Monday, January 9, 2012

The Headmaster & Fearless Fourteen

     I read a short biography this week about Frank L. Boyden. He was the headmaster at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts. I have been obsessed with private schools for awhile now and Deerfield is one of the schools I have always felt a very strange attachment to. After reading the book I see what it was that drew me to it in the first place.
     Frank Boyden was, by no means, a perfect headmaster. Several times throught the book John McPhee (author) stated that Boyden was a fantastic politican: able to pass the blame when the fault fell on his shoulders in the name of keeping the peace and always able to raise the funds necessary to make things fit his desires for the school perfectly, even if it meant through deciet. However, he also had a few desireable qualities. He cared a great deal for both the students and faculty of the school. He gave everything he had to constantly improve on the school, making it a better place for students to come learn. He was a mentor to virtually everyone he came in contact with, including colleagues, other headmasters, high ranking politicians, he even counted presidents as personal friends. He just had a way about him that made people listen. Made people respect him and want to please him. Because of this he was very effective as a leader.
     One of the things they book also says about Frank Boyden is that he was an interloper, an outsider who inserted himself into the Deerfield community from the outside. Even though he was an outsider from the beginning, he always made a point to see that the school and community were working together harmoniously. It reminds me so much of my alma mater, Bethany Public Schools, and the emphasis on community interaction that is encouraged there. It is one of the things I love most about Bethany. It doesn't just feel like another day in the classroom, but rather it feels like you are doing something worthwhile.
     The book was a bit difficult to read. Though only 109 pages, it used phrases like "a skein of magnanimous despots." I had to use a dictionary on more than one occasion. It was hard for me to focus and took me awhile to get into the book. I wouldn't encourage everyone to read it, not because it wasn't good, but because I think it is subject matter you really have to be interested in to get the full benefit. If you are interested in becoming a better, more effective leader go ahead. Read on my friends, read on.

Fearless Fourteen is another book I read this week. Well, let me clarify, I kind of read this week. I read most of it a couple of years ago and completely forgot, so I picked up where I left off and finished it from there. You really can't go wrong with a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich. For those of you who haven't read these books, Stephanie Plum is a bountry hunter from New Jersey who sometimes...needs a little help. She's got a hot-headed Italian cop for a boyfriend and sometimes a little something extra from a colleague Bounty Hunter by the name of Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger. She and ho-turned-filing clerk friend, Lula are always getting into trouble but almost always get their guy. :) One for the Money is the first book in the series and the movie (Starring Katherine Heigl) hits theaters on January 27. Check it out. This is a book series I recommend. It is hilarious!

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