stella Chen, Nurse, Deb Cormier, Health Center Assistant, John Della Cioppa, Director of Facilities & Operations, Cherisse Denton, Receptionist , Leah George, Database Manager, Tobey Fossey, Chief Development Officer, Djida Kebir, French Teacher, Carol Kelley, Admission Office Assistant, Nancy Midura, Driver, Tao Ni, Chamber Music Coach (Cello), Chris Ridolfi, Director of Auxiliary Programs, Dempsey Schott, Assistant Director of Admission, and Ryan Yure, Chamber Music Coach (Clarinet). As always, I am deeply aware of how fortunate we are to recruit and attract such a diverse and talented group of artists, educators, and leaders to our school.

Facilities and Operations have been busy working on many projects since the end of the academic year. This included new bathrooms in Westerly Dorm, a new roof on Highland Hall, a new ventilation system in the ceramics studio, several large and small landscaping and grounds projects. In addition to these larger projects, the facilities team has been hard at work with ongoing maintenance, refreshing dorm parent apartments, working on getting dorm rooms ready for our students, and cleaning and preparing all our spaces to welcome everyone back at the start of September. We are so grateful for the excellent work our facilities team has accomplished to care for and improve our campus!

As many returning families know, we celebrated our 125th Anniversary last year and I want to thank all those who participated and supported this effort. It was a wonderful series of events and gatherings that allowed us the opportunity to both celebrate Walnut Hill’s rich history as well as begin talking about the future. We were able to raise over $700,000 towards projects and initiatives that will directly impact the experience of faculty and students. This includes furniture for outside classroom spaces, a new recording studio in the ATC, and photography equipment for WFMA and Visual Art, just to name a few.
This fall, October 7–9, a team sent by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges will be visiting Walnut Hill as part of our ongoing 10-year re-accreditation process. The team is led by Tim Johnson, Head of School at Pingree School in the North Shore. The team will visit campus for three days and help continue providing valuable feedback to Walnut Hill as we simultaneously engage in a new strategic planning process. I look forward to sharing the details of this process later in the fall after our October Board meeting.
I hope the final few weeks of summer are filled with relaxation and an opportunity to enjoy family time. We look forward to seeing you in September!


Antonio Viva
Head of School