Head of School Search

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Welcome to the Moorestown Friends School Head of School Search page. This page will serve as a resource for the school community throughout the search process. Here, you will find communications related to the search for the next Head of Moorestown Friends School and links to information about the Head Search Committee and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the search. All communications that are shared about the search will be posted on this page below.

With the help of all the school’s constituencies via face-to-face meetings and on-line surveys, the Head Search Committee (HSC) is now actively recruiting candidates for Head of School. Our search firm, Isaacson, Miller is receiving resumes and vetting candidates. The HSC will soon begin the process of evaluating candidates and selecting first semi-finalists and then finalists. As we approach this task we have decided to add a member to the committee, Upper School Math Teacher and Camden Scholars Program Director Dot Lopez. Dot brings special talents to the process at this important juncture. She is especially attuned to the Upper School. She has a deep understanding of the school’s commitment to diversity. And she is frequently involved in school-wide administrative and policy issues. The HSC looks forward to adding her insights and knowledge to our deliberations. Click here to see the full list of the HSC members.

The work of the committee will continue to be confidential until the finalist stage. But in the meantime you will receive occasional updates, such as this one.

Cordially,

Barbara Rose Caldwell
Trustee
Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee

Nick Smith
School Committee Clerk
Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee

As co-clerks of the Head of School Search Committee, we wanted to share an update on the search process. In mid-November, Larry Van Meter ’68 announced to the entire school community that he will be retiring as Head in June 2018. The school has benefited greatly from his leadership and we look forward to honoring Larry and celebrating his service to MFS next spring. In the meantime, the School Committee and the Head of School Search Committee have been hard at work on the process to identify the next Head of School and to prepare for the leadership transition.

The Search Committee is working with Isaacson, Miller, consultants who have deep experience in recruiting candidates to fill key not-for-profit management positions. To engage the full community in the search process, the Search Committee and Isaacson, Miller distributed an online survey to gather feedback from MFS community members to assist in the development of the job description and profile. In addition, consultants from Isaacson, Miller spent two days on campus, January 25 and 26, to conduct Listening Sessions with various groups of community members, including students. Nearly 400 people shared data via on the on-line survey and approximately 200 people participated in the Listening Sessions.

Isaacson, Miller compiled survey data and feedback from the Listening Sessions, and working together with the Search Committee, drafted a Position Profile for the next Head of School. The Position Profile contains an overview of the school, outlines the priorities for the new Head, and notes the qualifications for the role. The School Committee has reviewed the profile and it now resides on the Issacson, Miller website as well as the school’s website:

Head of School position profile

We are pleased with the document and encourage you to take a few moments to read through it. If you have a candidate to suggest, please contact Sheryl Ash at Isaacson, Miller – sash@IMSearch.com. Moving forward, Isaacson, Miller will promote the position through numerous channels and, in the coming months, the Search Committee will focus its work on studying the candidate pool, and identifying individuals for confidential interviews. Given the confidential nature of the process, there will not be a lot of news to share until late summer when finalists for the position are announced.

We look forward to welcoming finalists to campus early in the fall to spend a day and a half at MFS to meet with the school community.

You can visit the Head of School Search Committee web page for a complete record of all communications about the search process as well as a Q & A fact sheet and listing of search committee members.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to the mission of the school.

Cordially,

Barbara Rose Caldwell
Trustee
Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee

Nick Smith
School Committee Clerk
Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee

Head of School
Moorestown Friends School
Moorestown, NJ

PDF file of advertisement

Moorestown Friends School is a community rooted in Quaker values and dedicated to the pursuit of educational excellence for a diverse student body within an academically rigorous and balanced program emphasizing personal, ethical and spiritual growth.

Moorestown Friends School (“MFS” or “School”), a coeducational Quaker day school serving students age 3 through Grade 12, invites nominations and applications for the position of Head of School.

Founded in 1785, the original MFS, a one-room stone schoolhouse, has today evolved into a warm and welcoming, proudly diverse, and dynamic learning community. It is a school that remains committed to celebrating its traditions and honoring its essential ingredients – a commitment to Quaker values and academic rigor – while encouraging innovation and continued growth. MFS’s 723 students receive a first-rate education from the School’s 100+ faculty, who deliver a challenging, engaging, and relevant curriculum of study across the three academic divisions. Graduates leave MFS well prepared for college and beyond, ready to tackle the real world as confident citizens and thoughtful leaders.

Under Larry Van Meter’s leadership over the past 16 years, MFS has thrived in an increasingly competitive landscape, weathering demographic changes and the 2008 financial downturn with steady enrollment numbers and balanced budgets. For the current academic year, MFS’s operating budget is just under $18.5 million and, since 2011, the School’s endowment has nearly doubled from $6.5 million to $11.3 million. During his tenure, Larry has been instrumental in refocusing the School’s commitment to its Quaker values, working with the senior leadership team and faculty to infuse the core tenets of integrity, community, equality, and service across the curriculum and the MFS community. He also oversaw a number of important facilities improvements and additions over the last decade and a half along with several curricular and programmatic innovations.

Looking ahead to its future, Moorestown Friends’ next Head of School will have the exciting opportunity to build upon this extraordinary momentum. The successful candidate will have a proven record of institutional leadership, including sound fiscal management, fundraising acumen, and administrative success, a passion for working with children and teenagers alike, and a deeply-held connection and commitment to MFS’s mission, heritage, and culture. In its next Head of School, the Board seeks a consensus-minded community builder and lifelong learner with the ability to articulate a comprehensive and compelling identity and vision for MFS going forward. She or he should embody the core Quaker values, an appreciation of diversity broadly defined, and an unwavering commitment to building equity

MFS has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in the recruitment of its next Head of School. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be submitted to the search firm in confidence at www.imsearch.com/6023.

Dear Members of the MFS Community,

On behalf of the Head of School Search Committee, we would like to invite you to participate in the first phase of the Head Search process.  In working with our consultants from Isaacson, Miller, we will produce a Profile Description, which will identify the key skills needed for the next Head of School, and also highlight the history of our Quaker school, and the many opportunities as well as challenges that MFS will face in the years ahead.

To develop the Profile Description, we invite you to complete a confidential survey that has been composed by the Search Committee for the school community.  The data will be accessible only to Issaacson, Miller and they will share key themes, observations, recommendations, etc. with the Search Committee.  Please go here to participate in the survey.  The deadline to complete the survey is January 27.

In addition, for those who are able to come to campus, Isaacson, Miller will host group Listening Sessions on Wednesday, January 25 and Thursday, January 26.   The consultants will meet with faculty, staff, and students from the Upper School, Middle School, and fourth grade.  There are also Listening Sessions scheduled for current parents, as well as alumni, parents of alumni, grandparents, friends and former faculty, coaches, and members of Moorestown Monthly Meeting.   The Listening Sessions are scheduled to run approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Please consult the schedule below for the Listening Sessions and mark your calendar to participate.  Most of the Listening Sessions are scheduled to be held in the D’Olier Room of the Meeting House, but please consult the Head of School Search webpage for the latest information on the schedule or call the receptionist at (856) 235-2900.  During the school day, please park in the large lot in the back of campus.

Once completed in late February, the Profile Description will be featured on the Head of School Search web page, and will be used by Isaacson, Miller to promote the position with prospective candidates.  Thank you for your support as we seek to find a worthy and talented successor to Larry Van Meter.

Sincerely,

barbara-sig                             smith-signature-email

Barbara Rose Caldwell                                                                    Nick Smith
Trustee                                                                                              School Committee Clerk
Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee                               Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee

Head of School Search Committee Members

Toni Proffitt Brown                                                        Phil Lippincott

Emily Traver Gojman                                                   Naoji Moriuchi ’94

Jacob Stein Greenberg                                                 Whitney “Whitty” Ransome ’63


 

Listening Session Schedule with Head Search Consultants Isaacson, Miller

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 

8 a.m.               Current Parents

9:30 a.m.         Former Trustees

10:50 a.m.       Faculty

1 p.m.               Middle School Students

2 p.m.               4th Grade Students

3:30 p.m.         Faculty

5 p.m.               Current Parents

7 p.m.               Alumni, Parents of Alumni, Members of Moorestown Meeting, Grandparents, Coaches, Former Faculty

Thursday, January 26, 2017

8 a.m.               Current Parents

9:30 a.m.         Administrative Council

10:50 a.m.       Faculty, Professional Staff, Administrative Assistants, Maintenance

1 p.m.               Upper School Student Government

2 p.m.               Professional Staff, Administrative Assistants, Maintenance, Evening Crew

3:30 p.m.         Faculty

5 p.m.               Current Parents

7 p.m.               Alumni, Parents of Alumni, Members of Moorestown Meeting, Grandparents, Coaches, Former Faculty

 

All Listening Sessions are scheduled to take place in the D’Olier Room of the Meeting House.  However, for the latest information on the Listening Sessions and the Head of School Search, please consult www.mfriends.org/head-of-school-search.

Letter from Head of School Larry Van Meter

Dear Nick,

For as long as anyone can remember, a Red-tailed Hawk has resided on the MFS campus. Red-tails are steady in their longevity: typically monogamous for life and rooted to their home habitat.

So perhaps the grandparent, or great-grandparent, of the robust hawk that currently nests at MFS would have observed, with its keen vision, a little kid with curly blond hair in “short pants” and high-topped leather tie shoes entering the White Building with his mother. That little kid would be me, and the year would be 1954.

I don’t recall much about my early days in Prekindergarten at MFS, but do remember feeling quickly at home. My teacher, Betty Gravatt, whom I still see from time to time, was warm and caring. Five of my PK classmates graduated with me 14 years later, and as MFS “originals” we had a wonderful experience marked by larger-than-life teachers who changed our lives.

After graduating in 1968, I headed out into the world determined to be done with Friends education and South Jersey. For over 30 years, that worked. Margaret and I lived in places like Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and West Virginia. But in 2001, I returned to my hometown, my home school, and my home Friends meeting to become head of MFS. The call of Moorestown Friends was strong.

Although there have surely been challenges along the way — a deep recession, changing pedagogies, shifting demographics — MFS has done well. I am especially proud of the expansion of our campus and the creation of Hartman Hall, the introduction of Mandarin and Lower School computer coding, the growth of the Camden Scholars program and endowment, and, perhaps most importantly, our unabashed affirmation of the school’s foundational Quaker values.

At its core, a school is defined and brought to life every day by its people. And that’s where the greatest strength of MFS lies. Our faculty and staff are superb role models, and, as I am fond of saying, our students are the very best thing about MFS. Smart, grounded, and remarkably kind and thoughtful. Not many schools can boast of such great kids who are, indeed, going places. They are young people with tough minds and tender hearts.

As you know, I have long planned to retire upon my 50th MFS class reunion in 2018. I have deeply appreciated your support, and that of your predecessor, Naoji Moriuchi, for that plan. It has been a great pleasure to work with you and the other trustees and School Committee officers, including former clerks Bill Guthe and Tom Zemaitis. Margaret, Matt ’03, Luke ’05, and I have felt embraced by this community from the day in July 2001 when we moved into the head’s residence, and that embrace has only grown stronger and warmer over time.

There’s much still to do over the next 19 months! People who know me will not be surprised to learn that in this closing chapter, I will be focusing ever more intently on achieving important goals for the school.

I am confident that the grand-hatchlings of today’s MFS hawk will view a school that in 2050 is not only financially strong but continues to embrace academic excellence and Quaker values. A school that produces kind and compassionate leaders; a community that empowers our graduates to let their lives speak.

Warmly,

Laurence R. Van Meter ‘68
Head of School


Letter from Board Chair to the MFS Community

Dear members of the Moorestown Friends School community,

On behalf of the School Committee of Moorestown Friends School, I am writing to share our deep appreciation to Larry Van Meter for his 16 years of service as Head of School, and to accept his notice of retirement effective June 30, 2018.

As a trustee, and as Clerk of the School Committee, I have had the privilege of working closely with Larry for the past six years. He is the embodiment of what is most special about Moorestown Friends School, combining a pursuit of excellence in everything he does with a gentleness of spirit and ethical strength. Faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni all know Larry to be kind and generous, extremely bright and hardworking, and with a signal ability for strategic planning and institutional vision and leadership. As a parent, I often speak of the importance of role models for our students, and I point to the many shining examples among our faculty, staff, administrators, and coaches.  Larry is a beacon, not only for students but for all of us.

Larry will leave the school in a strong position. Today Moorestown Friends School has a well-earned reputation for having the most academically rigorous program in the area. During Larry’s tenure, dozens of honors and Advanced Placement courses have been added to the curriculum, along with a senior capstone opportunity, and expanded domestic and international Intensive Learning offerings. Larry and his team have been adept at hiring top-notch faculty, staff, and administrators who are passionate about their work with our children and committed to Friends education.

The improvements to the MFS campus since Larry’s arrival in 2001 are significant. The Great Classrooms for Great Kids campaign raised nearly $7 million to provide new teaching spaces and labs on the main campus and Hartman Hall on the Greenleaf property, which was acquired in 2008. Larry has also worked tirelessly to secure important resources for the school, including the $3 million in commitments announced last March to help endow the Camden Scholars Program. Our athletic program has also flourished — during Larry’s tenure we have achieved three Friends Schools League championships (in field hockey, baseball, and boys’ soccer), 10 NJSIAA South Jersey championships, and four boys’ fencing NJSIAA state championships.

Moorestown Friends School today delivers an excellent college preparatory program taught within the context of the all-important Quaker dimension, producing graduates who are prepared to “do well and do good” in the world. We will proceed with confidence as we embark on our search for a new Head of School, knowing that Moorestown Friends School enjoys a first-class reputation and will draw excellent candidates for the position.

A Head Search Committee consisting of trustees, faculty, alumni, current and past parents, and Quakers has been formed. This committee is co-clerked by Barbara Caldwell and me. Barbara is a current trustee and the former MFS Associate Head and Academic Dean. At the recommendation of the Head Search Committee, and after due thought and consideration, the School Committee has approved the selection of the search firm Isaacson, Miller to conduct the search for a new Head of School. Isaacson, Miller is a Boston-based national executive search firm that will deliver a deep and broad pool of candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Between today and June 30, 2018, we will have numerous opportunities to celebrate Larry’s many contributions to MFS, and of course during that same time period the important work of the school will continue apace. But after June 30, 2018, and speaking as a friend, I anticipate that Larry will find more time for woodworking, hiking the Appalachian Trail, serving on nonprofit boards, and spending more time with his wife, Margaret, and their sons Matt ‘03 and Luke ’05.

With gratitude and optimism,

smith-signature-email

Nick Smith
School Committee Clerk