September 28, 2017

A New Head of School for Friends

Honor Taft, our Head-Elect
By now, you have heard the news that Friends School’s Community Board has named Honor Taft as our next head of school, to begin on July 1, 2018.  If you missed the announcement, you can read it here.

I am tremendously excited by this news.  I am confident that Honor is the best person to take the helm at Friends and I look forward to working with her to assure the best transition of leadership possible. 

Honor’s background at both Bank Street College of Education and The Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, both in New York City, give her the finest education and training for headship in a progressive, child-centered school like ours.  She has extensive leadership experience in multiple roles in independent schools and she has already told me how thrilled she is to have been selected as our next head of school.

Honor, as well as other finalist candidates, spent two full days at our school.  Over those days, she met with the Community Board and with a number of search support committees, our teachers and staff, parents, students, and alumni.  Many members of our community, myself included, spent a brief amount of time with her.

However, our Search Committee has been working diligently since last spring preparing for this moment.  They have put in countless hours in reading applications and resumes, holding interviews, reflecting, conducting research, debating, making reference calls, and making sure that Friends left no stoned unturned in finding the best new head.

On behalf of the entire Friends School community, I would like to extend my deep appreciation for the unseen and dedicated work of our search committee, ably led by Board Chair Elizabeth Henna.  They are Maureen Espinoza, Diane Hullet, Anne Hunter, Mindy Mullins, Howard Rubin, Chris Wirth, Liz Richards, Jessie Vanden Hogen, Erika Norman, Meg Hansen, and our Founder Trustees Bev Cole, Larry Gold, and Hope Morrissett.

We also owe gratitude to our search consultants from the firm Carney Sandoe & Associates who guided our process to this excellent conclusion: Jake Dresden and Ben Bolté. Many groups and individuals deserve thanks for their participation in this process, and Elizabeth Henna expresses those thanks in her earlier letter to the community.

While the search committee did the bulk of the heavy lifting, it is ultimately our Community Board who had the final vote on selecting the new head of school.  The fact that the vote was unanimous speaks volumes for our community’s faith that Honor is indeed the best person for the job.

Now that we know the identity of our next head, it becomes our collective responsibility to make sure Honor is successful in her new role.  I am very much looking forward to connecting frequently with Honor in the coming months to pass on my knowledge and understanding of Friends School, and I will remain available to her even after formally passing the torch.  We have already been in touch.

Trustee Jenefer Donovan will lead the school’s Head Transition Committee.  Jenny has rich experience in independent school governance and will lead a fantastic team in planning and achieving as smooth a transition as possible.  Working alongside Jenny and her team, I will do all that I can to create a seamless handoff.

In the meantime, there is still plenty to do, and many months ahead, for me to work with the staff, teachers and trustees, and of course our students, to ensure our school remains a happy and connected place of learning, moving forward, and fulfilling our goals for the year ahead.

The future of Friends School is in great hands. 

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