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HomeAboutGovernanceJuly letter from Clerk of the School Committee

July 3, 2020

Letter from clerk of the LFS School Committee

Dear LFS families,
The School Committee is enormously pleased to announce that Neal Brown has been named Interim Head of School for Lansdowne Friends. The search process yielded three outstanding finalists, and after interviews and campus tours, consensus quickly emerged: Neal’s candidacy received universal and highly enthusiastic endorsement.
Neal most recently has served for 12 years as Head of School at Green Acres School, a
progressive Pre-K-8 school outside of Washington, D.C. where he is widely recognized as an inspirational, dedicated, collaborative, and effective leader. Prior to Green Acres, he served as Assistant Head at Nashoba Brooks School, a Pre-K-8 school in Concord, MA, and before that he coordinated the Coalition of Essential Schools at Brown University in Rhode Island. Before assuming these administrative roles, he taught history at Brimmer and May School in Chestnut Hill, MA.
While Head at Green Acres, Neal extended and deepened diversity, equity, and inclusion programming for students, staff, parents, and the wider community. He increased the focus on professional development, teacher support, and evaluation, and strengthened the curriculum across all subject areas using the Understanding by Design framework. This past spring, the remote learning program he helped set in motion at Green Acres in response to the pandemic was a resounding success. He is eager to learn about and support the comprehensive planning already
well underway by LFS faculty and staff to prepare for the coming year.
Most importantly, Neal’s educational philosophy aligns beautifully with the mission of Lansdowne Friends. In his cover letter to the Search Committee, Neal wrote, “While Green Acres is not a Quaker School, it has much in common with Lansdowne Friends. This includes a deep commitment to equity and inclusion, an emphasis on service to the community, and a focus on helping children to develop a sense of efficacy through thematic, project-based learning that connects to the real world. Schools like ours build on the natural curiosity of children and give them authentic opportunities to take initiative and to resolve conflicts thoughtfully and peacefully. I am drawn to Quaker values and their attention to joyful learning, compassion for
others, social/emotional growth, creativity over compliance, and developmentally appropriate teaching practices.”
Neal’s outstanding references – from faculty, board members, and parents – emphasized his tremendous skills as a collaborator, a listener, and a leader adept at handling the challenging conversations and decisions that every school head faces. One teacher wrote that Neal’s leadership is “…based on progressive principles of equality, authenticity, community, inclusivity, and compassion. If you want to know Neal’s character, you need look no further than these humanistic principles, which he embodies as if they were born into his genetic code...[His] optimism and positivity brought joy to the workplace.” An administrator wrote, “He is really terrific with students of all ages. Lower School students love Neal…He makes a point to have
chats and discussions with children every day, including our very youngest children…His warmth and honesty shine through when he talks to parents.”

Neal will start on July 20, and he is eager to learn as much as he can about the school and about Quaker education. To ensure a smooth transition, Neal will overlap with John McKinstry for two weeks, and will meet with a transition team composed of school committee members, faculty members and staff as he assumes his new position.
We plan to arrange opportunities for school families to meet Neal before the school year begins so that you can join us in welcoming him, his wife Laura, and his two college-age children, Evan and Lila, to the LFS community we all love.
Sincerely,
Judy
Clerk, School Committee