In July of 2011, Scott Small took over the duties as Upper School principal at Mary Institute Country Day. That is a job unto itself. But Small leads a life much more complex than that.
His life is kind of like a three-legged stool.
One leg is for teaching and being an administrator. The second leg is that of girls' varsity basketball coach; and of course, the third leg is that of a dad and husband to wife Amy and two young daughters Addison and Alden.
Patch.com recently cornered the coach/principal for a Q & A session. The two young daughters listened politely to the conversation.
Ladue-Frontenac Patch: How long have you been principal; and a coach.
Scott Small: This is my second year as principal and I’ve been coaching basketball now for 11 years.
Patch: What is your agreement with the school to do both things.
Small: One of the nice things about working at MICDS is that almost everyone wears two or more hats. Everyone is an educator and I still teach a class in the fall (History of Race and Sports in America as a civil rights class).
With the coaching, it's still a side thing. I have a very good staff with Bill Goedeker and Erica Moore. There are times after school when I might have to deal with a disciplinary issue and they take over and run the practices and the practices probably get better when I’m not there.
Lisa Lyle, head of our school let me try it and she knows its important to me to do both things. She shares our philosophy for all of us to be around kids and it’s a passion and I need to stay connected to the kids.
Patch: Is it a difficult double.
Small: It can be a challenge at times. Sometimes we have to re-arrange things on the basketball side, and everyone knows, sometimes, basketball just has to come second.
There are some nights when I am racing over (to a game or practice) in a coat and tie and we just kind of role with it.
On the academic side, I have a dean for every grade, and they are just wonderful people and they are dedicated and work hard with the kids. Our parents like to see us invested with their kids. That’s one thing that just makes MICDS unique. All of our teachers are invested in some things outside of the classroom.
Patch: In the development of the whole student, sports participation seems key at MICDS.
Small: I think everyone recognizes that learning is not just contained in the classroom. Life’s lessons can be learned on the athletic fields, on the stage; the students do mock speaking, etc. and our kids know learning transcends just the classroom.
Patch: You must have an incredibly understanding wife.
Small: I do, and I have two incredibly understanding little girls. They see a lot more basketball than they want to.
I’ve made the commitment that if (the arrangement) ever got too overwhelming, I would scale down a little bit. My wife does a great job with these two little kiddos and they both go to school here and that’s nice.
Patch: No boys at home.
Small: We have two male dogs at home--that’s enough.
This is an article done a year ago, announcing the new administrative position. Scott Small named principal at MICDS.