I am thrilled to be back on the Mountainside after so many years away. For my wife, Nancy Lyon, and me, it feels like we are coming home after a long trip. We are both Berkshire natives and both graduates of Mt. Greylock Regional High School and Williams College. We have always loved the Berkshires.

Darrow has always been a special place for our family. We began our teaching careers here in 1983, fresh out of college and full of ideas. Back then, I was a history teacher, soccer and basketball coach, dorm parent in Ann Lee and Sisters, and Hands-to-Work Coordinator.

Although we did not realize it at the time, the lessons we learned at Darrow in those years – taught to us by some incredible students and gifted and empathic educators – formed the foundation of our teaching careers. What did I learn? I learned how important the student-faculty bonds are for the transformational nature of education – particularly at a boarding school (a few of my early advisees then are among my closest and dearest friends to this day. Nancy and I attended their weddings, baptisms, and we are godparents to their children). I learned the power of experience-based education – in the classroom and on those many Wednesday mornings during Hands-to-Work. I learned how important a sense of place is in the learning process. Finally, I learned - and I still believe this - that the Shakers have much of value to teach us today.

I consider myself fortunate indeed to be following in the footsteps of so many gifted and dedicated Darrow leaders who built a strong and lasting foundation here. Having served as the headmaster of another school for the last fifteen years, I understand well the challenges they overcame and the vision they shared in order to achieve what they have for The Darrow School.

I am returning home to the Mountainside with the hope of helping The Darrow School move confidently into its next chapter. As a part of the extended Darrow family, together we have exciting opportunities to explore – unique opportunities made possible by the age in which we live. In all our programs and initiatives, we will be wise to preserve the Shaker ideals of simplicity, industry, honesty, and harmony – ideals that will serve us well in the future just as they did in the past.


Andrew Vadnais
Head of School

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