One Final Note to Say Goodbye

It’s never easy to say goodbye. And to some extent, I have dreaded crafting my last Notes from The Middle at Trinity Valley School. But here goes…

One aspect of Trinity Valley School that I have treasured is the guiding principle that each individual matters. We respect each person’s individuality, and this makes our community stronger.

There is a story that I like to share with our students that reflects this belief. It goes like this:

An old man walked down to the beach early one morning, as was his habit. There had been a terrible storm the night before with howling winds, pounding rain, and ferocious waves. When the man arrived at the beach, he saw that it was littered with driftwood, seaweed . . . and thousands of starfish washed up on the sand.

The sun was beginning to rise and the man knew that the starfish would soon bake in the heat of the day. With a heavy heart, he turned around to walk back home.
However, something caught his eye down near the water. It was a girl, perhaps 12 or 13. She was picking up starfish one by one and flinging them back into the ocean. He watched as she bent down time and time again to gather and toss these dying creatures.

“You there,” he called to her. “Don’t you know that your efforts are pointless? You won’t get to even a fraction of these starfish before the sun kills them. So why bother? What does it matter?”

The young woman looked up at him and smiled. She held out a starfish and called back, “It matters to this one.” And with that, she tossed it into the safety of the ocean.

In the seven years that I have served as Head of Middle School at TVS, there have been a lot of “starfish moments” where students, faculty, and parents have made the key difference in the life of another individual. As many of you know, next year I will return “home” to Boston where I will serve as Head of Middle School at my alma mater, The Rivers School. Leaving Texas is bittersweet because for the last seven years, Trinity Valley School has felt like home. My children were born in the hospital across the street and took some of their first steps in the middle school courtyard. The faculty here is second to none, and watching their care and ingenuity each day has been a privilege. As I told the children in the assembly last week, “Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives.”

photo credit: OrangeCounty_Girl Dancing with the Starfish. via photopin (license)


  • Alice Pritchard

    Thank you, Dr. Kris for the expertise, wisdom, and leadership that you have shared with us! Best of luck to you in Boston. I’m certain that you will do great things at your alma mater!

  • Mike,
    Thank you for everything you have done for my sons the last few years and the Trinity Valley community as a whole. You will certainly be missed. Best wishes to you and your family as you begin this next chapter.

  • Kristin Anderson

    Thank you so much, Dr. Kris, for the passion and leadership you shared at TVS! Congratulations on your return “home”, and best wishes for continued amazing opportunities and adventures for all of your family!

  • Thank you for your years of service at TVS. Best wishes to you and your lovely family and your next adventure in Boston.

  • Thank you, Dr. Kris, for all you have done for TVS and for the middle school. We appreciate your accessibility and leadership. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in your speeches and your Notes from the Middle, as my family and I always enjoy and feel warmed by your themes and anecdotes, which remind us to be helpful, thoughtful, impactful, and empathic people.

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