Principal Search

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Joseph McCauley as Fieldston Lower's new principal beginning July 1, 2018.

Joe comes to us from Packer Collegiate Institute, where he has worked for the past 10 years, both as a fourth grade teacher and, for the last four years, as Assistant Head of Pre- and Lower School. Prior to that, Joe taught third and fourth grades at P.S. 72 in East Harlem for seven years. His tenure in both public and independent schools as a teacher first and then as an administrator has formed him and his practice in deep and distinctive ways that make him uniquely primed to lead and nurture the Fieldston Lower community and to further our school mission in partnership with faculty, staff, students, parents, and the administrative team.

Joe's infectious enthusiasm for students and progressive education was palpable during his visit. Indeed, his passion, warmth, humor, candor, and authenticity were magnetic and cited repeatedly across constituents in their feedback about him. His vision and experience leading curricular and co-curricular initiatives distinguished him as well--from facilitating social studies, literacy, and math curriculum design and revision to creating signature student-centered service learning and civic engagement programs to leading diversity, anti-bias, and social justice education at Packer and serving as a coach and mentor to his peers in that work. His references echoed one another in noting his gift for establishing engaging, supportive, and safe learning environments for students and colleagues alike. They also lauded simultaneously his dynamism and unselfishness as a leader, remarking on his ability to listen, his calm and steady center, his integrity, and his unfailing commitment to put students first and to empower his colleagues.

Joe's current head of school writes that he is "a gifted teacher and a truly fine leader. He has an outstanding rapport with his colleagues in whom he engenders both trust and affection. He has high standards and a warm heart." His current colleagues share, "He is a great educator. He loves kids, and they come first. He is progressive and seeks to innovate. He understands how children learn and what kinds of spaces will feel safe and conducive to learning for them. He cares about making the world a better place; he exudes that desire to put positive energy out into the world"; "Other teachers and peers are inspired by him. He wants students to have the opportunity to have the best learning experience possible, but he further believes that these youngsters can be positive change agents in the world. That is what drives him as an educator"; "His relationships with people are authentic and sincere"; "I would describe him as a collaborative leader. He creates spaces where everyone's voice can be heard, and he is able to help people be reflective."

We will have opportunities to welcome Joe McCauley to ECFS this spring; he is eager to visit and begin to get to know colleagues, students, and families at Fieldston Lower. In the meantime, he wanted to share this greeting, "I am incredibly excited to partner with all of you as the new Principal of Fieldston Lower! Thank you for your warmth, honesty, and thoughtful questions during my two-day visit on January 18-19. While it was only two days, I felt immediately connected to and inspired by the inclusive and passionate community you have all cultivated at ECFS. Across constituencies, everyone's commitment to the school's mission resonated with me most and made my decision an easy one. I am honored and humbled by this opportunity and am eager to collaborate and learn more about the numerous ways my new colleagues create such a child-centered and exceptional program for the students of Fieldston Lower. I look forward to getting to know each member of the community as an individual and to sharing more of who I am as an educator and a person. Until then, I hope you enjoy the second half of the school year, and I look forward to visiting!"

I am deeply grateful for the Fieldston Lower community's engagement in the search process and the thoughtful, dedicated work of the search committee co-chaired by Chia-Chee Chiu, Middle School Principal, and Preeti Fibiger, Fieldston Lower Assistant Principal. Please join me in thanking them along with Rob Cousins, Ethical Culture Lower School Principal; Jeannie Crowley, Director of Technology; Sarah T. Green, P+T Officer from Fieldston Lower, parent; Emily Grossman, FL, Visual Arts teacher, parent of alumnae; Meghan Mackay, Trustee, Educator, Chair of Education Committee, parent; Ellen McClain, Co-Chair, All-School Multicultural Committee, parent; Lillian Polite, FL, Kindergarten teacher; David Smelin, FL, 4th grade teacher; Taisha Thompson, Director of Enrollment Management & Community Outreach, parent. Laura Hansen and Jim Wickenden, our consultants from Wickenden Associates, were first-rate partners as well.

Jessica Bagby
Head of School