From Hilltop to Home

You know your child best and your perspective is often the most telling, but if some of my advice can be helpful to you—in managing their and your transition to boarding school life and potentially setting your minds at ease during times of the year that can be challenging—then I am happy to be of service.

Ryan M. Pagotto, Associate Head of School

Dear families,

Ryan Pagotto

As head of Blair's student life office, it is my pleasure to be involved in many aspects of our students’ lives and to serve as a day-to-day resource for them and for parents. In addition to providing support to students, many of whom are our advisees, my colleagues and I also work closely with housemasters, advisors, coaches and teachers to ensure that residential life at Blair runs smoothly and to identify and manage any challenges proactively. Our work runs the gamut from planning community events, organizing campus clubs and activities, and sponsoring leadership opportunities to planning global travel during school breaks, supporting campus spiritual life, and encouraging student health and wellness.

Given that 80 percent of our students live here on campus, one of my most important roles is to keep parents abreast of what is happening in their child's life at Blair. To that end, I began writing a monthly e-newsletter, From Hilltop to Home, a few years ago, with the aim of providing parents with perspective and counsel based on my 20 years of working with high school students as a teacher, coach, houseparent and dean. While my four children are not yet of high school age—our oldest is 11—and I acknowledge that, unlike you, I have not yet navigated the teenage years with my own children, I’ve been through the boarding school cycle many times now and have seen virtually every challenge that an adolescent can face.

You know your child best and your perspective is often the most telling, but if some of my advice can be helpful to you—in managing their and your transition to boarding school life and potentially setting your minds at ease during times of the year that can be challenging—then I am happy to be of service.

From these letters, as well as the rest of the website, I hope you gain a strong sense of how expertly Blair balances academic rigor with the strong relationships that are the foundation of our genuinely kind and caring community. We are deeply rooted in tradition but also committed to offering our students with a forward-thinking education, providing them with the skills that will help them succeed in life.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to sharing my insights with you as the year progresses!

Warm regards,

Ryan M. Pagotto
Associate Head of School

Read the Latest Issue

Locke Hall with wreaths on its doors

Five hours of singing! Four seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen. And five hours of singing! By all of them. This was my experience on the bus ride back from Washington, D.C., where history department chair Jason Beck and I took students as part of our J-term course last week.

Read More about January 2023
December 2022

As you can imagine, this period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is among the more intense academic periods of the school year. Students are focused on their upcoming signature assessments, their artwork for the annual winter exhibition, the music they need to prepare in short order for Christmas Vespers, and other end-of-semester project work. News is beginning to come from colleges regarding early decision applications, so it is a generally high-stress time for all.

Read More about December 2022