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With five decades of experience as an educator and mentor, Chancellor Stephen Spahn has a wealth of experience and insights to share. As the longest-serving leader of an independent school in New York City — and Chancellor of The Dwight Schools, our global network of campuses that spans three continents and dates back over 40 years — he is highly regarded worldwide for his expertise. Also a former Board member of the International Baccalaureate, Chancellor Spahn is often called upon to participate in shaping the future of the IB.

Now, with the launch of his monthly blog, he looks forward to sharing his perspective and impressions on a range of educational topics of interest. These will include insights into some of Dwight's proud traditions, expectations for innovation, thoughts about what's happening in the world of the IB, and more. We invite you to read the first post here, join in with comments, share it with your friends and family, and come back again!
A couple weeks ago, our fourth grade classes took a mind-opening trip to the Rubin Museum of Art, actively participating in a program centered around Buddha. They maximized their learning by curiously listening to stories about the history of Buddha, and took a deeper look into the main tenets of Buddhism by looking closely at paintings and sculptures.
Throughout the year, we will be featuring our faculty and their spark of genius. This monthly outlet will showcase what our teachers are passionate about outside of school, and how they utilize these passions in the classroom.

Nicole Hamilton, Upper School math teacher, found her passion in Zumba — an exercise involving dance and aerobic elements — and teaching others to feel confident through this engaging, popular workout. Ms. Hamilton started taking Zumba classes in 2009, while visiting her mother in Miami. She explained, “The minute the class started, I realized it was so much more than just a dance class.” Only a year and a half later, she became a licensed instructor.

“If someone had told me ten years ago that I would become an exercise instructor, I would have never believed them,” she said. “I was unfit, on the verge of obesity, and lacked the confidence I would have thought necessary.”

Participating in and instructing Zumba classes gave Ms. Hamilton more than just the chance to maintain her fitness level. Zumba provided her with such joy, allowing her to spread that with others and exhibit a level of confidence that she never had before.

Ms. Hamilton teaches Zumba at Dwight School after school, which gives her a greater sense of community. She enjoys seeing teachers from all the divisions, as well as administrators and staff all dancing together. The relationship and connection between teaching and being a Zumba instructor is very strong.

“To be the best instructor possible, I can't just allow myself to settle for using the same old routines every week,” she noted. “I have to continually challenge and excite my classes with fun routines.”

Ms. Hamilton feels as though she has the same values for teaching. “I can never settle as a teacher...each day, each week, each month, each year...I must continue learning,” she added. “I can never settle and say I'm doing a good enough job. I can always get better and my students will benefit from my teaching as long as I continue to have that outlook.”

We are thankful to Ms. Hamilton for sharing her passion for Zumba!
This month, our inquisitive fourth graders visited Redeemer Presbyterian Church as part of their unit of inquiry where they are delving into how beliefs and values are conveyed in major world religions. Assistant Pastorand Community Group Director, Bijan Mirtolooi, shared Christian beliefs and values, all while students asked questions and made positive connections. They took copious notes they plan to use for further research and continued learning!
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