2019 IBSC Annual Conference
Selwyn House School
Montréal, Québec, Canada
June 26 - 29
2019 IBSC Hawley-Jarvis Award
Thursday, June 27, we honored Minna Shulman, dean of students, Selwyn House School (Canada), with the 2019 IBSC Hawley-Jarvis Award. The former IBSC trustee retired from Selwyn House School this summer after 20 years of service to the school. She graciously shared her acceptance speech with us (see below), which brought a packed ballroom of 600+ attendees to its feet in thunderous applause and celebration. Thank you, Minna.
What a pleasure to receive this award from an organization that has helped me grow both professionally and personally. My experience with the IBSC began with a small push by our Headmaster, Hal Hannaford, to participate in IBSC regional conferences. I was so impressed with the organization and the content of the first conference, and I send kudos to Brad Adams. Before long came a big push from Hal to join the Board of Trustees, in his stead, to represent Selwyn House and Montreal. My first Board meeting was at the end of the London Conference in 2011 and I was surrounded by Heads of Schools, all very friendly and all very male, with one other woman who was also in a counseling/non-headmaster role. Garth Wynn was already a big ally as he and I had set up an exchange for our students, but this is where my need for personal growth stared me in the face.
I had grown up as an only girl with four brothers, surrounded by uncles who worked together in a business called Shulman BROTHERS, and when I began at Selwyn House the loudest and deepest voices seemed to run the show, bringing on my knee jerk reaction to feel out of place and not worthy to the task. Although I faked it...at Selwyn House and on the IBSC Board... it took me a couple of years to find my place. But finally, I no longer had to hide in my room during the cocktail hour!
With the encouragement of Brad Adams and Joe Cox, I took on more responsibilities such as helping shape the Mastery in Teaching Boys Workshops, and taking on the leadership of the Research Committee. Once Amy Ahart and David Armstrong took their leadership roles, I had my sea legs and no longer thought of myself as the token...token woman, token helping professional, token non-head of school, token Jewish person, token old person, token non-athlete! I had earned my place and loved growing professionally with such a talented and committed group of men and eventually a few more women…such as Sherry Rusher and Di Laycock...and there is room and need for so many more women as well.
My message to all of us today is--- not only do we need more women in leadership in our schools and on the Board of Trustees of the IBSC -- but that we play such a vital role in the lives of the boys we spend our days working with and for many of us, our nights worrying about. Yes, these boys will likely be tomorrow’s leaders, but more importantly they will be tomorrow’s fathers and partners in love.
We have the great privilege and responsibility to nurture and guide these boys and men, and we have even greater resources within us…we have our hearts and our love. We know the importance of connection and relationships and we know that it takes so little effort for us to reach out and touch the hearts of most of the children we encounter.
As Hal has taught us at Selwyn House, we need to be true to ourselves, true to others, and true to our schools. We need to refuse to use sarcasm and humiliation to one up our students. We need to remember to treat everyone as we wish to be treated. We need to focus on what is really important...a child’s sense of well-being, confidence, and worthiness of love and respect. Our hearts and own endless love are our schools’ greatest resources, and we all know that our students respond to our genuine care and concern with open hearts, growing empathy and compassion.
Thank you for this honor. Thank you all for allowing Selwyn House to realize our dream of giving back to the IBSC and hosting this conference, and a very special thank you to Amy Ahart for being our day to day leader on details big and small,
Wishing you all a wonderful time in Montréal!