Welcome to the Ethical Culture Fieldston School

It is the honor of my lifetime to be offered the opportunity to return to the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, the place where I grew up as an educator, as your Head of School. From almost the first minute that I came to teach a sample lesson over 35 years ago, I realized the unique and special environment that exists on these campuses. The School captured me and held me close for 17 years. I learned how to be a teacher from other teachers and students who inspired me. I learned that social and emotional growth must accompany academic and intellectual growth, or the true mission of education is not met. I learned how progressive education can transform the experience of students by putting them in the center of a relevant, authentic, and intellectual experience. I spent time with remarkable adolescents who became uniquely positioned to be active citizens in the world because of their time at ECFS.

Ethical Culture Fieldston School Joe Algrant speaking to large group of upper school students on the quad

Since I left 20 years ago, I’ve touted similar values and watched them take root in two different upper schools. The spirit of ECFS has never left me, much like what we hope for our students. What I learned at ECFS has served as the foundation for the ways I have approached my work ever since. It has been my north star, and this moment feels like a homecoming.

At the same time, I am excited to see what has changed in the last 20 years and to learn the ECFS of 2022. I am sure that much is different, as it should be, and I was energized during the interview process to meet many of you who are currently leading the School forward. I witnessed dedicated teachers, lively and engaged students, supportive and involved parents. I ran into staff members who have been the backbone of operations for all these years and alumni who remember the School so fondly. Your combined enthusiasm for the School is evident at every level and in every conversation. I look forward to re-joining this vibrant and committed community, and to digging into the challenges that we face.

I know that there is endless promise and potential here, and its rich and glorious history can power ECFS into the future.


Joe Algrant,
Head of School