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Together 11.2.21 Special Edition

November 2, 2021 | Abby Hall Choi

Dear Families,

Last week, in a school-wide drive led by the Kindergarten class, Mustard Seed collected 1,780 baby food jars for our Hoboken neighbors in need. Managing the collection, a defining moment for Kindergarten students for as long as I have been with the school, introduces young children to an integral principle of Mustard Seed.

We put our faith in action.

Students and teachers participated in AIDS marches in the early 1980s. We raised awareness for hunger and children’s rights by protesting at the United Nations. Our chorus performed at a prison fence for the Bosnian refugees housed on the other side. Commitment to actively making the world a better place is grounded in our DNA and in our founders’ intention.

It is with this tradition in mind that I proudly announce the appointment of two new Chair positions. These appointments invite the awardees to engage in visionary thinking and scholarship as well as serve as models for excellence.

I have the honor of naming Jessica Smith as the inaugural chair holder for the Thomas Postema Chair for Worship, and Tania Oro-Hahn as the inaugural chair holder for the Chair of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging.

I chose the chair candidates because they live and share their scholarly pursuits. Jessica Smith and Tania Oro-Hahn challenge their students, their colleagues and themselves to be active learners engaging their community and God’s world with joy, curiosity and purpose.

Vision

The two new Chairs will address the following questions:

  • In what ways might God be calling our school to grow?

  • How are we to change in this next season of our history?

  • How will we teach our children about Christ’s call for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
    What does authentic diversity look like?

Possessing a diverse community of learners and staff will not ensure that authentic diversity and reconciliation blossom. Effective training and wise leadership are essential as we maneuver through the challenges of racism, prejudice, assumptions, and hurt. As we celebrate our differences, worship will continue to strengthen community.

Growing into the school we want to become, we will better know God’s love and God’s creativity and creation as we know each child better–as we know ourselves better. We will know better as a school and we will do better.

Jessica and Tania are uniquely positioned and qualified to lead us into who we will become. They both love this school, know our roots, and possess the foresight to direct us where we want to go.

During their five-year tenure, they will envision and help grow our systems, practices and experiences around DEIB, and Worship. They will address the priority of attracting and retaining excellent teaching professionals and making the highest quality curriculum available to students. They will encourage further development in their specialty areas, promoting creativity, problem-solving, and innovation in processes and procedures that are beautiful, elegant, and thoughtfully-designed. And in the fifth year of the chair, they will work with the Head of School and Leadership Team to determine the next chair holder.

As I conclude with our second grade students playing in harmony, please join me in congratulating Jessica and Tania!

Peace to you,

Abby

Abby Hall Choi

Head of School

Abby Hall Choi has a Masters in Social Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BA in Psychology and Elementary Education from Covenant College. She is also completing a Certificate in School Management & Leadership from Harvard University. As she helped lead Mustard Seed School’s NJAIS accreditation efforts and our most recent strategic plan development, she has gotten to apply and grow her learning. 

Ms. Hall Choi has worked as a fifth-grade teacher and a multi-grade fourth-fifth grade teacher. She has held several administrative roles including Middle School Director, Director of School Initiatives and Improvement, and Assistant Middle School Director.

She likes thinking about how people work together. She enjoys leading work and conversations that enable our community to thrive because we work through complex problems together.

Ms. Hall Choi values caring for the whole person. She believes it’s most important that everyone knows they are a child of God and loved all the time, no matter what. 

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