For over 30 years, Princeton Friends School (PFS) has stood as an oasis of peace, kindness, creativity, open-mindedness, and progressive education. Founded in 1987 by seasoned educators committed to creating an experiential, collaborative and socially engaged pedagogy that encourages each student to reach full potential, PFS has at its heart the Quaker notion that there is an “inner light” in each of us, and each child has unique gifts and talents. Students are called upon to discover their own voices and interests within the framework of robust academics, learning to “let their lives speak.”
Six months ago, I joined this community as the Interim Head of School. I made a two-year commitment to the School Committee (board of trustees) to help build a bridge from the rich legacy of the past into a new era in which the school is well-positioned for a promising future. One of the reasons I was drawn to PFS is because of the wisdom within the School Committee that a two-year transitional period following the founding Head of School was essential to the health and sustainability of the institution before the selection of a new leader.
The School Committee understood that in order to launch a new beginning with a clear sense of shared purpose within the full PFS community, it would need to navigate through times of soul-searching, direction-finding, and re-patterning. It recognized that the school community needed time and space to reflect on what used to be, to make meaning of the transition, and to begin to imagine who and what we want to be in order to arrive at a better version of PFS.
In my experience with previous leadership transitions, I have found that most organizations in the midst of such a change need to engage in active work to move through the process successfully. My role as the Interim Head of School is to shepherd us through these times while ensuring that our talented teachers and staff deliver the high quality education that is a hallmark of PFS.
In addition, I have the dual role to prepare the institution for new leadership and to prepare new leadership to thrive at PFS. My goals for this stream of work can be summarized by four key actions – Stabilize, Search, Select and Sustain.
I am delighted to join the Search Committee in identifying the next Head of School, who will take the helm in July 2020. I have every confidence that the leader who is selected will be empowered to lead the school community in re-envisioning our mission, leveraging the richness of our legacy, building on our core strengths, seizing opportunities, and innovating new processes to guide our school into a bright and robust future.
Our work in seeking and selecting the next Head of School begins. My service on the search committee is yet another way that I can let my life speak.