Henry Heil, Head of Upper School and Upper School Government Teacher
What motivated and inspired you to teach?
I was fortunate to have some incredible teachers, coaches, and mentors who hugely impacted my life both in and out of the classroom during my four years at Virginia Episcopal School. Upon graduation from college I, by some miracle, landed a one year internship at Culver Academy - one of the finest independent schools in the country - to teach history and coach. Working with motivated high school students clicked for me and I found that I could have a similar impact on them that my teachers had on me during my formative years.
What makes you excited to come to school every day?
I walk into the Study Commons every morning with a smile on my face. It is a place where visible connections are made all day, every day. Not only is book learning happening, but students are building relationships with each other and their teachers. That is a special part of the ESD culture.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom?
I want all students to learn how to ask good questions, advocate for themselves, and build their character. Life lessons are equally, if not more, important as those learned from the textbook.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself!
My family and I are huge Davidson College basketball fans. If I'm not at a school event between November and March, it is likely because Davidson is playing and we are all gathered around a TV or watching in person.
What is your favorite book and why?
The End of Average by Todd Rose. It helped me understand that education can and needs to meet students where they are, breaking the old mold of standardization.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be?
Don Mattingly - childhood idol; James Madison - would love for him to see our country now and hear what he imagined it might become when authoring our Constitution; and John Henry Heil - while I knew my grandfather as a child, I would like for him to meet his grandchildren (including his namesake) and pick his brain about the interesting life he led.