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Genial, inspiring presence

The Manlius Pebble Hill community must be stunned by the sudden death of its longtime headmaster, Baxter Ball.

For more than two decades, Ball has been a genial and inspiring presence on the private school’s DeWitt campus.

His commitment to MPH and educational excellence produced remarkable results. Under his leadership, the student body tripled, from 200 to 600, and the school’s endowment grew from a pittance to $4.7 million. Today, MPH stands as one of the top independent schools in the country — one that emphasizes diversity in its generous scholarship programs.

The school also reflects its longtime headmaster’s holistic approach to learning — a determination to teach children to think, to take charge of their own learning and to ask for help when they need it. An example of this holistic approach is that nearly all MPH students are involved in sports — as well as extracurricular dance or music programs.

Interim head of school Tracy Frank deserves the support of the MPH community to stay the course after the sudden loss of this successful leader. By continuing to turn out well-educated young men and women, MPH will be living up to the standards set by its dedicated steward.