At the end of this semester, Friends’ School will say goodbye to an extraordinary educator who has been integral to us fulfilling our mission for the last six years.
Ed Walent, the director of our Teacher Preparation Program (TPP), joined the Friends’ staff during the same summer that I did, in 2011. During Ed’s time with us, he has served as both director and co-director of the TPP, and has personally guided almost 200 new teachers into the profession. That is a remarkable legacy.
Most of our parents and students are most familiar with the Teacher Preparation Program through their classroom interactions with Teacher Candidates. Many don’t realize the dynamic operation and professional guidance that occurs behind the scenes.
For some, Ed is that guy in the New York hat guiding cars in the parking lot on Wednesday mornings. To say that Ed is a fan of the New York Giants and the New York Mets is an understatement. If you ever have a chance to attend a New York game with Ed, as I have on a few occasions, you would understand the meaning of the words over-crazed zealot!
Ed came to Friends’ from the Richmond, Virginia area, where he was a public school principal and district-wide Director of Instructional Support for many years. Ed also served for two years as head of the American School of Kuwait. It was important for Friends’, as an independent school, to bring in Ed’s crucial public school experience into our Teacher Preparation Program, which partners with so many public and charter schools. Ed has been the perfect fit.
|Steve and Ed at an early season Mets game.|
Ed, of course, is wearing a Giants hat.
In a recent letter to our teachers and staff, Ed wrote: “Today, I shared that I will not be returning to Friends’ School next year. It wasn’t easy to share. I am forever grateful for my time here and to be able to work with such an amazing staff has been so meaningful! What I love about Friends’ is how everyone is supported, everyone matters, and everyone cares deeply about kids, and sees the best in any situation!
Unfortunately, I have some health issues that have been challenging for me. This has made it difficult for me to function at the level that I am accustomed to. I take great pride in helping grow high quality teachers! What a gift to be a part of that. I am so privileged to be a part of this high functioning team. Thank you. With love to you all, Ed.”
Beginning in August, the new Director of the TPP will be Julie Hart. Julie currently works alongside Ed as the Program Manager of the TPP. Julie has earned an EdD in Leadership for Educational Equity - with a specialization in Instructional Leadership - and an M.A. in Educational Psychology, both from the University of Colorado Denver. She has been a part of the Friends’ family for many years, as a graduate of our TPP, as a teacher in our elementary and preschool, and as an adviser in the TPP. She knows our TPP inside and out and is uniquely qualified to take over the helm as the Director later this year.
|Julie Hart, EdD|
Julie will be hiring a new Program Manager for the TPP. If you know of anyone who may be a good fit for this position, please direct them to this link.
In the meantime, we will enjoy Ed’s company and expertise for a few more months.
On a personal note, I will enjoy the passion and laughter that Ed brings to Friends’ School each and every day. I will enjoy the high spirits, the stories from the front lines of the TPP, and, of course, once baseball spring training starts in a few days, Ed’s wildly optimistic predictions for how his beloved Mets will do this year.
This is certainly not adieu, but simply au revoir, to a first-class educator, a passionate teacher of teachers, and an even better man.