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Boarding School Turns Colleagues into Neighbors

Boarding School Turns Colleagues into Neighbors
Angela Brown, Assistant Head of Admission and Strategic Initiatives

People often ask me why I choose to live on campus at Dana Hall School. Certainly, the four-minute walk to my office and the fact that I rarely have to cook dinner are significant perks, but the biggest perk of all cannot be measured in the length of my commute or number of meals I enjoy at the Dining Hall. The greatest benefit of living at a boarding school is the extended family you inherit as soon as your moving truck arrives on campus.

Growing up in a suburban neighborhood north of Atlanta in the 80s, I spent most of my free time outside with a cluster of neighborhood children, running from house to house, riding our bikes, and making up dances to New Edition or Madonna in the middle of our cul-de-sac (I said it was the 80s!). My friends and their parents were my extended family, folks my parents would call if we ran out of sugar while baking cookies, needed someone to feed our cat while we were out of town, or just wanted to host an impromptu New Year’s Eve party.

Similarly, on-campus faculty members at Dana Hall become an extended family because we are each other’s neighbors. Living alongside those with whom you work provides an amazing opportunity to appreciate your colleagues for more than what they bring to the classroom. I not only see my colleagues as wise, innovative educators, but I also have the privilege of seeing them as patient parents, skilled bakers and grill-masters, talented musicians, dog enthusiasts, impressive gardeners, and dedicated marathon runners.

I’ve called on my neighbors just as anyone would: both to have fun and when I need help in a pinch. I’ve invited colleagues over for dinner and a movie, gone sledding with a gaggle of faculty children after a big snowstorm, and spent lazy summer nights chatting and singing with colleagues on the porch. My colleagues have also been kind enough to drop me off at the airport, hang my shower curtain rod, and help me shovel my car out from under two feet of snow. I pick up mail for my neighbors when they’re out of town, host impromptu ice cream socials, volunteer to babysit when my colleague’s sitter calls in sick, and cheer on Boston Marathon runners each year with a group of spirited teachers.

I am grateful for all members of Dana Hall’s faculty and staff, who devote their energy and talents to ensure our students’ success. But I have a special place in my heart for the faculty and staff members who live alongside me on Dana Hall’s beautiful, 52-acre campus. Living and working with incredible colleagues is the gift that keeps on giving, long after the end of the school day.