Heidi performing on stage

Thank you, Heidi – Part one of a series

On Novem­ber 18, 2020, Heidi announced that after 25 years at Waverly, she will be retir­ing as Head of School on June 30, 2021. Waverly faculty and staff reflect on working with and knowing Heidi over the years.

  • I was an immi­grant who joined The Waverly High School in 2002. Heidi offered me a teach­ing job and welcomed me to the Waverly commu­nity. She signed all my immi­gra­tion papers without hesi­ta­tion, helping me to obtain my resi­dency in the United States. It was my plea­sure to teach both her sons, Sam and Ryland. Together, Heidi, Sam, and I were part of Waverly’s first high school grad­u­a­tion. Heidi welcomed my idea of spicing up the Waverly holiday show with a Bolly­wood” dance club. I managed to share my culture with some of the Waverly students and parents by taking them on a visit to Sri Lanka. She also approved my South Asian cooking classes at homes of Waverly students. These being just a few of the high­lights of Heidi’s support of my sharing my culture with the Waverly commu­nity. I trusted Heidi and felt confi­dent going to her with confi­den­tial infor­ma­tion, knowing she would respect and honor my honesty. One feels great relief after sharing their story with Heidi, trust­ing that she will come up with a plan to help. Heidi respected the choices we made for school field trips and other curricu­lum; we were given full freedom to teach our curricu­lum as we wished. She took care of our annual benefit renewal plans and managed employee health­care very seri­ously, includ­ing dental insur­ance! The Waverly School will never be the same without Heidi. She is an honest and caring person who has been dedi­cated to the welfare of the faculty and students. My life would not have been the same without her input. I will miss her a lot. Jack Knight, Math
  • Heidi has been a kind and support­ive leader for our commu­nity since I began at Waverly in 2011. Whether working on special projects together or just saying Hi” in the halls, she always had a smile for me — and I don’t think a music teacher could ask for a more support­ive envi­ron­ment to develop a progres­sive musical curricu­lum of my own creation to chal­lenge our wonder­ful and unique student body. We are out to sea now and Heidi is leaving shoes so big, they surely cannot be filled. However, I am confi­dent that the foun­da­tion poured and built on by Heidi these past 25 years will guide us to port once again. Jim Reynolds, Music
  • In the fall of 2004, Clay and I walked into the room where Heidi was speak­ing to a room of anxious touring parents. We were looking for a place where our child could have commu­nity. Where he would learn compas­sion every day, and some math. We wanted a place where educa­tion is love. For me, Heidi has always been, and will continue to be, a lode star and a guiding light. She dances and sings, she wears costumes and cele­brates everyone’s birth­day, she reaches out with compas­sion and creates unshake­able bonds. She intro­duced us to friends and to too many teach­ers and mentors to name. Heidi has educated us all, loved us all from the depths of her heart and soul. She is the defi­n­i­tion of an Essen­tial Worker” and has the unflag­ging courage of a real-life super­hero. Sydney Walsh, Drama
  • The first time I met Heidi was on a tour of Waverly. Heidi shared a vision of what educa­tion was meant to be — a vision based on evidence of how chil­dren learn. She opened the door to a place we dreamed of, even though we did not know it existed. Our chil­dren, now in high school, have been at Waverly since kinder­garten and they have grown immea­sur­ably in count­less ways. Our family has also been so deeply rewarded with the friend­ships of so many fami­lies brought together by this common vision described by Heidi. We have shared meals, camping trips, cele­bra­tions. We have cheered along­side each other at sport­ing events, holiday programs, and grad­u­a­tions. I’ll be forever grate­ful that Heidi believed in me as a teacher. When I left my job at JPL to be a full-time dad, it was not because it was a smart career move. I did it because I thought it was the best thing for my chil­dren. I never dreamed of being a teacher, but Heidi’s trust in me and her guid­ance helped me under­stand how to be a teacher. And the root of that, I have grown to see, is to do the best thing for the chil­dren. Greg Harri­son, Science
  • I am convinced that Heidi is secretly enter­tained by my rebel­lious teenage miscre­ant side. After sitting by her side at All School Meeting every Friday for 12 years, she was patient with my sighs, shenani­gans, and covert (or not) hand signals across the room to Hypatia. I think she quietly enjoys the fact that I won’t stand up during a patri­otic song, and one time, when the fire alarm kept errantly going off on its own while we tried to sing, she might have muttered, Meg-style. In turn, Heidi’s inher­ent grace has changed me. I have come to rely on a now auto­matic WWHD response when I am fraz­zled: I take a breath. I steady my gaze. I stand with purpose. I stop talking. And I listen. When Heidi asked me to be her assis­tant after my one disas­trous year at the elemen­tary school front desk, I was skep­ti­cal: would this part­ner­ship of oppo­sites work? Heidi and I, although nearly the exact age, are in direct contrast: her resolute to my changeling, her calm to my cussing, her Marcia to my Jan. Despite or perhaps because of these differ­ences, it has worked. It does work. Fluidly, with a shared respect and quiet friend­ship that is so tangi­ble and vital to me that the reality of how much I will miss it brings me to tears. Which some might say is a Heidi response; my forever gift of humble emotion from the best secret rebel I will ever know. Thank you, Heidi. I love you. Meg Brad­bury, Well­ness and Assis­tant to Heidi
  • It is selfish to feel despair within ourselves when someone we care for makes a deci­sion that makes their life infi­nitely happier. Heidi is the Swiss Army knife of people. You do not often find humil­ity, strength, wisdom, and char­ac­ter in one person. It is rare to have a Head of School who knows the name of every parent and student. Finding a person like her is one who wears many hats, too few to mention, but here goes: leader, a colleague, a friend, a ther­a­pist, an advisor, a family member, and a person with a life expe­ri­ence shared beyond the class­room. Heidi is someone who sees the teach­ers and staff at the school as whole people, as whole indi­vid­u­als. Over 20 years ago the exist­ing faculty was right to ask her to be the Head of School. Thank God she accepted. Sahaj Kashyap, 5/6 teacher
  • I have known Heidi for only a little over a year, but almost imme­di­ately upon meeting her, I recog­nized her strength and wisdom. I have so much respect for her. Yanndery Flow, 1/2 teacher
  • Heidi has been a constant in my life since I started at Waverly. I have counted on her in ways that I am sure I have not even real­ized. Her pres­ence on campus has always brought a sense of calm and secu­rity. Her thought­ful­ness, kind­ness, unwa­ver­ing integrity, and faith in others is inspir­ing. Heidi is a given. She is always there, always present, always her best self, always. Vella Cagle, Enrollment Manager
  • Heidi has supported me too many times to count, whether in attend­ing profes­sional devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, giving me support as a new mom trying to balance career and family, support­ing me through the loss of my parents, and a life-threat­en­ing medical scare. I am also grate­ful to Heidi for bring­ing my wonder­ful colleagues to the school, many of whom are my closest friends. Those of us who have been part of the Waverly commu­nity for a long time can look back in aston­ish­ment at how our school has changed for the better over the past few decades. The purchase of our campuses, the devel­op­ment of the Farm, the improve­ments of the campus spaces, and the much stronger finan­cial posi­tion of Waverly are accom­plish­ments Heidi should be very proud of. I know for Heidi, though, it is the people in the Waverly commu­nity, espe­cially the students who moti­vated her to improve all facets of our school. I will miss her steady lead­er­ship, warmth, and compe­tence, and wish her all the best as she enters retire­ment. — Toby McDon­ald Chou, Science
  • Words cannot encap­su­late my rela­tion­ship with Heidi for some thirty plus years. My first meeting with Heidi was as a preschool teacher caring for her son. The trust, love, and compas­sion that she showed me that first day remains fresh in my mind and it contin­ued seam­lessly through­out her tenure here at Waverly. She demon­strated genuine concern when any one of us faced some chal­lenges in our personal lives. A meeting in her office to help relieve the stress was always an option. I often took that oppor­tu­nity to spend time with her where I would have her warm and undi­vided atten­tion and walked away feeling lighter. There is grat­i­tude in our hearts to have the good fortune of having an indi­vid­ual like Heidi at the helm of our school who not only inspired us by her actions to be better teach­ers but a better person – a quality that we, in turn, try to instill in all our students. I will forever be grate­ful to Heidi for all the love and energy she poured into Waverly and her tire­less work to build a close-knit commu­nity, who will miss her pres­ence each day in the halls of this beau­ti­ful school. Cheenu Kashyap, elemen­tary school teacher
  • Heidi’s love for, care of, and inter­est in the Waverly students has always warmed my heart. I often think about how Heidi would make time to pop in for our class birth­day cele­bra­tions. She would listen intently as each child shared their gifts from the heart” and we could clearly see the pure joy that would radiate from Heidi each time. I have learned so much from Heidi over the last several years and will carry those lessons with me always. I am incred­i­bly grate­ful to and for her. Victo­ria Fox, kindergarten teacher
  • Heidi is great in school, but you really should see her in action on camping trips. At Death Valley, when we all huddled in our tents at night, she pulled her sleep­ing bag out and slept under the stars. She noted the next morning that coyotes came through the camp to sniff out food. She thinks nothing of picking up bugs and exam­in­ing them (ew) and hiking non-stop. She loves nature and camping trips that test our limits! Amy Sedivy, English