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HomeAboutHead of School Search

Head of School Search

December 20, 2021

Dear Members of the Lansdowne Friends School Community,

On behalf of the Search Committee and the School Committee, it is our great honor to announce the appointment of Eric Mayer as our next Head of School, effective July 19, 2022. Eric's character, extensive experience in education, leadership skills, and profound commitment to our mission prepare him exceptionally well to serve as Head of School at LFS.

Prior to his nine-year stint as Head at St. Stephens School in Rome, Italy, Eric served Westtown School for 20 years as a teacher, chair of the Religion Department, and Upper School Head. A former Westtown colleague remembers him as a beloved teacher and a leader who brought respect, deep listening, and “design thinking” to his collaboration with other educators.

Earlier this year the Search Committee engaged with parents, staff, and School Committee members around our school’s needs. Our stakeholders made it clear that our next Head should have a record of commitment to, understanding of, and experience with working for diversity, equity and inclusion. We were impressed with the ways that Eric, an active member of a JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) group, was able to talk about his deep and longstanding commitment to inner and outer anti-racism and diversity work. His former Westtown School colleague put it this way: “For Eric, anti-racism work is like the fundamental Quaker philosophy of a Friends school: both need to seep out of the pores of the institution.”

The School Committee, having devoted much of this year to developing a three-year plan for achieving our triple goals of affordable tuition, higher faculty salaries, and higher standards for our school facilities, made it clear to us that LFS needs someone with financial acumen and the ability to fundraise. We believe that Eric’s extensive experience as an educational leader, fundraiser, and school administrator align very well with these critical needs. In addition, Eric is a gifted communicator and demonstrated an intuitive understanding and true excitement about what is uniquely special about Lansdowne Friends School. He will be able to tell our story well to donors, prospective families, and members of the school community.

As a lifelong Quaker, Eric is aligned with our school's Quaker values and well positioned to lead and support the school's Quaker practice. He is a proven team builder who deeply respects others. His alignment with our school’s Quaker and progressive educational philosophy equips him to support teacher collaboration and curriculum development, also important qualifications according to stakeholders.

Our candidates as a group brought such strong qualifications as to validate our school’s reputation among progressive educators. We were also pleased to see how our finalists embodied the kind of diversity that we had sought when designing our recruitment process. It was clear that Eric stood out as meeting our requirements across the board. In our process of discernment, we developed a strong, unified sense that Eric is well prepared to lead us as a community into its next exciting chapter. 

The process that has brought the Search Committee to this recommendation has been thoughtful, thorough, and grounded in the Quaker principles that underpin our community. Eric's appointment culminates a national and international search, and we are grateful to the many members of the school community who suggested candidates, attended Zoom sessions and in-person meetings, and offered helpful insights throughout the process. The Community’s strong participation has been invaluable, and strong support for Eric emerged from every stakeholder group. We are also deeply grateful for the hard work and diligent care of every member of the Search Committee for their efforts to provide meaningful opportunities for interactions between the finalists and the LFS community, and for sifting through and deliberating about all of the information and community feedback about the candidates, individually and as a group.

We await Eric’s arrival at LFS with great hope and excitement. And we think it fair to say that Eric accepted our offer with equal enthusiasm. In his own words,

"I am deeply honored to be joining the Lansdowne Friends School community as its next Head of School. Having spent several decades working in a Friends school in Philadelphia, I would often marvel at the ethos and social impact of Lansdowne Friends School. The School has a reputation far exceeding its size. When I came to interview, I shared that I thought its mission and accomplishments are unsurpassed in the Philadelphia area: a century of progressive child-centered education in an authentically diverse student and parent body, with a profound commitment to lowering financial barriers to entry.

I look forward to promoting and strengthening Lansdowne Friend School’s greatness, while addressing the next set of strategic challenges. I will learn every child’s name, and be a presence in classrooms, worship, and school events. I will invite parents to campus as often as Covid allows, and will rely on everyone's insights and wisdom to aid in my transition. I will need your help. I will partner with the School Committee in strengthening the School’s evolving business model while preserving the financial footing of the school. I very much hope to find new philanthropic revenue streams to increase access and social impact.

I’ll be starting in mid-July and can’t wait to meet all of you!"

 

Welcome Eric!

 

In partnership,

Judy Nicholson Asselin

Clerk, School Committee

 

Latesha Colbert-Mack

Co-Clerk, Search Committee

 

Dana Robinson

Co-Clerk, Search Committee