Head of School Rich Schellhas was inducted into the Class of 1760 during the Class of 2020's graduation ceremony on Friday, July 17, 2020.
Will Weihenmayer '03, President, Alumni Society Board:
On behalf of the Alumni Society Board, I want to congratulate the Class of 2020 and welcome you into the alumni community. You may feel like you’re finishing your GA career today, but I would encourage you to stay connected. Stay connected with your classmates, the faculty and fellow alums. Come back to GA/PC day, attend the alumni events, or join one of the many CSO alumni groups around the country. You have so many opportunities to take advantage of as a GA alum and the school community is here to support you.
I am here today to introduce and welcome four new classmates into the honorary alumni Class of 1760, created to recognize non-alumni for their outstanding contributions to the Academy. Numerous nominations are received and closely reviewed each year by the Alumni Society Board before deciding on the year’s inductees.
Given the changes to this year’s graduation limiting the attendance of faculty, a small group of us had the pleasure of surprising each inductee over the past week so they could celebrate with their friends and family in attendance...
...Our final inductee came to GA in 2009 and ever since he stepped foot on campus, he has been GA’s biggest fan. He is ‘All In’ 24/7. You can find him visiting classes, cheering at sporting events, attending Belfry productions and traveling abroad with groups of students. But behind the scenes he has been the driving force to move the school forward. As one parent said, “He is an inspiring leader who has moved GA into the 21st century while honoring GA’s history and traditions."
As he began his GA career, he found himself orchestrating and leading the move of BOTH the Middle and Upper Schools to ‘Patriot Village’, followed in short order with relocating everyone back into the new building and making it their new home. He embodied the positivity the community needed to get through and make the most of that transition, and he worked hard to make sure the seniors had a special year. It’s an understatement to say he has possessed those same attributes this past semester.
After the move, one of his earliest endeavors was a partnership with Stanford and the Challenge Success program, which evolved into the Challenge GA Program. This brought about the creation of several programs and initiatives including:
- A focus to study and understand the programming needed to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of GA students and families.
- The creation of the One School Team to better connect all three divisions.
- And Implementing Design Thinking to all three division curricula
From there, it was a focus to build on the curriculum by delivering the best experiences and opportunities for learning. His passion and vision have helped develop programming and facilities for several inspiring areas around campus, including the Beard Center for Innovation, The Lower School Tinker Lab and The A to Z Lower School Library and Learning Commons. He has created several opportunities for students to travel and have experiences outside of the classroom as well, including the recently created GA Experience (GAXP) program and exchange programs with schools in China, London, Poland, and France.
His mission has always been clear and simple. It is to continually move the school forward with the respect and inclusivity of the entire community. He was the driving force behind the updated mission statement and the creation of the Civility Pledge. He leads by example by living these values every day. He is the source of GA’s energy and he empowers students and faculty to continually achieve and be their best.
Finally, these words would not be complete if I didn’t thank him for sharing his love and passion for his German heritage, creating new traditions and putting the German back into Germantown Academy.
On behalf of the Alumni Society Board and the entire Alumni community we want you to know how grateful we are for your leadership, especially for how you have stewarded the school over the past several months.
Please join me in welcoming Rich Schellhas into the Class of 1760.
Other 1760 Inductees: