Head of School's Blog

Saying Farewell to Mike Bowler

Kim Ridley
It was a cold day in February of 2020 when the hiring committee and I met Michael Bowler. We were sitting in a room off of the library, and Mike bounced in with all of his Mike energy. He responded to our questions thoughtfully and, when asked, gave a pretty accurate analysis of where he could see opportunities and challenges for Fayerweather. I was looking for a leader-partner who would be willing, able, and open to managing and cultivating people. I also want to remind you of what was happening then. We were learning about this killer virus called COVID-19. It was approximately two weeks after Mike took the job that school was closed, and we were all dealing with crippling anxiety while figuring out how we were going to continue learning under such conditions. 
Working with an excellent leader and partner in leadership who is leaving for another opportunity can be a moment filled with mixed emotions. On one hand, there's a sense of loss and perhaps even trepidation about the future without their presence and guidance. On the other, there's a feeling of gratitude for the time spent together and the growth experienced under their leadership. I say this with great sincerity that he is one of the kindest humans that I have ever known. He operates in the world with his head and heart connected, which can be tricky for a man to accomplish in our culture.

Mike and I truly connected beyond our social identifiers into a place of seeing each other's true humanity, and I will be forever grateful for that. I appreciate our shared vision, which helped to foster a cohesive work and learning environment. This good work includes his leadership in revamping our math program, leading the work in teacher evaluation, and putting in place the many systems that better allow us to meet the needs of our students and families. 

Great leaders are also great teachers. They challenge their teams, provide resources and support for excellent learning and create opportunities for people to stretch beyond their comfort zones. The departure of a respected leader and partner in leadership is undoubtedly a significant moment of transition. Yet, it also offers a rich opportunity for reflection, gratitude, and renewed commitment to our shared values and goals. 

I want us to remember that the lessons learned and the growth experienced under his leadership are lasting contributions to Fayerweather. Mike will be the next Head of School of Harborlight Montessori in Beverly, MA. His child Rory will remain with us, so we will see him next year! Mike will start his new position in July. We all wish you the best! In the meantime, I have initiated the search for a new Assistant Head of School and leadership partner. I will be reaching out to the parent community to be a part of this process. Mike, we wish you and your family the best on your leadership journey. 

In partnership,
Fayerweather Street School | 765 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-876-4746
Fayerweather is a private PreK, kindergarten, elementary and middle school. We engage each child’s intellect.