Anna Blake Patrick
After rising to the challenge of becoming the Interim Head of Upper School during the midst of a global pandemic and a social justice crisis, Sarah Grenert-Funk has far and away earned her new position as Head of Upper School.
I wholeheartedly believe that there is no one better for this role than Sarah. I have never met someone who so deeply cares about the growth and wellbeing of a school, nor have I seen such dedicated action to promote community and togetherness—especially in the face of an isolating pandemic. When I think about all that OES should be, all I have to do is picture Sarah; she is both idealistic and grounded, and she values all aspects of learning. Her care for our students is a great source of her strength. She is deeply involved in our OES community, from dorm life to sports to ensuring the equity of students and faculty.
Sarah has always been a defining character of OES. In Seventh Grade, when I was a spry, amature lacrosse goalie (and in desperate need of coaching), Sarah took time out of her weekend to throw tennis balls at my head. (To clarify: I was wearing a helmet. And yes, this is an actual training drill.) The weather was foul and the hour was early, but I had asked her for help, and she took that time to teach me how to step to the ball to make a save. She is unlike most in her dedication to helping students who seek her guidance, and she does not stop helping those students until they excel. Five years later, I am still learning from her coaching—there is always something she can teach me, just as there is always something she can teach our school.
Sarah Grenert-Funk is a powerful figure in the name of student community, equity, welfare, and education. She is a phenomenal teacher, advisor, mentor, and ally—she truly respects all voices in our school and has created an atmosphere of accountability and respect. She has handled the role of Interim Head of Upper School in a most difficult situation, and her success in bringing our community back together after a year of isolation is undeniable. I am grateful for her role in my growth as a student-athlete at OES, and I am ecstatic to see how the Upper School will change and improve because of her in the coming years.
As a writer on the Dig and member of the Editorial Staff, I am honored to congratulate her on her new position as Head of Upper School.