News From Masters
New Middle School Head Ms. Tasha Elsbach
By Logan Schiciano
As most people know, Doc Wilson, the current head of the middle school will be retiring at the end of this year. His replacement is Ms. Tasha Elsbach, the current middle school head at the all girl Brearley School in New York City. We asked her some questions about her hobbies, her views on our school and how it compares to other schools and much, much more. Her replies for our questions are listed below:
Purple Panther Post (PPP): What doubts, if any, do you have about coming to Masters? How will you resolve them?
Ms. Elsbach (TS): I have no doubts about coming to Masters. I already have a sense that the school is a wonderful place for students and teachers. The way the community has reached out to me before I’ve even gotten started makes me know that people are kind. I do have some questions though: What will it be like to live in the “burbs” [suburbs] since I have only lived in cities since I graduated from high school? What will it be like to live at work? Will I lose track of various popular trends since I’m not riding the subway everyday and transporting myself as one of the masses? How will I manage so much wonderful fresh air? Only time will tell but I believe that although change can be scary it is an excellent opportunity for growth and learning. My only real fear is that I won’t be able to walk 2 blocks to find marshmallow Peeps when they are in season.
PPP: What do you think of Doc Wilson’s legacy? Do you plan on continuing the legacy or do you plan to introduce a brand new era?
(TS): My sense from having had the pleasure of meeting Doc twice so far (I plan to pick his brain again a few times before he rides off into the sunset) is that his legacy is a.) prioritizing knowing and connecting with every single student b.) respecting and loving the developmental stage of Middle school students and c.) keeping kindness, warmth and love at the center of his interactions with people. I will strive to live up to each of these legacies
PPP: How do you feel about co-ed classes vs. single sex classes?
(TS): I love both. I’ve taught in both co-ed and single sex schools - well the only single sex school, Brearley. I also attended public schools and love my co-ed classes. I see the benefits to both and I am absolutely eager to see how Masters’ Middle School system works. It seems brilliant in many ways - the best of both worlds as many have said. I do think the social pressures and the changes associated with early adolescent development in Middle School can add a layer of distraction and stress for students in a classroom in co-ed settings. So, single sex classes in middle school makes a lot of sense. I am very eager to hear what students think of the system.
PPP: How do you compare Masters to your previous school? Are there things from that school you would like to introduce to Masters?
(TS): There may be things I’d like to introduce but I need to experience life in the Middle School before I could say what those things might be.
PPP: Do you have any ideas of student run groups you would like to see?
(TS): Ooh, I love this question. I think this is an important aspect of Middle School life. Students need to have the power and responsibility to shape the life of their community at school and also the community outside of the walls of the school. I am eager to find out what groups exist currently. I know there is a student council but I don’t know of about any other groups. I would want to hear what groups students and also faculty feel are missing. At Brearley during my tenure, a Middle School Diversity Club was started.
PPP: Do you personally know Oprah? Do you think she will come and visit?
(TS): I did meet Oprah when I worked at OWLAG (the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls) in South Africa and that was pretty special. I loved watching how she interacted with the students whom she adored. But I don’t have a special relationship with her so if she did ever come to the school it would probably be because someone else made it happen.
A FEW OTHER FUN FACTS….
- Ms. Elsbach was born in NYC and then her parents moved to Westchester. She lived in Yorktown in her early years and then moved to Briarcliff when she was in 5th to 8th grade.
- Her daughter, Astrid will be 1 ½ years old at the end of September.
- Ms. Elsbach also loves music! All kinds of Music! Right now, she enjoys listening to the cast album from Hamilton.
- She is extremely excited to come to Masters next year!