I am delighted to announce the appointment of Nigel Furlonge as Fieldston Upper School's new principal beginning July 1, 2018.
He comes to us from Holderness School, where he has served as Assistant Head of School since 2015. A graduate of Boston Latin School and the University of Pennsylvania, with graduate degrees from Villanova University and the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University, Nigel brings an array of experiences to Fieldston. His work as a founding team member at the Christina Seix Academy in Trenton, New Jersey, included designing and implementing the school's initial admissions process, its residential life program, and the co-curricular arts and athletics offerings. He also served at The Lawrenceville School as Academic Dean, St. Andrew's School as Director of Studies, and was a lead teacher for both the History Group and Diversity Group at Columbia University's Klingenstein Summer Institute. Nigel's unique experiences in a number of our nation's most distinguished schools, coupled with his passion for providing educational access across the socioeconomic spectrum and racial-ethnic divide in our society, resonate with Fieldston's identity and mission.
Nigel's authenticity, candor, warmth, and nimble intellect resonated with each constituency who encountered him over the two-day gauntlet of his visit. His humor and easy grace made adults and students alike comfortable in his presence. Among the qualities stakeholders noted as important were his ability to listen actively, to reflect, to cite the value of neuroscience research in informing pedagogical practice, to think strategically, to emphasize the importance of quantitative and qualitative data in informing decision-making, and to underscore the importance of process and of including the range of communal voices in contemplating significant initiatives, especially those entailing change.
About his visit with us, Nigel himself shared, "I was inspired by the engaged students I encountered at Fieldston, the vibrant adult community of learners and leaders, and the strong feeling of fellowship suggestive of a school with a soul. Fieldston's soul is manifest in its enduring vision of excellence in progressive education, in its deep commitment to equity and inclusion, and in the school's cultivation of ethical individuals who aim to make the world more humane."
In his educational philosophy statement, Nigel writes, "I believe that schools should have the courage to be great. Here I refer to the greatness Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. describes when he says, 'If you want to be great--wonderful. But recognize that everybody can be great. Because everybody can serve.... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.' The challenge, then, for any school, is to determine what grace looks like in its community, what it means to serve, and how its members steward and protect the school's soul." I think we are lucky indeed to have found a leader for our Upper School who shares values consonance with our mission and communal aspirations. Phillip Peck, Nigel's current head of school, writes, "Jessica, we are deeply saddened to be losing Nigel, but we are pleased for the opportunity he has working with you and the Fieldston community. Congratulations! You are getting a truly remarkable leader, educator, and human being in Nigel."
I am deeply grateful for the ECFS community's engagement in the search process and the thoughtful, dedicated work of the search committee co-chaired with me by Jameel Freeman, Associate Director of College Counseling. Please join me in thanking Jameel along with Margot Bridger, P+T Chair, constituent trustee, and parent; Stephen Chu, Math teacher; Liz Fernández, Assistant Head of School, Ethical Education & Social Impact; Ben Ginsburg, FSG Co-President, student; Kenny Graves, Ethics & Technology Coordinator; Meg Hanson, Math Chair, parent; Dhari Noel, Ethics & Performing Arts teacher, alumnus; John Reyes, Grade Dean, math teacher; Jennifer Tammi, History Chair, parent; Dachelle Washington, FSG Co-President, student; and Ying Wu, Mandarin teacher.
Joining Nigel in the move to New York City are his wife, Dr. Nicole L.B. Furlonge, as well as their daughter, Logan (13), and their two sons, Lucas (10) and Wyatt (6). As soon as we set the date for a reception at Fieldston to welcome Nigel and his family to ECFS, I will share it. Faculty, staff, students, and parents will also have the opportunity to engage with Nigel throughout the transition process.
Head of School