Message from the President

I love sharing the character and community of Harvard-Westlake because they have made a profound difference in my own life. It was here, as a young English teacher, soccer coach, and college counselor, that I found my calling as an educator. At Harvard-Westlake I discovered the joy of working with extraordinarily talented students and colleagues who are committed to accomplishing exciting and meaningful things together. My early experience here led me to leadership opportunities at other fine schools, but I was thrilled to come back in 2013 to a community that gave my life a sense of purpose and direction.

Soon after my return, I asked students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni to join me in reexamining the school’s mission statement. We recognized that our fundamental mission has not changed, but we concluded that the statement could be recast to be briefer, truer, more memorable, and more aspirational. Together we arrived at this:

Harvard-Westlake strives to be
a diverse and inclusive community united by
the joyful pursuit of educational excellence,
living and learning with integrity,
and purpose beyond ourselves.

I experience Harvard-Westlake’s community, excellence, integrity, and purpose on both of our campuses every day, whether in my 9th grade English class as we discuss the tragic ending of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, or at a lunch table full of seniors brainstorming the theme for the Homecoming Dance. No matter where you look, I think you will find that Harvard-Westlake is an inspiring place to be.


Rick Commons


Click here to watch Mr. Commons talk about the thoughtful process that resulted in the school’s mission statement.