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Annual Report

Dear McGillis Community,


What a year it has been. The demands of COVID have consumed our total attention and energy.


Despite this, we advanced important work institutionally, while paying attention to the most important aspect of last year - the health and safety of our community. Those efforts proved successful and allowed our students the opportunity to be together in learning. It was not a perfect journey, but we all realized that we could navigate the most unprecedented circumstances when we work together on a shared goal, which centered on keeping school open and keeping our students learning in-person.


We are immensely proud of our McGillis community. What a fortune we share to have such amazing health experts in our community. Their good and kind deeds include serving on our task force for a few, and the whole community of health care workers at McGillis serving on the frontlines of this pandemic working so hard to bring it to an end. 


Our heroic teachers, who didn’t know what to expect in August 2020, recreated ways in which they had to engage students, simultaneously at home and in the classroom. Their creativity, collaboration, and care pulled them through this challenge together. There wasn’t anything they would not do or try in the name of educating our students and keeping our Kehilah intact. 


The resilience of our students was admirable. They arrived at the start of the school year with wonder, some worry, and yet adapted brilliantly to the new ways of engaging in learning, with new rules and expectations to ensure a healthy school. They showed such compassion, care, and support of their peers when it was needed most. 


Finally, we could not have achieved what was accomplished last year without the support of our families. Their understanding of what was needed to commit to this abnormal school year, and willingness to do whatever needed to keep our students, faculty, and staff together in school and learning. Uplifting notes, special surprises, adherence to our community commitment, and finding alternative ways to connect with one another demonstrated how our families live our values as well. 


Though we recognize we’re still living in this pandemic, we are moving from crisis to celebration and recognizing the milestone of our 30 year anniversary. McGillis has made many bold and exciting moves in its storied past. Today we are filled with learned lessons and creative solutions to guide the healthy disruptors for the post-pandemic world of education. The cool, calm, collected, and proud McGillis community is ready to forge into the next decade equipped to handle the unknown challenges. We are stronger due to what we’ve lived last year, and ignited by the ideas, innovations, and inspiration for what the next 30 years will bring. 


Over the past year, our Board of Trustees has engaged virtually in many sprints, workshops, and board sessions with design thinking protocols and other generative exercises to consider what schools need in a post-COVID world. Our Board continues to ideate our future with practical attention towards our strategic priorities of ensuring good financial health and sustainability, fostering innovative teaching and learning, and supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives. This includes ongoing studies of our peer schools to ensure we are on the leading edge of independent school innovation and best serving our community. Our McGillis Board wishes to engage with all of you in celebration of our 30 years, and hear from our families past and present about our School’s values in action, and what our families value at McGillis. Thirty years is a moment to look back on the amazing accomplishments of McGillis and aspire to continued greatness in our future. 


This annual report will tell stories and demonstrate school survival in a pandemic, resilience from our Kehilah on all fronts, and inspiration from voices of our past, present, and future. None of what we experience today in our McGillis community would be possible without the Tzedakah all of you practice. We are truly grateful for the giving this community practices and receives, as we work together to create individuals committed and able to repair the world. 


With gratitude,


Jim Brewer

Head of School

Parent of Finn '21
& Lucy '23

Matt Haber


Parent of Isaac '21


Ellen Rossi


Parent of Aksel '24
& Kai '28

Every gift makes a difference! 


We give to support the incredible staff and unique programs. We give to help put McGillis within reach for more families. We give to ensure McGillis thrives long after our children graduate. Thank you McGillis.”

Amanda and Ryan Krejci, parents of Ronan ’26 and Dax ‘29