With sincere appreciation…

To the Community of ASW:

As you are now aware, I originally arrived in Warsaw with the title of Interim Director. This was appropriate for a variety of reasons, as detailed by the Board Chair in July. I noted at the time that I was only willing to come in an interim role if I would be allowed to further apply for the long term position. After spending a few weeks getting to know you in more depth while leading this wonderful entourage of professionals, I can only reaffirm that intent given the warmth and welcome of the community demonstrated so wonderfully and completely in such a short time. Students, parents, administration, faculty, and staff have all shared open arms and hearts as we have become part of a robust and supportive “village” of teachers and learners.

It is therefore with pleasure and excitement that I accepted the board’s appointment as your Director, sans Interim. With this message, I affirm that I’m ready to let go of that Interim title and look forward to continuing the work I’ve started, knowing that I will usher our collaboration beyond the bounds of a single year. It means that we are embracing this community and, possibly more importantly, that my daughter will graduate as a Warsaw Warrior!!

I can only confirm the tremendous energy and enthusiasm that I’m ready to bring to this role, now and throughout my time here. I look forward to each and every opportunity for earnest conversation and collaboration toward crafting ASW, both for the moment and the future. Together, we will prepare our students and empower them for a life filled with hope and possibility. I look forward to your partnership and friendship in that journey.

Best Regards,

Jon P. Zurfluh

P. S. – See you at the PTO BBQ later today and note that I’ll be perched atop the dunk tank sometime after 3p!!

The First Day is Upon Us!!

This morning we opened our doors for the soft opening of New Family Orientation and packed the theater with more than 100 families and their kids. I enjoyed greeting everyone with a brief introduction from the Newbie to the Newbies. Over the last 28 days, I’ve learned much about the American School of Warsaw.

In particular, I looked up the instrumental founding influencer of the school, Colonel Frank Gilchrist (1938-1969). In 1953, while serving as the Assistant Military Attache at the American Embassy, Colonel Gilchrist was the driving force behind the opening of a school for 12 students from 5 nationalities: American, British, Swiss, Israeli, and Yugoslav.

Then, as is the case now, the reports were of a school with a special sense of community. A place where this mix of nationalities could connect and define themselves as a collaboration amongst diversity. Writers of that time and throughout the growth and development of the school noted the warmth and welcoming spirit of the school community.

That spirit was on display today as PTO and returning parents and students helped new families navigate their orientation day. Touring around the building, teachers and support staff welcomed their presence in classrooms throughout the building. Their first impression of their new “home” was a powerful one leaving all of us ready for the coming opening for all.

One of the key messages that I’ve woven through new staff orientation, full staff meetings, and the new parent orientation yesterday emphasizes what I consider to be a critical component of the program we offer. After the hard work of designing curriculum and architecting instruction is completed, I suggest that a critical test of a school is the understanding that “Small Things Matter.” Like a drop of water in a still pond, the ripple effects of empathy and service toward others cannot be underestimated.

I taught the new kids today another important phrase that I will test them on in the parking lot tomorrow. For those returning, you’ll have to share it with your children as the mantra of the year, the motto of the new director that I give you as a gift to inspire all your future accomplishments:

“If it is to be, It is up to me!!”

May the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year bring you special joy and a true sense of anticipation for all that is yet to come! Let the learning begin!

Welcome Message 2016

August 12, 2016

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year!!  We hope the summer break was refreshing and fulfilling for all of you and that your travels are bringing you safely to our midst for school opening.

As per the cover letter from, Rob Batchelder, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, it’s my pleasure to be joining the Warriors as your new Director for the exciting year ahead!!  I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and personally welcoming you to this vibrant and inviting school.  More about me and other information worth reading throughout the year will be captured on my Director’s blog – Zimplicity!  Please join the conversation here:  https://zimplicity.org/

We have a wonderful team of educators and leaders ready to greet your children on the first day, assuring consistency of practice and stability of program in the early days of the school year.  We open with an enrollment of 950 and are finishing our welcome of 39 new faculty, who will be joining returning faculty next week for important preparation activities.

As usual, all of our summer teams have worked hard to assure that the facility has been prepared for your arrival and you will see a number of changes in rooms and common spaces as you explore the building.  There are too many changes to list entirely here, but all of them constitute important updates to facilitate the continued growth and development of the programs we offer.

Please plan to join us for the various initial events on the calendar.  Be sure to become an active PTO member and look for welcome meetings to attend and committees where you can make a contribution of your time and talent toward enhancing our sense of community.  This is an important time of year to build new relationships, renew collaborations, and enhance what we do to make ASW such a special community for all of us.

Here’s a summary of some key events in the first week:

  • New Family & Student Orientation, Monday, August 22, 9:00a, Cafeteria
  • Director’s Coffee morning, Tuesday, August 23, 8:45a, Cafeteria
  • PTO Newcomer Coffee, Thursday, August 25, 8:45a, Cafeteria

Best wishes to all for a wonderful first week and a successful new year!


Jon P. Zurfluh

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