Head of School Welcome

Anyone who is paying close attention to today’s educational landscape knows that the game is changing. No longer does conventional wisdom (or modern research) advise that the teacher perch at the front of the class to impart knowledge onto students.
The “sage on the stage” model has given way to methods that promote curiosity, collaboration, engagement, and advanced communication skills, all to craft and hone critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Upland Country Day School has been ahead of this curve since its founding in 1948. An intimate and personalized classroom environment in a bucolic campus setting, along with a longstanding philosophy of full participation, has fostered the development of these vital skills. Increased emphasis on learning to learn and reaching beyond one’s comfort zone, far more so than memorizing content, will prepare students for an ever-changing world as well as jobs that do not even exist yet.

These are all fine notions that you’ll find on many school websites, but what does this actually look like at Upland? In part, it looks like Bookworms and Junior Great Books, lower school reading programs that incorporate real books, collaboration, and highly interactive lessons, which lead to engaging and insightful conversations about the text to enhance reading comprehension. Students look to the teacher for questions rather than answers. These programs lay the groundwork for the Harkness Method of Teaching in Upper School, a cornerstone of our highly specialized academic approach.

It also looks like the Kleberg Idea Center, which exposes all of our students to STEM and design thinking methodologies, further driving them to become innovative thinkers and creative problem-solvers, all while encouraging experimentation and inspiring a passion for learning.

At Upland, you will find equal parts purpose and joy. You will find a rigorous academic program supported and bolstered by a caring faculty and a culture of collaboration and collegiality among students. You will find an emphasis on character development cultivated in the classroom, on the playing fields, and through service. You will find rich exposure to the arts and creative life. Come see it live by scheduling a visit to our campus. I look forward to welcoming you to Upland!

Warm regards,

Daniel E. Hickey, Ed.D

Head of School

About Dan

Dan Hickey has over twenty years experience working in independent education. He began his career in college admissions, working at both Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA and American University in Washington DC. Dan also served as Director of Admissions for eight years at Archmere Academy, his alma mater. From there, Dan went to Tower Hill School where he served many roles over his eleven years including: Director of Admissions, English teacher, football coach, Head of Upper School and Assistant Head of School.

Dan graduated with honors from Dickinson College, where he was captain of the football team while earning a Bachelor’s Degree in English and minoring in Fine Art. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Literature at American University and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. Dan and his wife Jessica have two sons, Aidan and Brendan, and a rambunctious dog named Barley.