Vitals: Alan Gibby, 60, was recently named as the new head of school for Keith Country Day School in Rockford. Before joining Keith School, Gibby was the headmaster at Burlington Day School, and has 38 years of experience in education. Gibby is from Hillside, N.J., and graduated from high school at the Pingry School in Martinsville, N.J. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, and completed his master’s in education at Martinsville University.
1. If you could choose any elected official – local, state or national – to speak with one-on-one, who would it be, and what would you say? I would like to speak to all local and state officials who value education so that I could press the importance of Keith Country Day School and independent schools in their respective communities. Keith Country Day School alumni become college graduates, community leaders, and responsible citizens with the help of the education they’ve received. Because of its smaller size, a school like Keith can offer its students a myriad of opportunities to develop self-awareness and independence through academic involvement, athletics, the arts, and leadership responsibilities. One does not have to be a “star” in order to develop his/her talents at Keith. Our school has a vital role to play in the community, and I would want all of our community and state leaders to recognize that.
2. While you were deciding to take the position of head of school at Keith Country Day School, what three things interested you the most about the Rock River Valley? It was clear to me that there was a lot of pride that the people who lived in the Rock River Valley had in their community. The friendliness of the people, the vast array of arts activities, the expansive parks system, and the proximity to Chicago were all appealing to my wife and I as we contemplated this move.
3. How do you plan on improving upon the success already experienced by Keith School? A school exists to serve its community. I would hope to be able to develop programs that serve the needs not already being addressed at Keith or in the community. For example, a leadership conference could be planned to assist middle or upper school students to develop skills to guide them through various roles at school. In addition, Keith Country Day School has a responsibility to provide a global education. Technology is a key component of that future, and I want to ensure that we are continuing to make progress in that area.
4. What things can parents do at home to ensure their children are getting the most out of their education? I think the most important thing that parents can do is to recognize their child’s interests and talents and encourage them. In addition, parents are the best role models for their children, therefore, need to model lifelong learning. They can do this by having dinner together every night and discussing current events, talking about books they are reading, or sharing experiences from the day. Too many families find it difficult to sit down at the dinner table together and do not make it a priority. Plant a garden with your child; lie on your backs and look at the stars; go to museums, attend concerts, plays, and recitals, and have fun with your child.
5. Question from last week’s “This Week in The Times” participant Daniel McCaslin: What charitable organizations do you lend your support to? I am supportive of our church, United Way, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, the arts, and various health organizations.
“This week in The Times” is a weekly survey of people selected by The Rock River Times staff. The column does not accept unsolicited submissions.
from the August 5 – 11, 2009 issue