Teachable Moments: We “Walk the Walk” and It Starts from The Top
Avi Gold

At St. Andrew’s School, we “walk the walk” by “talking the talk,” and it starts from the top. After four decades of service and leadership to St. Andrew’s, Head of School Tad Roach still seeks out teachable moments, big and small. After a serendipitous meeting in the hallway with a first grader, Mr. Roach seized the moment to talk with this young boy about art, education, and life. The boy’s mother was amazed on the car ride home, hearing her son say, “This was a great night!” Her son recounted the inspired conversation: “We talked about books, trophies, art, explored paintings, engineering, maps, and first grade.” 

Mr. Roach still makes it a priority to teach English classes. There are a million things that could pull the focus of a Head of School away from this aspect of a 21st century boarding school, but teaching is an anchor that keeps him deeply connected to the mission of the school. Our motto, “Faith & Learning,” sets the foundation for it all. Mr. Roach has a deep faith in every student and staying connected to them is staying connected to the mission of the school. It all starts with teaching—and learning. 

Bobbi Cooke ’20 shares her experience with Mr. Roach in the classroom in this way: “I can’t help but feel grateful to have had the experience of being taught by Mr. Roach. Up until junior year I hadn’t felt a love for literature, and I struggled a lot with analyzing [the text] because reading was somewhat difficult for me. When we started reading Hamlet, I still experienced those same hesitations in the classroom. Feeling disconnected from English made me feel timid to speak. When it was time to read Anna Karenina, the discussions that Mr. Roach led were incredible. He was animated and his passion for teaching was evident in every word he spoke. I began to understand the novel, as well as enjoy it, and through his fascination, passion, and enthusiasm, he expanded my lens for learning and took it to a whole new extreme. Ever since those moments of epiphany while reading Anna Karenina, English has become a passion of mine at St. Andrew’s, and I thank Mr. Roach for seeing my potential and helping me reach it in and out of the classroom.”

St. Andrew’s students have incredible examples of leadership all around them. From the VI Form that leads the school in powerful ways to team captains in sports to residential leaders on dorm to an amazing faculty and an inspired administration, it all starts from the top. By taking the time to talk with a first grader in the hallway, igniting a passion for learning in students in the classroom, inspiring the faculty to reach for the stars in a faculty meeting, Mr. Roach leads by example. He “walks the walk” by taking the time to “talk the talk.”

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