From Head of School Crissy Cáceres:
With profound appreciation for each of you and high hopes for our future, I am delighted to announce that Jason Novak will be our Head of the Lower School effective July 1, 2020. Jason will succeed Jackie Condie, who completes her 31st year at BFS in June with an outstanding record of leadership, expert curricular enhancement and innovation, and above all, a core of concern for every one of the colleagues and students in her care. Her distinguished legacy sets a firm foundation from which Jason will grow the Lower School from strength to strength, supported by colleagues who are unmatched in their teaching, professionalism, and dedication.
In his interview sessions at BFS with colleagues, students, and families, Jason’s substantial experience as a collaborative leader as well as his affinity for and experience within Quaker education stood out. Among the widespread feedback were these comments from colleagues, families, and students which punctuate the array of Jason’s strengths and contributions to lower school education.
Jason is currently the Director of Primary School (K-Grade 5) at Lowell School in Washington, D.C., where he leads a teaching staff of 40 and directs all curricular initiatives, support services, family communications, and community engagement for a 190-member student body. Through this position, he also has garnered valuable leadership experience in admissions, marketing, facilities and construction project management, peer school outreach, and work in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
After graduating from Duquesne University (Pittsburgh) with a B.S. in Music Education and K-12 Teacher Certification, Jason began his career as a music teacher specializing in early childhood and lower school but also working with older students. After more than a decade of teaching in a variety of school settings in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Washington state, he found a professional home at Abington Friends School in suburban Philadelphia in 2010. Initially, he taught Music and Movement and then became the Assistant Head of Lower School. In this position, he helped to revitalize the Extended Day Program, coordinated the infusion of the Reggio Emilia approach into the program, and was involved in all aspects of Lower School administration and management.
It was during this time that Jason received his M.A. in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, Jason brings to BFS a long list of professional accomplishments and points of focus in areas including Quaker education, social-emotional learning, LGBTQ+ youth and families, equity and justice leadership, and the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education.
Jason was appointed after a national search, which drew a diverse body of candidates interested in the role. I am thankful for the work and support of the LS Head Advisory Search Committee, which included the following colleagues:
Kate Minear, LS Math Specialist
Hannah Munger, LS Second Grade Head Teacher
Beth Duffy, MS Learning Specialist
Dani Clarke, LS Kindergarten Head Teacher
Sarah Mina Gordon, LS Third Grade Head Teacher
Joy Roberts, PS Administrative Assistant
Laura Hulbert, LS Learning Specialist
Tracy Chow, LS Technology Integrator
Caroline Segarra, LS Learning Specialist
The Committee reviewed dozens of resumes and conducted many virtual interviews. Ultimately, four finalist candidates were hosted for a day at our school, eliciting feedback from colleagues, students, as well as Preschool and Lower School families. This was a broadly inclusive process, and I am sincerely grateful to the Committee for the many hours of their earnest and purposeful work.
Throughout this process, I have been genuinely moved by the enthusiasm, warmth and support of all members of the community. Your passion for education and the high esteem in which you hold our students are a credit to our school. This July, Jason and his husband, Alejandro, will join our community, and I ask that you join me in welcoming them with the warmth that is a distinctive marker of who we are.
Below, I have included a message from Jason.
In partnership and friendship,
Head of School
From Jason Novak:
Dear Brooklyn Friends School Community,
It is a true honor to be selected as the next Head of Lower School at Brooklyn Friends, and I am elated to be joining all of you in community. The combination of Quaker values alongside an environment that is committed to cultivating an intellectually ambitious and diverse community that celebrates each individual’s gifts excites me greatly. I look forward to collaborating with the entire BFS community as together we continue to inspire all members of our community in voicing their convictions, to discover and pursue their passions, and to seek truth.
With deep gratitude, I would like to thank Crissy Cáceres, Head of School, the LS Head Search Advisory Committee, and all of the families, colleagues, and students who were present throughout the process. I was truly moved during my time with everyone at the school. From my tour of the facilities, to witnessing the depth and breadth of the lower school programming, to enjoying my interview and lunch with the fourth grade students when they spontaneously burst into song, the heart and spirit of the BFS community shined brightly throughout my visit to the school. As I exited my visit day, I was overwhelmed by the shared sense of connection with the Divine Light that came forth from each person I engaged with during our time together.
As we look ahead to spring and summer, I look forward to connecting with all of you as my arrival to BFS draws closer. In partnering to continue to broaden our vision of the importance of Friends education, I look forward to sharing in the work with all of you to further the importance of a BFS education for the many generations to come. My husband, Alejandro, and I are deeply grateful and excited to be joining the BFS community.
In friendship, and with gratitude,