Many will remember Upper School Head Mr. Patrick Andrén for his comforting, humorous personality, others for his calm, understated leadership, and some for his extensive knowledge and passion for history.
Effective next school year, Mr. Andrén will embark on a new journey as the Assistant Head of School at Brunswick in Connecticut.
“Brunswick is a really important place to me,” Mr. Andren said. “I went to the school, I was a lifer there, and it was really the place that, because of the relationships I had with my teachers and because of the experience I had there, it really shaped who I am.”
Even though this job offer hits close to home for Mr. Andrén, it was still an uneasy decision to walk away from Haverford.
“I wasn’t planning on looking for anything [other jobs]. It wasn’t anything about the Haverford community that made me want to look elsewhere,” Mr. Andén said. “In fact, I planned to put some roots down here and stay awhile…When I got the job offer at Brunswick, it took a couple of sleepless nights for me to make the decision, because it was not an easy one.”
One of the unique aspects of being the head of the Upper School is that Mr. Andrén had the opportunity to work with every faculty member and form meaningful friendships.
“All of the faculty are so easy to work with because they are passionate, they love this place, and they love you guys [the students]. If I have half the amount of wonderful colleagues at Brunswick that I had at Haverford, then I will consider myself lucky,” Mr. Andrén said.
One of those colleagues who worked closely with Mr. Andrén was Dean of Students Mr. Mark Fifer.
“He’s a seasoned educator; he has such a clear appreciation from boys’ education, and an understanding and love of teaching boys that really shines through every day,” Mr. Fifer said. “I’ll never forget his joy of being with students and seeing students develop as young men, and taking joy in the small interactions.”
“He is just about the steadiest, most calm, most even-keeled educators that I’ve been around.”Dean of Students Mr. Mark Fifer
Mr. Fifer will take over as acting Head of Upper School effective July 1, and he hopes he can use the qualities he learned from Mr. Andrén to succeed in the position.
“He is just about the steadiest, most calm, most even-keeled educators that I’ve been around, and that’s a clear asset when you’re in a position of leadership,” Mr. Fifer said. “That’s something that I will certainly take from Mr. Andrén.”
In addition to his role as Upper School Head, Mr. Andrén taught a Modern World History class. Although only a handful of students worked with Mr. Andrén, his impact as a teacher was evident.
“Mr. Andrén was not only a great presence in class, but was also a wealth of knowledge on all things history,” Fourth Former Sam Kohl said. “I’ll miss having class with him and seeing him around school.”
Some of Mr. Andrén’s qualities that were most evident in the classroom included his charismatic and caring personality.
“Mr. Andrén is a great person and teacher,” Fourth Former Austin Zhuang said. “He always asked how the class was doing before we started and made sure he heard from everyone. Each class was always insightful, and he wanted all his students to participate and grow as historians. I found myself enjoying a subject I am normally not fond of and learning something new every day.”
Fourth Former Jake LaRocca said, “Every time Mr. Andrén logged into virtual class, he would check in on everyone in the class individually. You could really tell that he cared about every single one of us. If I ever needed anything, Mr. Andrén was the first person I would go to.”
Now that the time comes for Mr. Andrén to move on, there are many aspects of Haverford’s community that he hopes to take with him to Brunswick.
“I will never forget the reflection program. That’s been one of the neatest things for me is both the speakers we have brought in but more so when faculty or one of the boys spoke and just shared something that was really important to them,” Mr. Andrén said. “In terms of every day, I’m going to miss the interactions in the halls, and all of the fun and energy that was in the halls. That’s really what made my day every day.”
Although Mr. Andrén cannot go out in an ideal way due to the circumstances, he made sure to leave some parting words for the student body.
“Continue to stay true to yourselves and the values that make this school such a great place, which is loving one another and always having each other’s backs,” Mr. Andrén said. “You guys as a community really live that virtue of trying to make each other better, so I’d say to stay true to that, because that’s something really special about this place.”