“Wake Up” – “This is America!” | Dennis Bisgaard | 3 Min Read

Since spring 2020, I have been fascinated by what oddly may be the perfect storm needed for the transformational change advocated by so many of us. I know I will never forget Whittle School & Studios’ 2019-2020 school year, our inaugural year as a newcomer on the Washington DC landscape, trying our very best to become a uniquely modern, global, and different kind of school, not tied to any tradition, history, existing norms, or systems. We were in the envious space many educators dream of — to imagine, build, and co-create from scratch our notion of a perfect learning environment for the unique needs of every student. Today, it feels like we are all now newcomers to a world of education forced to evolve or perish.

In August 2019, The New York Times’ 1619 Project emerged, with great acclaim, to reframe our country’s history commemorating and re-examining 400 years of slavery in the US. Cyclones, typhoons, tornadoes, and wildfires followed, and then…the Global COVID-19 Pandemic; shelter in place, no college, no March Madness or professional sports, no concerts or large gatherings, a nation deeply, politically divided, and no school – just stay at home and deal! And you will…

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Dennis Bisgaard

Dennis Bisgaard became Head of School at the Maret School (DC) in July 2023. Before that he served as the Interim Head of School at Friends School of Baltimore (MD) and the Interim Head of School at The Northwest School (WA). He served as the founding Head of School for Whittle School & Studios in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was Head of School at Kingswood Oxford School (CT) for 12 years, where he founded the Kingswood Oxford Leadership Institute for Educators of Color. Prior to that, he was Associate Head of School at Shady Hill School (MA) for six years, and Associate Dean of Faculty and Director of Diversity at Collegiate School (NY) for six years, where he founded and directed The Collegiate School Teaching Institute for Educators of Color. His background includes international boarding and domestic programs, and extensive work in community building, strategic planning, financial management, admissions, and development. Outside of teaching and administrative leadership, Bisgaard has participated in and presented at forums and conferences around the world, including the Think Tank on Global Education at Harvard University; the Global Education and Skills Forum, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Online Education Strategies for Independent Schools (OESIS) conference in Shanghai, China. He was born in Germany and grew up in Denmark, where he also earned his first graduate degree, and studied in Canada and the U.S. before moving to the states 31 years ago. He later completed an MA in Educational Administration at Columbia University. Bisgaard speaks English, Danish, and German fluently, and also knows his way around Swedish, Norwegian, Latin, and French. He began his educational career in the U.S. as a classroom teacher, coach, advisor, and DEI practitioner.