A Boarding School (Literally) on the Move: A Q&A with The MacDuffie School’s New Head

The MacDuffie School's New CampusContinuing our coverage of International EC’s efforts to start a new boarding school in Granby, MA and their recent acquisition of The MacDuffie School‘s operations,  we had the opportunity to exchange e-mail with Brian Chatterley of International EC, who will serve as Head of the merged/ongoing MacDuffie School.

Brian shared his thoughts on union of the two organizations, the ‘new’ MacDuffie’s potential, as well as the thinking behind starting a new school in today’s market.

We’ve known Brian for long time, through positions at several schools, St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, and Wilbraham & Monson Academy.  Brian’s had great success at all of his boarding school stops.

As you’ll read in the interview, he articulates a clear vision of the strengths that will make MacDuffie a strong member of the boarding school world.  We wish great things for Brian and the MacDuffie School family.

Brian Fisher (BF): When we last wrote about you, International EC was moving ahead with preparing the campus and opening Granby Prep; how did the acquisition of MacDuffie come about?

Brian Chatterly (BC): After news appeared in the local Granby and Springfield newspapers concerning International EC’s presentation to the Granby Public School Committee and the Granby Town Committee, the company was contacted by a MacDuffie School representative to discuss a joint project. We held several meetings and discovered that the best solution for both sides was a potential sale of the MacDuffie School and relocation to the new and beautiful campus in Granby, MA. The 120 years of tradition at the MacDuffie School combined with the location and opportunities at the Granby campus made the partnership ideal for all involved.

BF: This combination of operations must offer some strong opportunities for both MacDuffie and International EC?

BC: International EC benefits from the experience and legacy that the MacDuffie School will continue, and at its new location, the school will have the opportunity for:

  • Larger classrooms
  • New teaching technology (wireless internet campus wide and smart boards)
  • Several sports fields
  • Updated fitness equipment, including a weight room and regulation size gymnasium
  • Access to resources at the nearby Five Colleges
  • Large student center
  • State-of-the-art security system
  • Expansion of ESL program allowing for a more diverse student body
  • Room to grow

BF: What will be strengths of the ‘new MacDuffie?’ What will set the ‘new MacDuffie’ apart in the boarding school world?

BC: Known as “the International School,” the MacDuffie School’s commitment to international students translates into a global experience for visiting and American students alike, with deep and relevant learning opportunities from the classroom to the athletic fields, the dormitory to the community. The school brings together 21st century leadership development methods, such as an outdoor adventure program, with technology-enhanced classroom experiences that ensure rigorous academic standards.

Additionally, the proximity of the campus to the outdoors and to the cultural and academic strengths of the 5 College Consortium lend itself well to weekend programs and everyday learning.

BF: How will International EC’s mission and vision dovetail with MacDuffie’s history and mission?…What can families expect of the ‘new MacDuffie?”

BC: The mission of The MacDuffie School is and will remain as follows:

The MacDuffie School is a rigorous college preparatory school whose mission is to foster in all students the intellectual habits of mind, high ethical standards and respect for diversity required for becoming effective individuals in their personal and work lives and moral and responsible participants in the world beyond.

The goal of International EC is to enable the MacDuffie community to continue its diverse and demanding curriculum in facilities better equipped to teach the students in an interactive and supportive environment.

Families can expect the same traditions found on the Springfield campus as well as an expanded curriculum, and more athletic, social, and academic opportunities for their students.

BF: You were working on a completely new school- Granby Prep before acquiring MacDuffie. In terms of the larger market, what window, or opportunity, do you see? Why a new school now?

BC: Due to the international demand for boarding schools and a dearth of local independent schools, we see an opportunity to bring both international and local groups to campus to share cultural and environmental differences for a unique boarding and day school experience.

We have a unique opportunity to create a program for International Students that will effectively support their English language studies and introduce them to American culture. Our ability to develop a program from scratch enables us to build a program that provides students with a world-class education that can adapt appropriately to the differences in culture and experience that a diverse student body would bring to the campus.

Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

More by Brian Fisher

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