10 Minutes with Dr. Bisselle

by Alley Keresztesy

Quick Six:

  1. Dr. Bisselle is a happy person
  2. She loves to laugh
  3. Her two daughters are Lucy (18) and Agnes (17)
  4. Dr. Bisselle loves poetry and ping pong
  5. She’s a really good water skier!
  6. One of Dr. Bisselle’s strongest beliefs is that everyone should care about the environment and politics, regardless of their beliefs. Involvement is what matters!

 

As Mr. Christ’s final year is beginning to starting to close, all students regardless of graduation year are eager to get to know more about our new Head of School. I was lucky enough to talk with Dr. Bisselle and get to know her better before she officially becomes HB’s 14th Head of School.

“It’s something special to be known”

Everyone who has heard about Dr. Bisselle likely knows that she is part of a large family. Her twelve sisters have provided her with honest truth, support, and laughs, as anyone with a sister knows to be true. A similar sisterhood can be seen between HB students, and Dr. Bisselle agrees that HB feels like a large family. Likewise, both our HB sisters and Dr. Bisselle’s sisters are creative. “Whenever someone needs to get picked up from the airport, you don’t know who’s going to come or what they are going to look, like but you know you’re going to laugh. They could have a wig on, they could be wearing a funny coat or wearing big glasses. Those moments of creative routine are ultimately joyful and I could see a similar kind of spirit at HB.”

“When I was walking down the halls of HB, I felt a sisterhood there.”

            As for the greatest challenge at HB, Dr. Bisselle predicts that getting to know each person will be most difficult, especially since she truly cares about learning everyone’s name. It may take some time, but Dr. Bisselle cares deeply about getting to know something about each person and wants to be somebody who knows people well. Along with the students at HB, Dr. Bisselle is excited to get to know Cleveland. She has spent the last seventeen years living in Manchester, Vermont and although she will miss the beautiful mountains, hills, and streams, Dr. Bisselle is eager to explore and become a city girl again. She grew up in Philadelphia and psyched to go the Cleveland Museum of Art. Also on her ‘To Do’ List is attending games for Cleveland’s many sports teams.

“I’m excited to be a part of Cleveland, get to know the neighborhoods, get to go to a bunch of restaurants. Cleveland is a great food town!”

            Dr. Bisselle is ready to start her newest chapter in Cleveland, however she plans on changing as little as possible at HB upon arrival. Before implementing a new tradition, such as shaking everyone’s hand on their way into school, a Maple Street School custom, Dr. Bisselle wants to learn, listen, and know about HB. “I’m still in the mode of getting to learn and listen and know more and more about you. I want to learn what you already have rather than all of a sudden start something new right away.”

To complete our interview, Dr. Bisselle told me the unique story of her college graduation.

“When I was a senior in college (at Boston College), I called my mom in January and I told her that she needed to make an overnight reservation for graduation. I had 2,500 people in my class- Boston would fill up, so she probably wanted to make a reservation at the hotel. She said ‘Oh, sweetheart, I’m not going to make it to your college graduation.’ I said, “Mom, really? You’re not making it to my college graduation?’ She responded, ‘No, I’m pregnant. I’m due the day of your college graduation.’ So, I graduated alone- which was fine. Somebody in my family dropped off a car for me and I drove myself home from Boston to Philadelphia. When I pulled into my driveway, there was my mother, in labor. My father was caught in traffic so she hopped into my car and I drove her to the hospital. That doesn’t very often happen, with children driving parents in labor, or parents missing college graduations because of babies. As I’m driving to the hospital, I literally have my college diploma in my backseat. And I realized there’s a lot I don’t know about life. You can be in some of the greatest schools, but situations are going to put you into moments where a school may not prepare you and your character is really going to figure out how you’re going to react. So driving my mom to the hospital, I couldn’t get into an accident, I was asking her if she was comfortable, if everything was okay, and she said you’ve got to hurry. “Okay mom, we’re going.” When I got to the hospital, she had my baby sister. Just to be a part of that really important life momentous occasion made me realize how special my relationship is with my mom, even though she couldn’t be there for my college graduation but I could be there in a meaningful way to help my sister be born. Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you want it to, but it always teaches you something about the people you love. I think about that moment often, in that, maybe what I want and what happens aren’t always in alignment but maybe it’s for a reason. My mom, myself, and my sister Rose all have a very special bond, and that’s really something special.”

“Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you want it to, but it always teaches you something about the people you love.”