LAKE PLACID - The 2014-15 school year will be a historic one for Northwood School, a co-ed college preparatory school serving boarding and day students in grades 9-12.
This will be the first full year for the school's new academic buildings - the Uihlein Academic Center - and for new Board of Trustees Chairman Tom Woodman, publisher of the Adirondack Explorer magazine. Northwood will also be facing accreditation renewal by the New York State Association of Independent Schools in October, the drafting and adoption of a new strategic plan and the hiring of a new head of school.
Head of School Ed Good was appointed in 1997 and will retire on June 30, 2015.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)
"I'm always invigorated by the start of the new school year," Good said Sept. 2 after giving his final faculty orientation in the library, "but I'm also challenged by the change, knowing that I'm doing some things in this capacity for the final time. It's a little bit strange."
The search committee and Board of Trustees are in the final stages of hiring a new head of school. An offer has been made, and an announcement is expected to be made within a month, Good said. In all, a pool of 80 candidates was whittled down to 30 and 16. Eight were interviewed, and three finalists visited the campus in the summer.
Good is most proud of Northwood's new World Link Classroom, designed to help international students learn English and get into college.
"It allows Northwood School to become a TOEFL (test of English as a foreign language) testing center," Good said. "It allows international students to prepare for the test and take the test here rather than Clarkson (University). Not that we have anything against Clarkson, but it's an hour and 45 minutes away."
Northwood has a considerable number of international students, between 20 and 30 during a school year, and a passing grade on the TOEFL test is required if they want to attend a university in the U.S. Students have been practicing traveling to Clarkson in Potsdam for years to practice and take the TOEFL test. Thanks to a $50,000 Edward E. Ford Foundation grant, and a matching grant by Northwood parents, it can all be done in the new World Link Classroom, which includes custom-built oak Harkness tables fitted with 20 self-contained computer modules hooked up to a wireless Internet connection.
"There's nothing like it in the North Country," Good said about the custom-made table. "That will be the center of our English as a second language program."
In the personnel department, Northwood has hired internationally renowned instructor Jean-Pierre Daigneault as the new alpine ski program director and Northwood alum Katie Haggerty to be his assistant.
"It's a period of transition but stability at the same time, and we're excited about that," Good said.
Enrollment this year is down slightly at 170 compared to previous years: 2013-14 - 173; 2012-13 - 173; 2011-12 - 182; 2010-11 -180; and 2009-10 - 175.
For more information about Northwood School, visit the school's website at northwoodschool.com.