January 30, 2004

It's the Little Things

Today was a "keep up with the little things" kind of day. Sent an updated copy of my resume to BG, and a thank you note and "Shelley resource packet" to UR. RH sent me a posting about a job opening -- not sure yet if I'm interested -- and a great piece of constructive criticism about my resume. And I'm starting to work on a master letter to heads of school... in my head. Actual words on paper coming soon!

January 28, 2004

Out of the Blue

I got a call today from BD at TCNJ, who I haven't spoken with since he was promoted. Seems that their Program Assistant of nine months got the job of her dreams and is outta there come next Wednesday. TP -- bless his heart! -- recommended that BD talk with me about the possibility of doing some "stop gap" fill in just for the rest of this academic year; they'll try to fill the position for real in September. BD said that the position is one that they frankly would not expect me to be interested in long-term (it's an entry-level professional position), but they're interested in at least exploring whether it might be a good fit in a kind of part-time, interim way, just so they don't have to let everything go totally fallow for the rest of the year. He sounded quite excited about the possibility, so of course I said I'd look into it and see what I could do. The first concern being childcare coverage. The second being whether I might be able to do a portion of the work for from home. This could be interesting...

January 27, 2004

Damn the Ice, Full Speed Ahead!

Went ahead with a planned meeting with UR today, despite dire weather predictions for the late morning. We talked about the rewards of counseling and the challenges that some parents represent. Also talked about the possible "transferability" of skills from a college-admissions to secondary admissions environment. He mentioned development as an area worth considering, and also wondered about the possibility of a good "fit" with one of the Quaker schools; I hadn't even remembered that Newtown Friends (K-8) existed! He also liked my idea of sending a letter to schools as well as applying to be listed with Carney Sandoe, so it looks like that's my next task. On the way home, my windshield wipers could barely keep up with the sleet; I got out of there just in time!

January 25, 2004

Actually, No, I Wasn't Ready

Worked on my Carney, Sandoe, + Associates (CS+A at left) application today, wanting to get it to an "almost finished" state before working on my letters to local schools. Then, when I carefully hit "logout" on the last page (the one which prompts you to upload your resume, among other things), I got a disconcerting, "Congratulations, you have completed your application" message from them. Ummm.... well, not exactly. Sent them an email to say "What's up with that?" Hope to hear back soon.

January 23, 2004

Snailmail A-Gogo

Sent off thank-you notes to RW and RH this morning, including in one case a resume AND "the rest of the story" type promo, just the less formal stuff in the other. Then I put together a packet for GS of background, memory-jarring info on my teaching work and mailed that off, too. Meanwhile, ML has asked NB to reach out to her husband, who works at Pennington... I want to get as many informational interviews in as I can before I feel I have to register for the search firms used by the private schools. Busy busy busy.

January 22, 2004

Mission Statement

Met with ND today for almost two hours to work -- in concert with some other folks -- on the PFS mission statement. I was nervous about it going in (every communication with her takes on a heightened importance now that I know that OM is leaving at the end of the year), but I think it went fine. I have no idea what the salaries at PFS look like, despite my work on the board. Still, it's good to be thinking about it even in a "pie in the sky" kind of way, and ND is interested in getting together for dinner at some point, which could be really fun. "We live in Yardley," she reminded me. "Terri and I lived in separate states for four years!" I reminded her.

January 21, 2004

Tea for Two

RH came over for tea and conversation this afternoon. Mr. D was asleep, but we ran into her at the chapel while attending a drum concert last week, so I didn't feel as bad about them not getting any time together. I mostly wanted to talk with her because last year she made a huge leap of faith, resigning from her long-time job at Princeton University without having anything firm in place. She's landed on her feet (not surprisingly), and I had this feeling that it would be good for me to just soak up some of that courage. It was. Plus she's a great listener, and got me talking about what my hopes are and how I think we all might weather the transition. She said that at her current school , the folks in the admissions office seem often to be the spouses of teachers, that they bring people in as a package deal. But that she'd talk to the head and see what she could glean the next time they meet. Every time I talk to RH for an extended period of time I am reminded of what a gift careful listening really is.

January 20, 2004

Dipping A Toe In

Had a productive meeting this morning with RW, who works at one of the local private schools and who started out in college admissions. He said that making the transition to the smaller environment had been very smooth for him, that these schools are great communities to be a part of. Did mention that in the case of boarding schools (e.g. Hun, Pennington, L'ville) the expectations in terms of hours and presence on campus (often including living on the campus) might present a challenge, given our situation of my needing to be the primary "at home" parent during the winter reading months. RW mentioned the same search firms that GS & PS had, with the additional note that it can be a cost savings to the school if the candidate sends a resume directly to the school FIRST (thereby allowing the school to avoid covering the finder's fee -- typically 10-12% of the first year's salary -- that the search firms charge). Princeton is a small town with lots of bright, energetic people; it will be a challenge to get to the decision-makers who DON'T know me and somehow stand out in their minds so that when something opens up, I'm one of the people they think of.

January 18, 2004

Just What I Wanted to Hear

I made some real progress this weekend in the quest for references. I connected with GS, mostly because I thought she'd be able to help me connect with RQ, who has retired from Germantown Friends since I was there. She was able to give me RQ's contact information, but, in a surprise move, she also reminded me that she'd seen me teach, and spontaneously offered to write a letter for me herself! Once she reminded me, I remembered that she had observed my class (of course at the time I was focused on the students), and as the head of the department she had some great advice about how to approach a private school search. Boosted by this turn of events, I gave BG a call, and easily enlisted his help as well. I know MM is already on board, so now I'm pretty much set. Need to put together some resource sheets for these folks, figure out a timeline, and put them to work.

January 15, 2004

The Time Is Now

Took advantage of today's snowday to talk a bit with PS about her experiences with her search for a position with an independent school. Learned that many of the schools routinely engage search firms, and that actual letters of reference (as opposed to mere contact info for folks who are willing to act as references) are sometimes required. I need to get cracking on lining up some folks who would be willing to write for me. Also found out that many private schools ask their teachers and staff to give the leadership a "heads up" in January or February if they're anticipating leaving, so I need to be reaching out to the local schools pronto.

January 13, 2004

Crunch, crunch, crunch...

One thing that has definitely changed during my time away from waged work is my perspective on our family's budget. When I was still working for wages, I had a pretty good idea of what our monthly income and expenses were, but now I REALLY know. Something about watching the dedicated "stay at home with Mr. D" savings account dwindle down over these last two years made it all seem so much more real. Today I spent some time sitting down with old paystubs and current expense reports, trying to figure out how much money we need me to be bringing in, as distinguished from how much money we would LIKE me to be bringing in. It was an interesting excercise, and at least now I have some ballpark ideas. Although of course roughly 30% of the value of a typical compensation package is derived through benefits. Which are looking a little more important, now that Gov. McGreevey has signed S2820 into law.

January 11, 2004


Had a meeting with my first private college search client of the year this afternoon, and I think it went well. There were a few points at which the mom in question had to ask me to re-clarify something I'd said, which I think was mostly a reflection of my tendency to unwittingly slip into admissions-speak. Have to work on that. Still, it feels good to keep my hand in a bit (I'm doing some alumni interviews for Brown as well), and good to be reminded of the body of knowledge all those years of work helped to build.