Headmaster's Thoughts Archive


  • June

    Headmaster’s Thoughts: June 2023, Commencement Speaker’s Speech 

    I have given a Headmaster’s farewell for 52 graduations. Our first graduation was actually in 1971 since, when Jayme and I started York Prep in 1969, we only admitted 6th through 11th graders in the first year. But I have never given the commencement speaker’s speech, until this year. Now!  So I apologize for not being Oprah Winfrey or George Clooney.
    Read More
  • May

    Headmaster's Thoughts: May 2023

    This month I am cheating by reproducing a presentation I made to an educational conference, this April, on the teaching of Ethics to high school students. Last month’s “Thoughts” were hopefully amusing. The same cannot be said for this presentation:

    Good Morning. My name is Ronnie Stewart and I started York Prep School in 1969 with my wife and have been Head of School for the 54 years it has served its students in New York City. For most of those years, I have taught Ethics to all members of the Senior Class.
    Read More
  • April

    Headmaster’s Thoughts: April 2023

    There are tea ceremonies all over the world, but nothing quite like the English tea ceremony. Since it may become a fading institution, I want to give it a review before it goes away with the steam locomotive. You can find this odd ceremony practiced in the better English hotels and a few department stores in London.
    Read More
  • March

    Headmaster's Thoughts: March 2023

    I love going to the opera, and drag Jayme along about five times a year. When I was a young man, I would sit somewhere near the roof but now we are fortunate to be closer to the stage. We saw Fedora very recently. It is not a great opera. The story is absurd, and it has not been performed at the Met for over 20 years. Whenever the Metropolitan Opera returns a rarely-heard opera back into its repertoire, they bring out the superstars to perform it. And so it was with this revival, which starred Sonya Yoncheva and Piotr Bezcala. The music was fair, but the singing was superb. Going to the Met, one often sees great performances, sometimes only good ones, and, rarely, average ones. But the experience of sitting in a vast hall covered mainly in red velvet, the visual spectacle of the sets, the professional excellence of the orchestra and chorus (and occasionally dancers), still makes each performance (regardless of the opera itself) a special New York evening.
    Read More
  • February

    Headmaster's Thoughts: February 2023

    Welcome to February. As a second child, until now I never thought of myself as a “Spare”. Of course, I am not the son of a King either. I married a second child and have no idea, or much interest, if this is a sociological factor or just chance. Currently, I have noticed a tendency to find deep psychological reasons for simpler issues. 
    Read More
  • January

    Headmaster's Thoughts: January 2023

    This being the beginning of a New Year, let me wish all of our readers a very joyous 2023. After 18 years of writing these monthly thoughts, I proposed to Jeremy Clarke, with who I share an office and, indeed, running the school, that I delegate to him the writing of this month’s thoughts. He agreed, so here they are:
    I am grateful to Mr. Stewart for offering me the baton this month, and especially to do so at the beginning of the New Year. School days between September and December are always the most intense, in my view. These are our two shortest quarters, during which the weather becomes frigid, seniors anxiously await responses from their Early Decision schools, and we squeeze in Field Day, Halloween, International Dinner, two Wellness Days, the fall play, and Midterms among much else. I am sure the students join the teachers in welcoming this holiday break. We look ahead now to a semester with a little more room to breathe. To me, January to June always feels a little like climbing down the other side of the mountain.
    Read More
< 2023