Important News Concerning My Health

February 1, 2022

Dear Friends,

I’m writing with some important personal health news that impacts the Academy community.

I’ve been managing a variety of concerning and worsening symptoms for many months, and several weeks ago I was able to get conclusive answers. An MRI has revealed a large (almost certainly benign) brain tumor that is causing significant problems with my facial, hearing, and balance nerves, and that has grown to such a size that requires major surgery in the weeks ahead.

My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, February 15. I’ll be in the hospital for about a week, and in recovery for about six weeks afterwards. While the risk of life-threatening complications is very low, I have been counseled to expect a difficult recovery, including permanent hearing loss in my right ear, physical therapy, and facial and balance problems for up to a year. Sadly, I will be on leave from The Academy from February 12 through (barring unforeseen complications) April 10.

During this time, I am thrilled that Audrey Perrott will serve as The Academy’s Acting Head of School. Audrey is the Head of School Emeritus at Near North Montessori School, where she served in a variety of capacities for three decades before “retiring” last spring. (Fun fact: The Academy replaced NNMS as the tenant at 1010 W. Chicago in 1992.)

Audrey is a legend in the Chicago independent school world and a dear personal friend, and I have tremendous faith in her experience, expertise, and desire to support our community during this time. Further, I have absolute confidence in the leadership, expertise, and spirit of our board, administration, faculty, and staff. Between them and Audrey, our community is in great hands.

Please know that I am in a very good place emotionally. I am filled with gratitude for my incredible good fortune, which is highlighted in a very poignant way by a diagnosis like this, and I am entering this situation embracing the idea that “the path is the teacher” (or, sometimes: “the obstacle is the way”). My spirits are high, and I’m looking forward to finding humor and good stories in this wherever possible. Plus, I’ve been promised a very serious-looking scar.

Thank you for your support and goodwill in the weeks ahead. While I’m away from school, I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on Facebook or Instagram, text me, or email me through Evan Pazkowski, our Acting Director of Development and our official alumni liaison.

With much love for you all,



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