Welcome Letter from Kara Stern, Head of School

Kara Stern, WDS Head of School

Kara Stern, Head of School

Welcome to Woodstock Day School!

When you walk onto our campus, the first thing you see is our cheerful, bright red Early Childhood Building.  From my office, I can see our youngest students coming and going, from the Kindergarten classroom out to the art room, and then for a romp in their playground.  What a great start to the end-to-end journey that is Woodstock Day School.  It is an engaging, nurturing, lively foundation for an education that will carry your child through 12th Grade.

Step further onto our grounds and you’ll discover a rambling, sweet campus, classes housed in colorful buildings around a central green, with breathtaking views of Overlook Mountain.  Step into the classrooms, and you’ll find something new and exciting: an education that combines the best of what’s wonderful about being in a small rural setting — emphasis on community, responsibility, friendship, and care for the earth — with the excitement, innovation, and drive to excel that comes from proximity to a major cosmopolitan center. Our students all learn to use the sophisticated technology in our media lab, shoot their films in Central Park, and compete successfully in film festivals. Our student-produced literary journal attracts entries from all over the country, hosts a Lit Con festival that features notable authors, and recently was honored with the Highest Award in Excellence in Student Literary Magazines from the National Council of Teachers of English. Our Phenology Trail enables our students to share climate data with research scientists across the country. Our seniors are trained in presentation methods and independent research, serving them well when they step into the wider world of college and beyond. A good hybrid term for the education we offer would be “micropolitan.”

I was educated at, taught and led in, and wrote my dissertation about storied progressive schools in New York City. At WDS, you will find progressive education done right: students are practicing “real life,” from Nursery School through Upper School, getting the preparation they need to engage as active citizens of our democracy. This kind of education transforms; it invites every young person in the community to participate, to learn, to drive learning, to innovate, to count and be counted. It’s the place I want my own kids to be, and I hope you’ll come for a visit, and see for yourself that it’s the place you want your kids to be, too.

We look forward to seeing you!


Kara Stern, Ph.D.
Head of School