Canterbury Gets to Know the Stones

By Nick Toth

Jim and Rachel Stone

As an interviewer, I was excited to learn more about the Stone family, and could not wait to sit down and talk with both Mr. and Mrs. Stone.

First, I asked Mrs. Stone where she saw Canterbury in five years and ten years from now. She replied with, “Cullen and Kip may be Cbury students…yikes! Otherwise… I see our school sustaining the heart and soul of this community for the next ten years and beyond. I imagine the campus will continue to transition just as the student body will…maybe a new track or academic space…?  I am excited for the planning that lies ahead as we map out what will best serve our students now and in the years to come.”

The Stone Family: Cullen, Jim, Rachel, and Kip

Next, Mrs. Stone very simply answered “I would put raised sidewalks/speed bumps on Aspetuck!” when I asked her what one change she would make to Canterbury.

Following that, Mrs. Stone was asked what it was like being the first woman head of school.

“I’m not sure how to answer this.  I am grateful that the community has welcomed me and my family, and I am privileged to lead such an amazing school as Canterbury’s 6th Head of School.  It is true the coeducational boarding schools have been slow to appoint female Heads, so I do not take the historical significance of my role at Canterbury lightly; that said, the Cbury family has been overwhelming in its warm and genuine welcome.  I suppose I feel fortunate to not have to think about the gender aspect with too much frequency.”

Mrs. Stone then discussed the topic of her biggest challenge facing Canterbury. She took to this question with

enthusiasm, proclaiming, “The challenge question!  All boarding schools are working to better articulate what differentiates the boarding school experience generally and their individual school’s program specifically.  This is an ongoing, critical goal for us as well, and I am so grateful to be a part of a school that identifies service, spirituality and self-reliance (and honesty, respect and compassion!) as key components of our mission and value-added.

It is not difficult to explain to prospective families what is so special about Cbury, and even easier to ask our students to share/show it to them during campus visits.”

As a final question, I asked Mrs. Stone if she had thought about what kind of legacy she would like to leave, or if it was too early to tell.  She responded with, “Isn’t having the Snack Bar open on Saturday nights enough?  Ha!  Yes, it’s early…but if in 10 or 20 years, Canterbury remains a place founded on our Five Values that attracts student-centered, passionate faculty and sends graduates out into the world ready for all that awaits them, I’ll feel like I have carried the torch forward.

“We will always have to think proactively and strategically about programs and facilities, but it’s the people we bring to this campus that will define us as a school.  But don’t forget the Snack Bar.”

It was truly an exciting experience to learn more about our new head of school!

Next I talked with Mr. Stone, our new Athletic Director. Mr. Stone was first asked what one thing he wanted students to know about him was, and immediately replied that he and his family were excited to be here.

Jim Stone

“After being somewhere for 24 years, it’s obviously a big change, but this community has been so welcoming to us and we are thrilled to be here and to be a part of this great school.”

– Jim Stone

Next Mr. Stone was asked what has surprised him most since he has come to Canterbury. At first, he was stumped, and even mentioned how hard the question was, but then came to the conclusion that he was surprised how similar prep-school kids are. He continued by portraying his love for the student body, saying, “They are dedicated kids. They are kids with character, and that is important to me.”

Continuing the discussion, Mr. Stone was asked in what ways Canterbury was different from Blair.  He started by saying that Blair was a little bit bigger, and that it was a noticeable difference.

Mr. Stone also noted that there were fewer facilities here at Canterbury.  As we were about to move on to the next question, Mr. Stone was reminded of another difference. With a smile on his face he proclaimed, “The biggest one [difference], outside of those things is the town. New Milford is a great town!” He seemed very excited about the town, and even mentioned the great business district right down the hill.

Quickly following Mr. Stone’s excitement for New Milford, he was asked what his favorite part about Canterbury was. Instantly he replied, “The kids.” He continued by explaining his love for seeing kids thrive on and off of the athletic fields.

Finally, Mr. Stone was asked what transformations he would like to see Canterbury make.

He responded by saying that he would like to see Canterbury take the next step in improving the athletic facilities. Next, he said, “I would like all of our teams to continue to be competitive across the board, and be able to take it to the next level.” Mr. Stone then added that there is such great tradition here, and he would just like to keep adding to it.

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