Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote “The leaves of memory seemed to make a mournful rustling in the dark.” Certainly, Longfellow’s meaning is that while some memories may be bittersweet, memories are the core of our being we carry in our souls that enable us to recall with great clarity events — or people — that have left an indelible mark upon our lives.
Such a person is David Ieong (pronounced "yung"), 's assistant principal in Sudbury who, after 12 years of creating his own memories and leaving indelible marks as an educator upon the Loring community, has accepted the position of principal at in Wellesley.
“I’m very excited, and obviously, it’s an opportunity I’ve been working towards,” Ieong said. “I’ve really been enjoying tremendously the work of the assistant principal here and I’ve learned an awful lot about leading a school working with Mr. Dees as my partner – he has a lot to share and a lot to teach.”
Loring principal Jeffrey Dees is sad that Ieong is leaving, but said that Ieong is truly deserving of his new position.
“I knew this day would come and I’m excited that it’s Wellesley. He deserves a good spot to start out his principalship,” Dees said. “David is the best I’ve worked with in 20-plus years. We’re lucky to have his talent influencing kids. You can’t get any better (than him).”
Ieong said that Wellesley is a high-performing community of professional and highly skilled teachers and has a very invested and involved parent population – something he says has always existed in the Loring community.
“The community I am going to is very similar to the Loring community,” Ieong said. “I was hoping to go to a community like this – one that has a fully developed school community where you get support from every corner.”
Certainly, his 19 years experience as an elementary school educator, which dates back to the start of his career in Chicago, will ensure a fairly smooth transition into his new leadership role. Ieong said that during his interviews, he felt “very, very prepared” and that he felt "very comfortable speaking from experience” with regards to the subject of his new position.
“After spending two and a half years in an official role here at Loring and having been very involved before that as a teacher in the school community, I feel very ready and I feel very excited about being able to lead a school community,” he said.
Ieong is an Illinois native. His college studies focused on education and choral direction, and he is a classically trained singer. He was teaching music and chorus in elementary schools in Chicago suburbs right up until he was hired as Loring’s music and choral teacher when the school first opened its doors in September 1999.
Ieong’s deeply rooted passion for music – and for sharing this passion with kids — has inspired and encouraged thousands of students to embrace music in the same manner.
“When kids are learning, you are able to engage them and teach them about music because kids naturally love music and naturally love to sing,” Ieong said. “It is important to keep that joy of music going.”
“David taught music at a high level,” Dees said. “His personality makes it lots of fun. He was highly instrumental in kids enjoying music and wanting to learn about it. The kids felt they could talk to him about anything. He has done that in both positions.”
Ieong’s approachability and outgoing demeanor have made him very popular in the Loring community both amongst students and teachers.
Joe Dinmore, a second-grade teacher at Loring, and an original member of the Loring staff, shared a fond memory of his first meeting with Ieong.
“David is one of the original founding fathers of Loring,” Dinmore said. “He has many facets. I am going to miss him very much. I remember during the first week when Loring opened, David led the school in a sing-a-long that had everyone on their feet, organized, but singing wildly. Then, in a second, we were all seated and quiet.
“He has an amazing ability to manage large groups of kids and people. Our Community Celebration routine would have never gotten off the ground without David’s guidance.”
Dinmore also stated that discipline was rarely an issue with Ieong because he knew how to keep his students engaged and always treated them with respect — a genuine quality that has carried over to Ieong's role as an administrator.
“David treats students with the utmost respect, using his kind, yet firm, baritone voice. He is also a terrific listener,” added Dinmore. “He will always consider what you have said before he responds. This makes him a tremendous communicator. He knows how to tease out complex issues and re-state them to us as faculty members, indicating he has listened to the many sides of a given issue.”
Ieong certainly has exuded Loring's core values — respect, responsibility, best effort and caring – values that he and all the other educators at Loring have embodied and instilled, and continue to strive for, in current students and those who have come and gone from the Loring halls over the years.
“One thing we’ve learned here is the more we think about our common goals of the school and the more we work together as a team – working towards more specific goals - the better we do and the more we enjoy what we do,” Ieong said. “When you are doing great work at the school and you are working hard and you are focusing on your goals, school is really fun – it’s a joy – it’s not dreary work. It’s not something you dread getting up in the morning for whether you are a kid or an adult. It’s something that you get up excited about doing because everyone is working on the goals together and enjoying it.”
Loring parent Michelle Titus, who has three sons at Loring, shared her sentiments about Ieong – and his pending departure from Loring.
“My boys have reaped the joys of David’s presence throughout the halls of Loring as an administrator," she said. "When I think of him, these snip-its come to mind: witty personality, always up for a challenge, a team player, and goes the extra mile.
“He also has a contagious smile.”
Titus also said, “While we wish him well as he embarks on this new journey with the Wellesley Public Schools, he will surely be missed at Loring. David is and will continue to be a terrific leader and role model to both staff and students alike.”
Asked what he will miss the most about Loring, Ieong was quick to say, “The people most of all.”
“Over the 12 years I’ve been here, I’ve gotten to know so many kids, so many teachers, so many parents. It’s a fabulous community. I walk out in the hallways – I know everybody. I walk into the Science Expo – I know everybody. I’m going to miss that a lot. That’s going to be the hardest part to say goodbye to – all the people I’ve gotten to know.”