Head of Lower School
A native of North Carolina, Adam graduated from Appalachian State University with a BS in Environmental Biology and Ecology and earned a master’s degree in teaching from Brown University. Adam previously taught at Aspen Elementary, Carolina Friends School (Durham, North Carolina) and The Wheeler School (Providence, Rhode Island). He has also worked as education director at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES). Father of three children, Adam joined Aspen Country Day School in 2015 as a Fifth Grade teacher and was named Lower School Head in 2020.
What’s in your starter pack?
Coffee, my bike, and my family.
What haven’t you done yet that you want to do?
I am interested as a father in seeing my own children grow up. I look forward to being there for some of those big milestones: graduating from high school, going to college, finding someone with whom they’d like to continue the next phase of their life. Being a parent is powerful, it’s a bucketful of emotions.
What was cool when you were younger that you wish would come back in style?
Why is playing outdoors important?
I recently read a book called Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear. It details how the mindset of parents has really shifted. When I was a boy, we played outside from dawn to dusk, without cellphones or major worries. This play wasn’t an “activity,” it was just what we did. My friends and I mucked about. We got scratches, we got poison ivy and ticks, we built dams, we learned by doing. This unstructured time in nature was a formative presence in my childhood and guides my actions as an adult. Today’s youth face some major ecological challenges they’ve inherited. Adults must create opportunities for children to develop a comfort in nature. According to Jacques Cousteau, “We protect what we love, and we love what we know.” Children of 2021 need to know nature. That’s on us.
How do you work to connect children with nature?
Kids need positive role models in all facets of their life. Educators play an essential role. We’re unique at Aspen Country Day School in that we have many faculty and staff who have the skill set to ski in the backcountry, to build snow caves, to repair a bike trailside, and lead multi-night backpacking trips. These teachers readily share these passions with our students. This link between the natural world and the classroom is intentional and authentic at ACDS. My hope is that an ACDS graduate has a foundation in ecological literacy and a comfort level in the outdoors which inextricably connects them to nature.
Besides this, what has been your most interesting job?
During summers in college I was a counselor at an all-boys summer camp called Falling Creek. Adventuring in the mountains of North Carolina, I led multi-night mountain bike trips and launched a fly fishing program which thrives to this day.
Thanks to Student Interviewers
Duncan S. and Shelby G. (ACDS graduates of 2020)