Dear Wellsprings Community,

As I prepare to step down from my role as Head of School on June 30th, I am filled with a great many emotions. Most of all, I am grateful to all the people—students, parents and guardians, teachers, staff, trustees, donors, and other friends of the school—who have enriched my life. To all of you, I put my hand on my heart in thankfulness.

I am sad at leaving this very special school. It has been hard to come to work each day since mid-March to an empty building. No student voices, their energy—gone, their seriousness, their silliness—all gone. No teachers, no classes. No lunch table conversations. No chance to say an in-person goodbye to the folks who are the reason this school exists, and the reason I have always wanted to be here. Yet, I feel pride in the fact that those students and their teachers have carried the Wellsprings spirit forward despite the restrictions and challenges of “distance learning”! They adapted to the current circumstances and have managed not only to keep learning going but also to keep up the personal communication, the sharing, the relationships that are so much the heart of this school. Knowing that, makes me so happy.

So, I feel sadness, yes, but so much joy! My head and my heart are filled with memories of all the good things I have seen take place over these two decades. In the faces and hearts of the young people who have passed through here, the profound changes Wellsprings has made in their lives has clearly radiated out, and those images will remain with me always. 

I leave knowing that Wellsprings is, and will continue to be, this uniquely wonderful and effective program to help teens navigate adolescence. I am glad that the current teachers and staff members will still be here in the fall. Plus, as we look to next year and the future of Wellsprings beyond that, I am very happy and excited to be “passing the baton” to our new Head of School, Dante Zúñiga-West! 

When he taught here part-time a decade ago, I was impressed with Dante’s skill as a teacher and appreciated his energy, enthusiasm, and sensitivity. Dante’s familiarity with the school is a huge asset he brings, along with his many skills and breadth of experience. As you get to know him, I am confident that you will agree that the Board of Trustees selected the right person to lead Wellsprings in the years ahead.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of this journey with me. A new phase of life is beginning. I can’t wait to see what it brings for me. And for the school I love.


Dennis Hoerner