There are certain birthdays that are a little more special than others, and this year is one of those for Forsyth School as it celebrates 60 years of educational excellence. Since 1961, the independent elementary school has been dedicated to providing children with an engaging and challenging educational experience that encourages confidence, courage and resilience. However, the school isn’t marking the milestone by simply dwelling on its history. It’s also starting an exciting new chapter with the appointment of Robert Butler as head of school.
While Butler comes to Forsyth from his most recent position at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, he has previous experience working in St. Louis private schools. While working in the admissions department for an independent secondary school, he was first introduced to Forsyth through its graduates. “The students I got to interview had all of the tools necessary to be successful, and that stood out in the admissions process,” he says. “They also weren’t an homogenous group. They all had unique passions and interests but notably shared a sense of self awareness and were willing to advocate for themselves.”
Being familiar with the caliber of students at Forsyth, Butler was excited to visit the campus when he was being considered for the head of school position. Touring the classrooms, he saw that teachers and staff were dedicated to creating an environment where students could feel safe and secure. He knew it was an educational community he wanted to be a part of. “The feel of the campus was so unique; it blew me away,” he says. “Starting from a place of comfort and security allows children to push and challenge themselves. It’s the key to unlocking everything that comes after, and Forsyth understands that.”
Forsyth’s anniversary offers the school a unique opportunity to reflect upon what has made it successful while also looking ahead to its future. “I’m really excited to be in a place where there not only has been so much good work done, but there’s also a strategic vision for what learning and teaching should look like in the 21st century,” Butler says. “So much wonderful history has been established, and I’m looking forward to taking that work and elevating it to another level.”
To help Forsyth grow, Butler has plans to support the school’s mission, vision and values. One area he’s looking forward to focusing on is the diversity and equitability of the community and culture. “At Forsyth, we go beyond just buzzwords,” he notes. “It’s meaningful work that helps prepare students for secondary school and beyond. They have the mindset to celebrate diversity and inclusivity, and we want them to understand that it is both our differences and our similarities that make us stronger together.”
Butler is excited to build upon the legacy Forsyth has established in its six decades of experience. “Mary Dunbar founded Forsyth with the principle that every child should be known and nurtured,” Butler says. “That’s a strong point of connection for us. We’re looking at what it means 60 year later, and we want to find out what it looks like going forward for the next 60.”
Celebrating its 60th anniversary, Forsyth School is an independent elementary school in the city of St. Louis that serves students age 2 through grade six. Pictured on the cover: Forsyth School students, faculty and staff. For more information, call 314.726.4542 or visit forsythschool.org.
Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo courtesy of Utopia Entertainment St. Louis
Pictured a top: Head of school Robert Butler with Freddy Falcon and grade five students
Photo courtesy of Forsyth School