The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

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The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

Director of Upper School Mr. Gary Baldwin to Step Down at the End of the 2023–2024 School Year

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Director of Upper School Mr. Baldwin sits in his office. (PC: Sophene A. ’25)

On January 8, Head of School Ms. Andrea Kassar announced over email that Director of Upper School Mr. Gary Baldwin will be leaving Westridge at the end of the current school year. Having been a part of the Westridge community since 2015, Mr. Baldwin made the decision to leave California to be with family members who need his support.

Mr. Baldwin noted the difficulty he faced when making the decision to step down from his role. “It is without question the hardest decision that I’ve ever made in my professional life. I love Westridge, I love the people that I work with, I love the kids that I get to work with…And so it was a tough call, but we made it for the family,” he said.

Mr. Baldwin also explained how he will greatly miss interacting with students and colleagues, which has been a crucial part of his position as Director of Upper School. “I love my colleagues very much, and [I’ll] miss them. And I think that getting to work with the energetic, bright, talented, fun, funny kids that we’ve gotten to work with for the last nine years is something that isn’t easily replaced,” he said.

Ms. Ashley Leonard, Assistant to the Director of Upper School, has worked closely with Mr. Baldwin for the past five years. Describing her reaction to the news of Mr. Baldwin leaving Westridge, Ms. Leonard said, “I was so sad whenever he told me he was resigning. I really enjoy working for Mr. Baldwin. I think that he is a really wonderful part of the community.

Ashley Leonard, Assistant to the Director of Upper School, in her office. (PC: Sophene A. ’25)

Many Upper School students were sad to hear that Mr. Baldwin would not be returning to Westridge in the fall. “I feel like Mr. Baldwin is essential to the Westridge experience. And so when I heard he was leaving, I was really upset because I know that he’s so engaged with the students here. And I feel like his doors are always open,” Micah M. ’25 shared.

Lindsay B. ’25 noted Mr. Baldwin’s important presence on campus. “He really brings in the community. Just seeing him in general like walking around [school], or his really funny jokes during [community gatherings]… [he] has just really pulled our school together.”

Senior Natalie A. shared that the news was surprising considering how long Mr. Baldwin has been at Westridge. “Mr. Baldwin has been [at Westridge] since my class has been [in fourth grade]…So he is almost graduating, which I think is weird because we’re also graduating…It’s shocking that he’s leaving.” 

In her email, Ms. Kassar also mentioned that Westridge has retained an executive recruiting firm to lead a national search for a new Director of Upper School. 

Some students are apprehensive about the transition into new Upper School leadership. “It’s hard to imagine who the person is that will take his place and who can fill that role. Going into senior year, I’m just sort of hesitant to not have a familiar face in that position,” Micah said. 

Similarly, Lindsay, referring to the individual who will take over the position of Director of Upper School, stated, “I hope they can bring that sort of energy of connection and passion and consideration to all of us just like [Mr. Baldwin] did.”

While Mr. Baldwin’s presence will be missed by many, some Westridge community members are optimistic about what next year holds. Ms. Leonard said, “I’m excited for [Mr. Baldwin’s] next chapter, and I think change can be a good thing. So I’m also looking forward to who else comes in.”

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About the Contributor
Sophene A., Managing Editor
Sophene is a junior and in her fifth year writing for Spyglass. She serves as the Managing Editor of Spyglass this year. In her free time, she enjoys baking, playing soccer, and spending time with family.

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