Interview with Mr. Patrick Finn, Head of School

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Patrick M. Finn as the next Wakefield Country Day School Head of School effective July 1, 2020. Mr. Finn replaces Mrs. Lindstrom who retired June 30, 2020, after eight years in that role.

Mr. Finn has spent his entire career working in independent schools as a teacher, administrator, and coach. We are excited to start on our next school year under his leadership.”

Paul F. Larner, Chairman of the Board

 

 

 

 

 

What is it that attracted you to
education as a career?

I remember heeding the advice of my
parents when I graduated from UVA,
who simply told me to “do something
you love to do”. My favorite adult role
models were my teachers and coaches
and I loved working with kids, so
education was the choice for me. I have
never really have thought of my school
career as “work’, which I guess says it all.
They also taught me to always look for
ways to help people and never to take
myself too seriously.

What are you most excited about
as you start this journey as Head of
School at WCDS?

Joining any community is exciting and
the first year at a new school is like
being a new student, with all the same
feelings new students experience.
While schools are different, they also
have a lot of commonalities. The fun
part is in learning what traditions and
culture makes a school community
truly unique.

For the members of the community
who are just getting to know you, how
would you describe your strengths?

I am a true believer that groups of
people working together is vital to the
health of any school or organization.
My job is to ensure students, parents,
faculty and staff, have the best
experience they can every single day.
I want students to truly enjoy being
at school and to love learning. This
doesn’t exclude working hard, it’s
about reveling in the challenge. I also
feel the ability to laugh at myself is an
important strength, to remember that I
don’t know everything, to listen, and to
admit mistakes.

What is one of the best or most
worthwhile investments you’ve ever
made?

My wife, children, and pets.

What advice would you give to a
smart, driven, college student about
the enter the “real world”? What
advice should they ignore?

I would say take any advice you get
with a grain of salt and use their good
intentions to help you find your own
passion.

What is the book (or books) you’ve
given most as a gift, and why? Or
what are one to three books that have
greatly influenced your life?

I love to read literature, history, historical
biographies and mysteries, and all the
books I have read have influenced my
life. I always have one or two books I am
reading and can’t imagine not reading.
Currently, I am reading a book on Da
Vinci and it is fascinating. His creativity
and love of learning just to learn is
as inspiring as was his desire to think
outside the box. When I give books to
students, I try to find something unique
that fits their personality or interests,
and I always believe a book on Ethics is
appropriate for anyone.

 

In the last five years, what new belief,
behavior or habit has most improved
your life?

Taking the time to appreciate the things
you have in your life is vital and certainly
the pandemic has helped us to renew
that idea. It’s very important to find
the work/rest ratio in your life. I want
students and faculty to work hard but
always have the time to appreciate their
family and friends. No one should be
working 24/7. Re-energizing is essential
for being productive and happy.

What are your pet peeves? What really
annoys you?

Well, when anyone says something
can’t be done that immediately
motivates me to get it done.

WCDS also is known for its policies
of providing merit and need-based
financial aid opportunities, so an
excellent education can be available
to all those who seek it. How can
these be sustained in the current
economic climate?

I certainly believe making a WCDS
education available to all families
is a very high priority, regardless of
economics. Creating that availability is
a challenge at all times, but certainly
now more than ever. Our community
should represent the world and
all those who live in it. We are very
fortunate to have a Board of Directors
committed to this concept.

What is something you would especially
like the community to know about you?

I was taught by various mentors in
education to always strive to leave a
school community better than when
you arrived, no matter what role you
have in the school. I will work hard to
help the WCDS community continue to
change the lives of our students.

This article can be found in the Rappahannock News.