A Head of School’s Silver Lining

Last spring I had the honor of working with the admissions and marketing communications teams at Beauvoir – The National Cathedral Elementary School.

Stepping foot on Beauvoir’s campus is absolutely magical. Perched atop a hill and with a closeup view of The National Cathedral -— it really is breathtaking. And the heart of the school matches its external beauty.

Beauvoir National Cathedral Elementary School
Beauvoir – The National Cathedral Elementary School (photo courtesy Beauvoir’s Facebook page)

Like I do with all of my client schools, I have followed Beauvoir’s progress closely since our work together. And I have taken a particular interest in Beauvoir because they recently welcomed a new Head of School, Mrs. Cindi-Gibbs Willborn.

As she becomes reacquainted with the Beauvoir community (she previously worked at Beauvoir for 12 years), she has posted regular Morning Messages to the school’s blog. These short, sweet messages are written to her PreK – 3rd-grade STUDENTS and are a wonderful example of Beauvoir’s developmentally-appropriate, student-centered approach.

But a blog post of a different sort from Cindi appeared in my Twitter feed today. It was titled, “We All Make Mistaks.”

With Cindi’s permission, I’ve shared the beginning of her post here:

During Beauvoir’s first Parents Association Meeting of the year, I shared that I have a special sign hanging on my office door for all visitors to see that states We All Make Mistaks. It was hand painted by one of my former students who knew the importance of mistakes and their relationship to life lessons learned. The sign’s prominence on my door is definitely not a mistake. I want everyone who enters to be reminded that missteps are a critical part of the learning process, and growth and development are enriched through the process of trial and error. Through our mistakes, we are able to challenge ourselves to learn to do things differently, and it motivates us to try unique approaches to problem solving. In fact, research shows that learning from our lapses in judgment can enhance wisdom, judgment, creativity, effort, and resilience, among many other strengths.

Last week, I was acutely reminded of this when a mother dropped by with her child in the morning as our school day began. When the two walked into my office, the mother was carrying a small, beautiful, silver, etched Beauvoir bowl in her hands. When I looked closer, it was identical to one that I kept on my file cabinet, and I was startled to see that she had one just like it.

Photo from beauvoirschool.org

When I looked at the mother’s face, I noticed that she wasn’t exactly smiling. She looked puzzled and quickly spoke up, “Hi, Mrs. Gibbs-Wilborn. I found this silver bowl in our laundry room last night and I am not quite sure how it got there. It does not belong to us.”

Do you think you know how this story ends?

Guess again.

This story has a terrific plot twist, and most importantly, shares three valuable lessons for any adult who works in schools.

I promise it’s worth your time. Enjoy.


Does your school have a story to share but you’re not quite sure how to spread the word? Let’s schedule a time to talk.


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