Rob Munro, CA’s new dean of academic program and equity, joined the senior leadership team at Concord Academy on July 1. He sent this letter of introduction and invitation for conversation to CA community members.

 

Dear Concord Academy Community,

Because I won’t get a chance to meet many of you in person until we gather next year, I wanted to introduce myself to you with this short letter. As the incoming Dean of Academic Program and Equity, I have been grateful for the warm welcome and kind words I have received thus far, and I look forward to joining such an inspiring community at CA.

I was initially drawn to Concord Academy’s challenging and diverse academic curriculum, the vibrancy of the school community, and the intellectual integrity that unites students and faculty in a common purpose. I am moved by the opening line of Concord Academy’s mission statement: “We are a community animated by love of learning.” While I would say that I’m a lover of learning, that wasn’t always the case. I wasn’t a particularly good student in middle and high school; I certainly wasn’t animated by learning. I found the content hard and my much-brighter peers intimidating. It wasn’t until I had teachers who showed an interest in who I was, what my family valued, and what I was capable of becoming, that learning became real for me. I cultivated my love of literature, my passion for philosophy and history, as well as my interest in art, music, and the science behind sustainable agriculture and automobiles. It’s been a lifelong journey — and I don’t anticipate stopping anytime soon. I’m excited to join a community that shares this passion for curiosity, for growth, and for seeking the answers to life’s most compelling questions.

As a trans-racially adopted child and one of 12 children growing up in a multiracial home, my journey has been both exciting and complex. A school like CA, which values the lived experiences and academic promise of all of its constituents, is exactly the kind of place I want to be. As the new Dean of Academic Program and Equity, I’m excited to become enmeshed within the strong adult culture of the school and to support the students and families during their time at Concord. As I think about the opportunity that this new role presents to the community, I keep coming back to equity, empathy, and cultural competency — values and skills that matter to all of us. Maintaining these values as the bedrock of our academic foundation will allow us to continue to thrive as a strong intellectual institution.

I’ve done a lot of thinking these past few weeks about race, agency, anti-black violence, and opportunity. They’re all connected, yet not in equal proportions to so many in this country. I’ve been heartened in my conversations with colleagues, friends, and strangers who are using this moment to educate themselves and their loved ones on matters of race and equity. There’s a lot of hard work we all have to engage in and it will require investment and sacrifice. For a lot of reasons, the conversations we are and will be having are difficult, uncomfortable, and force us to reflect on how much skin we have in this game. I want to share with you that I’m ready and willing to stand in this discomfort with all of you and help to propel Concord Academy into a brighter, more equitable next century. It’ll take us all, but it’ll start with us as individuals.

Given I have yet to meet many of you in person, I thought I would share some facts about myself and my family. I have an amazing family which includes my wife (an Art History teacher at Middlesex), my two daughters (5 and 2), and my 9 year old dog (a great dane, hound, and pointer mix). I will play any sport that has a racket. I’m currently reading “An Orchestra of Minorities” by Chigozie Obioma, a Nigerian novelist. I recently learned how to juggle. I’m a big fan of the artist Jean Michel Basquiat, and I’m a Ragtime pianist. My favorite musician is Stevie Wonder. My favorite scientist is Mae Jemison. I’m a vegan, and I love electric cars. I’ve never gotten through a Tom Hanks movie without crying (yes, that also includes Toy Story).

To end, I’d like to open this up as a conversation. Who are you? What do you believe are CA’s most cherished values? What do you think this new role should tackle next year, or in the coming decade? I look forward to hearing your voices, and discussing these questions with you. If you’d like, feel free to email me at rob_munro@concordacademy.org throughout the summer. I am here for CA, and I cannot wait to get to know all of you!

With warmest regards,

Rob Munro
Dean of Academic Program and Equity

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