Matt Burgy, Head of School

December 1, 2023

Dear Oakridge Family,

I love reading. In fact,  I’m the type of reader that has multiple books going at one time. Right now, I’m reading Hidden Potential by Adam Grant, The Five Obsessions of The Extraordinary Executive by Peter Lencioni, and a set of speeches by Teddy Roosevelt. Occasionally, as I am reading a book, I will go to our bookshelf, and pick out a random book that I’ve read just to remind myself of the annotations I’ve made. This week, I stumbled across one of my favorite all-time books, and it’s one that I want to recommend to every parent - The Genius in Every Child by Rick Ackerly. There are a million nuggets of wisdom in this book, but I came across one that I thought I might share with you; “Genius is not just about intelligence and aptitude, it’s also a word that embodies our inner soul, nature, or character.” I am perhaps drawn to this because my educational philosophy is such that I believe there is a unique excellence in every child, and it is my job (and as such, our school’s job) to help them find what that excellence is, help them turn it into a passion, and then harness that passion so that they might become the best version of themselves. 

We often confuse a child’s grades and their performance with their level of aptitude. Grades, tests, and other measures of performance are simply snapshots of a child’s ability to perform on a given task on a given day. That given day is one in which a child might not have had enough sleep the night before, enough to eat the morning of, or had a social interaction that caused them to be distracted in class. There are a million reasons why a child may not perform to their genius on a given day, through a particular time period (especially during the massive change your child will undergo or has undergone as a Middle School student). 

This is why the Oakridge experience is so transformative; we have the ability to look at a child, individually, and help them seek their full potential in an environment that both challenges them and nurtures them. Seeking is not the same as realizing, as children are on a constant path of change, and that path is a winding road. It is during those winding path moments that we, as a school, and you, as parents, must put your child at the center of our collective wisdom and partner with one another. Those moments are sure to have bumps, especially when a child achieves failure. Yes, I used the word “achieved” in partnership with failure. For it is those moments that your child will have grown and learned exponentially. Teddy Roosevelt would say, “It is hard to fail, but it is never to have tried to succeed.”

Happy Holidays and Go Owls!

Matt Burgy
Head of School