Introducing Island School's Interim Head of School, Vince Durnan

Vince Durnan
Island School Families,

Welcome to a new school year, and thanks for making time to read this message. Word has it that I’ll be sending one of these out weekly, and my commitment is to come up with something worth your time. Truth be told, it has been a habit to write like this for a long while, and especially so during the challenges of the past few years. There has been a whole lot to communicate and a real need to work together.

So now what? Let me start by saying that after preparing for many dozens of first days at school in other time zones, this one stands alone for me. Being at Island School, even in an interim head capacity, has been a wonderful gift for me. Meeting colleagues, learning routines, and soaking up the culture has been amazing already. You could look for a long, long time and not find a community like this one. My commitment is to do whatever will put Island School on the best footing to be ready for the opportunities of the next chapter here, and that means diving right in without acting like I understand more than I do.
That’s where you come in. Here’s my request that you choose to be a part of things too—maybe more than ever before. Make time to come by to school me up over coffee, to volunteer to help out around here when the calls come out, to come see events even when they might not directly include your own kids. After two years of wondering if we will ever be able to be back together like we used to, this year holds the potential for all that to be possible.

Meanwhile, the fact is that Covid is not yet in the rearview mirror. We have a couple active cases right now in the faculty and staff group, and no doubt some of your families are dealing with this especially contagious variant too. Let’s start by agreeing on two things: first, that what each of us does affects all of us, however much we’d wish that was not the case, and second, that we are clearly moving from pandemic to endemic, with a range of great tools to stay healthy, so learning to live with the fact that some of us will get sick is an imperative.

Which brings us to the question of what Island School will do on the public health front as we start up next week. Following state DOE guidelines, we will be mask optional, as Kaua’i is a medium risk zone. What I’m asking is that we agree to be a judgment-free zone—some of us will be wearing masks indoors and in public spaces, and for very good reason. Others will not choose that route. But we can, and should, all commit to monitoring for symptoms and staying home when we don’t feel well. Really, we gotta, gotta do that, OK?

We’ll be watching the situation closely and will keep you informed as appropriate, and we’ll do everything we can to keep the promise to be open and in person—the stakes are high. Past that, if you have questions, just send them my way. Can’t wait to see us all at full speed when classes resume Monday. Thank you for opening this door for me and for what you’ve done already to help write this school’s story.

Mahalo for the welcome so far,

Vince Durnan