March 1, 2017

100,000 Hugs

Greetings from cloudy Baltimore, where I am attending a national independent schools conference. I hope you have had a good week. While I am away from our campuses, I am unfailingly grateful for all of our staff, especially our leadership team, for keeping things running smoothly in my absence.

As a school head, much of what I do is away from the attention of our students.  This is partly why, on many occasions over the years, I have heard from the kids that the person who “really runs Friends’ School” is Ann Reid.

Ann is our beloved first impression of Friends’ for so many, whether it’s at the front door of the elementary school or on the phone.  And we couldn’t ask for a friendlier face.

I often tease Ann that it’s too bad she’s such an introvert.  But as we all know, Ann always has a giant smile, a warm hug, and a kind word for everyone.  I truly believe she is one of those rare people who has never met a human being whom she doesn’t like.

Ann tells me that she has the best two jobs in the whole world.  This is her 12th year at Friends’ School, manning the front desk as our Program Coordinator.  This year, she also is the recipient of a Glacier Award as she celebrates her 25th year as a sought after ski instructor at Copper Mountain. Many of our students, including yours truly, have benefitted from Ann’s expert coaching on the ski slopes.

Ann recently told me that she believes that Friends’ School “attracts the nicest people in the world.”  She loves working with the staff here, and is continually impressed at the commitment and dedication of our teachers and our administrative staff. She adores how everyone truly and deeply cares about one another.

And of course, she LOVES the children and parents who pass by her every day, with whom she has developed hundreds of special relationships over the years. One of our 2nd graders described Ann as
“the Friends’ School hostess, the Friends’ School doctor, and the Friends’ School genius!”

I asked Ann how many hugs she gives and gets each day. She estimated about 50.  If you multiply that by 172 school days a year, over 12 years, that’s over 100,000 hugs! No wonder she loves her job!

Ann has commented on many occasions how impressed she is by the families who attend Friends’ School. She loves how our parents are devoted to their children and pay attention to the whole child. She so values that our parents want their children to be successful, and that success is not measured by whether our children are accepted into the most selective colleges, but is judged by the things that really matter: kindness, resilience, problem-solving, and getting on well with others. Ann’s goals for our children are to help them grow into better people.

Before coming to Friends’, Ann was a physician recruiter, a staff manager for US West, and a stay-at-home mom.  She used to spend hours volunteering in what is now our Friends’ School middle school, when it was once home to Boulder Country Day School where her children attended.

We can proudly add “matchmaker” to Ann’s resumé, as it was she who introduced her son Chris to one of our teacher candidates a couple of years ago. Shannon and Chris are getting married this summer!  It’s a big year for Ann and her husband Cameron, because their daughter Allie is expecting her first child this summer, along with her husband Jared. Congratulations to the whole family!

Ann describes her job as making everyone else’s job easier at Friends’. She knows EVERYONE by name, including your babysitter, your grandma, and your dog; she brings some of our preschoolers to their weekly yoga class in what she affectionately calls the “Namasté Train”; she loves recess duty; she writes our weekly Happenings and Pulse (internal) newsletters; she runs our fire drills; she purchases supplies for our teachers; she fixes boo-boos with an endless supply of ice packs; she coordinates several of our elementary programs;
and most importantly, she loves our kids.

In Ann’s own words, “Everyone is so kind to me. I get back 10 billion times what I give to this work. Where else can I dress up as the Tin Man or Waldo, dance in a flashmob, pull the fire alarm, and be paid for it?! Everyone at Friends’ fills my bucket every day!”

And you fill ours, Ann Reid, you fill our buckets.  Every day. Thank you for the 100,000 hugs! 

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