Sunday, November 28, 2010

A New Appointment

I am honored and grateful to have been appointed Head of School at Friends’ School in Boulder. The announcement was made last month. I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity and I am excited to be joining a school community which is such a caring, supportive, challenging place for children and adults to learn.

Friends’ School is committed to educating the whole child – “head, hand, and heart”. It has an educational philosophy that is wonderfully aligned with my own. Although I have known the school for a number of years through my work for the Teacher Preparation Program, my visits this fall truly helped me to see the amazing work being done at the school by gifted educators and committed parents. I am so impressed at how everyone at the school believes in the vision and mission that they have laid out. I am happy to be in a place where together we will continue to uphold that vision and mission and where we will work to meet the challenges set out in the school’s five year strategic plan and to build a school that is financially sustainable while losing none of the personality and charm that makes it what it is today.

I am thankful to Community Board Chair Fred Marienthal, all of the Search Committee members and the entire Friends’ community of Board members, teachers, staff, parents, students, and alumni, as well Jim Bonney and Jean Lamont of Educators’ Collaborative who participated in the national search. They dug deep, thought hard, and, I believe, trusted their gut. I am also profoundly grateful to retiring Head of School Polly Donald, whom I’ve known and respected for years, who is committed to teaching me and helping to make this transition as smooth as possible.

In addition, it would be remiss of me not to thank my ‘family’, friends and colleagues, at Stanley British Primary School, the school I’ve known and loved for twenty years. They have taught me well, supported me in this process, and prepared me for this next phase of the journey. Lastly, I am so grateful to my own family for walking every step of the way – to Laura, to my parents, to my daughters Emma and Leah, and to my loving partner, Steph.

To my new community at Friends’, I am looking forward to getting to know you all, working alongside you, and continuing to create a school that is like no other - one where children are challenged to know themselves, where subjects are taught in experiential, fully integrated ways, where creative and critical thinking and children’s natural curiosity are celebrated, where we all become an integral part of a caring community, where everyone is challenged and honored in a lifelong journey of learning.

I’m posting the letter that the Search Committee sent out to the Friends’ community. It is truly a privilege to be here. Thank you.



The Community Board is thrilled to announce that Steve de Beer will be our next Head of Friends’ School.

As a well-organized master teacher with administrative responsibilities at a progressive independent school, Steve has an excellent foundation to become our next Head of School.

Steve brings many qualities to our community as a Head of School, including:

• A deep understanding and commitment to the vision, mission, and educational philosophy of Friends’ School;
• Engaging and collaborative leadership skills
• Strong working relationships with parents, faculty and administrators;
• Direct involvement in our Teacher Preparation Program and respect of those who worked with him;
• Enthusiastic support of the arts, plus experience directing and producing children’s theater; and
• A wonderful sense of play, meeting children at eye level, supported by 20 years in the classroom and comprehensive knowledge of child development.

While visiting Friends’ School, the children were openly excited about Steve. Not surprisingly, they met him with great enthusiasm during his time in the classrooms.

Steve is very enthusiastic about the opportunity to lead our school. Please help us welcome Steve to our community!
We will continue to keep you updated with news regarding our new Head of School.

The Friends’ School Community Board

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Man In The Moon

A short poem (by Steve):

The man in the moon
Owns a cheese shop
Has an acne scarred face
Waxes once a month

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An American Halloween

I got a call from my mother the other day. It was a couple of days before Halloween.

My mother still lives in England. When I was growing up there, Halloween looked nothing like it does here in America where I’m raising my daughters. No jack o’ lanterns or trick or treating, no costumes, ghouls or goblins. It was a time of remembrance, a church service in honor of those who had come and gone. It’s one of those areas where there is a big cultural difference between my old life and new. Some things get lost in translation.

However, my mum is somewhat aware of the American approach to Halloween and wanted to know what her grandchildren were up to. The conversation went something like this:

Mum: Are you and the girls going to a Halloween party this weekend?

Me: No, but we are going trick-or-treating.

Mum: Trick-or-treating? Is that where the children go from door to door asking for food?

Me: Er, yes, Mum, something like that.

Mum: Well, I don’t approve of that.

Me: You don’t approve of trick-or-treating? It’s a custom here. The kids get dressed up and have a great time.

Mum: It’s just not right. Making people get up and answer the door at night.

Me: The neighbours expect it, Mum. It’s a lot of fun for everyone.

Mum: I just don’t think that’s right. Teenagers looking all scary and going around knocking up old ladies.

As I said, some things get lost in translation. But she’s absolutely right. I don’t approve of that either.