News Detail

REenergized: The RE Way provides a spark for 2023-24

In my 18 years at Ransom Everglades, I cannot recall any parent meeting that generated more spontaneous applause than the opening assembly of last month’s Upper School Back-to-School Night. Our parents showed their appreciation time and again as RE board chair Jonathan Fitzpatrick P’20 ’23 outlined our school’s priorities and shared points of pride while referencing our new mission and core values: The RE Way. During the event at the Lewis Family Auditorium, parents applauded as he talked about our college counseling REimagination. They clapped as he emphasized joy in the student experience. They cheered as he promised continued support for our outstanding faculty. More than a half-dozen times, the room erupted, pulsing with the same optimism and spirit that has pervaded our campuses since the school year began in August. We are a REenergized community, and we are moving forward with purpose.
The RE Way has provided a needed spark, and it is critical to the journey ahead. When I was named permanent Head of School last June, the school’s trustees also adopted our new mission and core values – which had been more than a year in the making. The RE Way emerged from conversations with our professional community, students, parents and alumni. School leaders conducted surveys and held face-to-face meetings. They listened and leaned into our institution’s 120-plus-year history, responding not only to fresh input but also internalizing the venerable ideals passed down from our founders Paul Ransom and Marie and Edward Swenson. In my first year as permanent head of school, I am grateful for these guiding aspirations, which offer a clear and inspiring vision for the future while also laying the foundation for every decision ahead.

Since this summer, our mission and core values have shown up in every facet of our students’ education, and my hope is that the entire RE community will become familiar with them. You will see The RE Way on signage when you visit our campuses, and you will hear about our core values frequently. Given their importance, I include them here:
The RE Way 
Guided by the words of Paul C. Ransom, Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who “believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it.” 

Ransom Everglades School prepares students for a lifelong journey of learning, the call to service and the responsibility to lead in an environment that fosters academic and co-curricular excellence as well as social wellbeing. 

The school’s caring faculty and staff empower students to explore their passions, discover their strengths, and develop their character so they can pursue their ambitions and lead purposeful lives.
Support and Community
We are a supportive community where all members feel accepted and valued for their unique talents and contributions. 
Diversity and Inclusion
We are a diverse community, and we promote collaborative inquiry, open-minded discussion, and authentic curiosity about different perspectives and cultures. 
Honor and Excellence
We build on a tradition of honor and academic excellence where students, mentored by inspiring faculty, are challenged to think deeply, critically, empathetically and creatively.
Joy and Wellbeing
We prioritize the wellbeing of our students, ensuring they feel supported by the community, have ample opportunity to explore their varied interests, and find joy and balance in their lives. 
Service and Outreach
We deliver on the original promises of Paul C. Ransom and Marie and Edward Swenson by guiding students to make a positive contribution to our school community, the neighboring Coconut Grove community and the broader world.
I hope you share my enthusiasm about The RE Way – and also that you enjoy this issue of the Ransom Everglades Log, which brings to life the energy and excitement on our campuses and in our alumni community. Don’t miss the insightful piece from English teacher Matt Margini on our faculty’s timely and strategic response to the rise of artificial intelligence (page 12) and another on the school’s increasingly innovative curriculum (page 18). You may be interested to learn more about how I arrived to RE and what drove me into the field of education; you can find that in the story that begins on page 6

Please take a few minutes to read the wonderful columns by my colleagues David Clark ’86, Jason Locke, Wendell Graham ’74 and Victoria Beatty ’00. David, our COO and Interim Head of the Upper School, shares a family story and insight into the spirit that he brings to our campuses every day (page 24); Jason, our Executive Director of College Counseling, lends insight into his transformational approach with RE’s college counseling office (page 25); and Wendell and Victoria, who jointly lead our diversity and inclusion efforts, provide an update on our progress at Ransom Everglades. 

There is much more: stories on our magical Alumni Weekend 2023 and commencement and a Q and A with beloved faculty emeritus Owen Paris. Our Report of Giving 2022-23 highlights a tremendous season of Raider generosity; once again, RE set a record for annual gifts. That comes as no surprise to me, and I expect we can be even more successful in the coming year.

I hope you will have the opportunity to visit RE in 2023-24 and, most importantly, that you will accompany your school as we journey to even greater heights as an institution. We are on the way. The RE Way!
Rachel Rodriguez
Head of School
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.