Laurence Van Meter – Head of School 2001-2018
Laurence (Larry) Van Meter, MFS Class of 1968, served as Head of School from 2001-2018. He was passionate about education, the natural world, and woodworking, and these diverse interests were reflected in his work experience.
During his tenure at MFS, student enrollment grew 10% to the current 715 and Mr. Van Meter guided two Strategic Planning processes in collaboration with the entire MFS community. These plans served as guiding documents for the MFS community emphasizing the Twin Pillars of academic excellence and spiritual & ethical growth. He oversaw the introduction of Mandarin Chinese instruction in the Middle and Upper School and a Coding program for Preschool – Grade 5, as well as enhanced Intensive Learning options and a summer Co-Op program for rising juniors and seniors. He helped to grow the Camden Scholars program to the current 16 students and built the restricted endowment that helped support that program.
A number of exciting physical changes to the campus also occurred during his tenure as Head of School, highlighted by a new Field House and Arts Center which opened in 2002, and westward expansion of the campus including the former Greenleaf retirement community property, now home to Hartman Hall, which opened in 2012. Hartman Hall, named for former MFS teacher Neil Hartman, contains eight math classrooms, a choral music suite and rehearsal room, a tech lab, and more. Hartman Hall is connected to the main campus by McShap Path which leads to Mecray Courtyard outside the Field House.
Prior to becoming Head of School at Moorestown Friends, Mr. Van Meter served as Headmaster of Darrow School in New York from 1994-2001. He was Director of Advancement at George School in Pennsylvania from 1989-1994 and in the 1980s, he held the following positions: Director of Marketing for Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers in Maine, Executive Director of the Appalachian Trail Conference in West Virginia, and teacher at The Mountain School in Vermont. In the 1970s, he worked as the Executive Director of the Green Mountain Club in Vermont and spent three seasons as a state forest ranger on Vermont’s storied Long Trail. He also worked for the University of Vermont and U.S. Forest Service.
Mr. Van Meter retired in June 2018, in conjunction with the 50th reunion of his graduation from Moorestown Friends. An accomplished writer and avid outdoorsman, Mr. Van Meter enjoys hiking the Appalachian Trail and has penned columns that have appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe, and Friends Journal. He serves on the boards of Darrow School, Medford Leas, and the Forman S. Acton Educational Foundation based in Salem, N.J. He also serves on the board of advisors of George Nakashima Woodworker in New Hope, PA. He is a former trustee of Wilmington Friends School, Friends Education Fund, Friends Council on Education, and Berkshire Country Day School. He will continue to enjoy his many hobbies throughout his retirement, as well as spend time with family, friends and out on the Appalachian Trail.
A native of Moorestown, he is a lifelong member of Moorestown Friends (Quaker) Meeting. He attended MFS from prekindergarten through his senior year.
Mr. Van Meter has an M.B.A. from Dartmouth (Amos Tuck School), a B.A. in history from Hamilton College, and an A.A.S. in Woodworking and Furniture Design from Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts.