A Welcome From Our Head of School

Welcome to the Ethical Culture Fieldston School.

It is my great honor and privilege as Interim Head of School to welcome you to the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Going into my sixth year at ECFS, I am excited to lead our dedicated faculty and staff and to share with you the many facets of our world-class progressive education.

At ECFS, we bring a progressive lens to every discipline and every division, from Pre-K to 12th Grade. We encourage students to break out of traditional frames of learning to think about issues in the world around them. We live in a contemporary society that demands contemporary solutions, and we prepare our students to be engaged citizens both in and out of the classroom. Take a look at some of what’s happening at our School every day. It’s innovative moments like these that make an ECFS education truly unique.

When I think about how our School has adapted to unprecedented events in recent years, what is most heartening to me is the resilience our community has shown. Our students, families, faculty, and staff have risen to meet the moment that our global community is experiencing, demonstrating remarkable creativity, flexibility, and maturity at every step of the way. At ECFS, we have always sought to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, and we continually draw on the many strengths of the members of our School.

As I look to the year ahead, I am excited to build upon the vision of Jessica Bagby, our Head of School Emerita, and to lay the foundational work for years to come. I hope you will take the time to explore our website and discover the many distinctive features of an ECFS education, including our student-centered approach at each of our four divisions, our commitment to ethics and service learning, and our tenets of progressive education.

To find out more about applying to our School, please visit our Admissions page here. Thank you for your interest in ECFS. I certainly hope you will choose to join our community.

A note from Joe Algrant, Incoming Head of School

Dear ECFS community,

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 next 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.

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 2021. 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.

See you soon,

Joe Algrant