Head of School

Suzanna Jemsby


Suzanna Jemsby has been the Head of School for the Galloway School in Atlanta, Georgia since July 2012. Since her arrival, Galloway has thrived in every way. The school is at full enrollment with a long waiting list, annual giving is at an all time high, and there is an excitement about the bold new strategic direction embodied in the school's unique instructional delivery model called 4D Learning. Click here to read more.

 

Behave yourself, try, and wear shoes?

We have three simple rules here at Galloway - the first two certainly make for a purposeful learning environment; the third has interesting history. When the school first opened, the campus was still pretty much a construction site. The first Galloway families recall community initiatives to improve the campus - painting, hammering, moving furniture. Students were asked to wear shoes for their safety.

On a recent visit of schools in Sweden, shoes are nowhere to be found in classrooms. Upon arrival at school, students leave all their outerwear in cloakrooms - jackets, rainwear, wellington boots and shoes. They then pad their way into class in socks. The classrooms are extraordinarily clean, as you might expect (perhaps this behaviour grew out of Sweden's winter climate?). What was also interesting to note, aside from the cleanliness is the light-footedness of the students. It seems that students have learned to navigate their surroundings very adroitly. They have learned that standing on a toy will hurt, that stubbing your toe on a table could result in pain... What results is students who see classrooms as an extension of their homes - somewhere they are comfortable and very familiar with their surroundings. The physical structure of Swedish schools accommodates this behaviour beautifully. Cloakrooms are expansive, shoe racks are ubiquitous. Interestingly, there is no shoe smell that you might dread, even in the middle school cloakrooms!

So... is this something for our learning environments? Anyone want to leave their shoes at the door?
Posted by sjemsby on Wednesday October, 5, 2016 at 11:15AM
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Suzanna Jemsby
Head of School
sjemsby@gallowayschool.org

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