David Leedy, one of the founders of The Island School, teacher, friend, instiller of confidence, and all around treasure, died Saturday night, May 16, from brain cancer.
In the beginning, we were three and each of us had a role. Dave’s patience and his quiet, gentle (persevering!) manner guided us through the maze of government and bureaucratic details that resulted in The Island School being able to open its doors and welcome children. That same quiet, gentle (and persevering) manner never let us stray from the original ideals that led us to start the school. Dave always reminded us, in words and deeds, that education is an adventure, that it should be fun and that no child need fail if he or she receives the respect and attention that every child deserves.
Watching Dave with children, one knew beyond any doubt that teaching is a calling, not a profession. And, by gentle example, he also taught and inspired colleagues and generations of parents.
Remember Dave’s smile. Whether he was sitting on the floor playing chess with a child, very quietly rigging up ropes and pulleys in the entry hall, sketching – also very quietly – around the school, chatting with and listening to children, playing outside with them, singing at Monday Morning Sing, or just walking through the halls to who knew where to who knew what amazing adventure or project, Dave’s smile lit the school. Children trusted Dave and they loved him. Letters and cards have arrived relating treasured memories of the years spent in his company and of the influence he had on who they are today. One parent commented, “The world has lost one of its smartest, kindest, warmest and funniest.” It has indeed, and it is a better place for having had Dave. We called him the Roving Resource, The Island School Treasure. Indeed he was both. None of us, young or old, who knew him will ever, ever forget him. My fervent wish is that his example will inspire us to live with the same hopes and dreams for the world and the same love of life that was so important to him. And especially with the same love of, respect for and care of children that was a gift to so many.
Dave died as peacefully as he lived, surrounded by the family he so dearly loved.
– Kelly Webster, Former Head and Co-Founder of The Island School