On December 1, Hopkins announced the appointment of its 110th Head of School, Dr. Matt Glendinning.
Glendinning grew up in Waterville, Maine before attending Dartmouth College, where he earned a BA in Classical Archaeology. Glendinning’s interest in the classics and archaeology was sparked by his Latin teacher in high school who “made [Latin] come alive.” He explained, “I wasn’t intending to fall in love with classics, but he made that easy to do.” Once in college, Glendinning’s passion for classical archaeology solidified. He said, “When I went to college, each academic department had an open house the first week of school to introduce you to their curriculum and their professors. I went to the Classics Department and happened to sit down next to a professor who was an Archaeology professor, and he started talking to me about the opportunities [in archaeology].” From this experience, Glendinning decided to enroll in his first class in archaeology, in which he “got a C- on the midterm exam. I’d never seen a C in my entire life.” Glendinning elaborated, “I had to fig- ure out how to study Archaeology. I did well in the class in the end and I realized that I really liked the subject.”
Following his undergraduate education, Glendinning pursued a PhD in Classical Archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Arcadia University. Glendinning has worked at several schools, most recently serving as the Head of School at Moses Brown School. Three of the institutions at which Glendinning has worked are Friends, or Quaker, schools, and Glendinning brings with him to Hopkins the values of a Quaker education, which he sees as “very similar to [Hopkins’] values, in terms of honoring all perspectives in the community, seeking to nurture each student’s inner intellectual and human potential, and operating in a way that is fundamentally fair and equitable.”
While Glendinning cites several important lessons from his years in education, he emphasized the value in “teaching to different learning styles. ... This is becoming more and more apparent the more we know about student brains and how the brain develops. Every child learns differently, so you have to be ready to teach and meet students where they are.... You have to have support staff on hand to help students who do learn differently and also recognize that there’s a significant social and emotional to learning.”
During his tenure at Moses Brown School, Glendinning oversaw curricular changes and the addition of new facilities. “Thirteen years ago, I would have described [Moses Brown] as an excellent school, but a little bit traditional. It was looking for ways to innovate and grow its curriculum. With the help of the people there, we have definitely moved it in the direction of experiential learning,” he said. To this end, Glendinning added a “travel program” to Moses Brown, allowing “400 students a year [to partake in] overnight trips.” He also organized the construction of a “new performing arts center, an engineering and design study...[and] a bunch of athletic facilities.” He added, “We’re building a new elementary school right now.” Glendinning hopes that “some of those experiences could come in handy or useful” at Hopkins.
Glendinning has a wide range of passions beyond the classroom, too. “I am very careful to try to exercise regularly,” he said, “I like soccer very much; I still play even at age 57. I do a lot of swimming. I ski in the winter. When I can, I do a lot of running.” He hopes to bring these interests to Hopkins’s campus, and, in his Assembly address to the student body, quipped that he’d “love to join in some workouts with the swim team, cross country team, soccer team, tennis team ... if you guys will have me and wouldn’t mind a fifty-something-year-old guy out there practicing with you.”
Glendinning also holds an appreciation for the performing arts: “I’m in absolute awe whenever I see musicians and vocalists performing at various concerts at our school.” At Moses Brown, Glendinning oversaw the de- sign and construction of a “gigantic complex that includes 35,000 square feet with a new theater. The whole idea was that this new space is the intimate intellectual, social, and artistic hub of our campus. ... We wanted it to really be the heart and hub of our school, and it put performing arts right at the heart of everything that we’re doing.” Part of Glendinning’s passion for the performing arts can be attributed to his time in his school’s theater program. “I wish I had done more of that, as I look back on my time. You should’ve seen me as Levi in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when I was a senior in high school. It was the highlight of my high-school career. And I say you should have seen me, not heard me, because despite those silly snow day videos that we make from time to time at Moses Brown, I’m not a singer. You don’t want to hear me sing.”
What drew Glendinning to Hopkins was the “people [who] were touring me around” on his initial visit to campus. Glendinning observed how students and faculty “talked about the school with such passion and energy. I thought, alright, these are people that I think I can work with and would want to be around.” As for his aspirations for the school, he says he has “a lot to learn.... I’m very hesitant to have specific ideas at this early stage. I have passions, things I’d like to work on here, but what I would rather do is take my first year and really do a lot of listening and find out what this school most needs and how I can be most helpful."