Meet our new head of lower school

Dear King School Community,

When I arrived for a tour of King a few weeks ago and I was lead through the halls by three dynamic Grade 5 students, I was struck by their confidence, pride in their school, and joy in being a King student. When asked what they loved about King, their answers were inspiring: “I love my teachers!” “I love the community.” “I love that we get to be leaders and we get to come into school through our own entrance!” After my day at King, I knew I’d found a very special school and I am delighted to accept the invitation to join the community as Head of Lower School.

I have dedicated my career to working with young learners in independent schools. Plato said, “The beginning is the most important part of the work” – and I believe that the foundation established in strong, early elementary classrooms helps provide a base for successes of all kinds. Lower School children thrive when they are known for their individual passions and strengths, in classrooms where they feel safe and valued. King’s classrooms skillfully blend engaging intellectual inquiry with kindness and compassion. I am eager to work with the dedicated teachers in the Lower School to continue King’s long tradition of academic excellence in a warm and caring community.

I am enthusiastic to begin working with the King administrative team and am especially excited about working with Head Elect Dr. Karen Eshoo. I plan to bring strong collaborative skills to my work with parents, teachers, and administrators as we, together, will continue King’s excellence in programming at the early childhood and elementary level.

Warmly,

Amy Vorenberg

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Learn about New Head of Lower School Amy Vorenberg

MEET HEAD OF LOWER SCHOOL AMY VORENBERG

Amy Vorenberg

Amy was most recently at Beauvoir, The National Cathedral Elementary School, a private PreK-Grade 3 school in Washington D.C. where she served as Head of School. Prior, she was Head of School at The Philadelphia School, a PreK-Grade 8 school, and was the Lower School Division Head at Shady Hill School in MA. Amy has also served as a classroom teacher in elementary schools. Her experience has been built at schools in major urban, independent school markets. She is widely viewed as an elementary school expert, particularly in terms of shaping developmentally appropriate, challenging curriculum for young learners. She has a BA from the University of New Hampshire and a MS in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College.

Amy enjoys outdoor activities, including walks in the woods, skiing, and golf. She also loves to cook and spend time with her extended family. Amy and her husband, Tom, also an educator, are excited to return to New England to be closer to family and their favorite sports team, the Red Sox. Amy and Tom have one daughter, Ella, who is a teacher in an independent school outside of Boston.

Q&A with Amy Vorenberg

Q&A with Amy Vorenberg

Why did you choose to join King School as the new Head of Lower School?

I am attracted to the dynamic interaction among King’s student-centered, challenging program, its expert teachers, and its kind community. I believe these elements combine to make King an exceptional school that empowers students to achieve their personal best. In my 20+ years in education, I have witnessed in countless ways the enormous, life-changing benefits of a robust early childhood and elementary school program. I am eager to bring my experience to help shape the vibrant future of King’s wonderful Lower School.

What do you feel distinguishes King from other schools?

I believe King’s student-centered program distinguishes King from its peers. King faculty know students as individuals and understand them as learners. Importantly, the faculty not only know the students, but also take great joy in challenging each student to realize his or her individual personal best. The close relationship between Lower School students and teachers, and the partnership with teachers and parents, help students get to know themselves as learners, empowering them with a self-awareness that opens up more avenues to explore and succeed. It is this approach to teaching and learning -- knowing each student’s personal passions and goals -- that I believe is at the center of King School.

How does King challenge students?

Teachers respect students as learners by asking them to stretch their capacity beyond the comfortable and known, and by providing rich opportunities for growth as students strive to realize their individual potential. Lower School faculty use student-centered approaches to teaching and learning, leveraging the latest research on best practices in education. A dedicated Director of Teaching and Learning in the Lower School, and in each division, supports the faculty. King has developed a proprietary, internal system that highlights each student’s strengths, challenges, and goals. Teachers actively contribute to and utilize this database to support each student’s development over time as a student moves through our challenging academic program.

Does King offer robust programs in STEM?

Yes! STEM is integrated throughout PreK-Grade 12 and students understand how these disciplines influence one another. In the Lower School, students develop elementary concepts of computer programming while enhancing their fine motor skills using iPads, Scratch programming, and animation software. The Singapore Math Program provides students with sold skills in numeracy, pattern recognition, and geometric relationships. A new Lower School makerspace provides inspiration and tools for students to tinker and practice designing solutions to real world problems, so students gain a greater sense of self-confidence and purpose.

What is the Readers and Writers workshop?

The Readers and Writers workshop approach helps Lower School students become avid and skilled readers and writers. Teachers are able to address both whole group skills, as well as differentiate for the needs of each student within smaller groups and one-on-one meetings. The goals established for each student are informed by assessments. Students spend large amounts of time reading and writing, engaging with material that is of high interest and aligns with their personal goals. There are different genres and topics for children to explore. Using a “just right” book, a book which a student can both decode and comprehend, and writing about a topic that has meaning to the student, stretches each student to achieve his or her personal best.

How do King teachers grow professionally?

King makes among the highest investments in Professional Growth and Development (PG&D) among our peer schools. 100% of teachers participate in at least two PG&D training sessions each year. King’s ongoing PG&D not only furthers teachers’ own learning in the areas of both student development and content mastery, but also engages teachers who believe enthusiastically in the joy of lifelong learning.

How does King prepare students for the transition to Middle School?

The Lower School believes that using an intentionally designed, two-year Grade 5/6 sequence as an incremental progression into the middle school prepares early adolescents for greater academic, social, and emotional success later in the middle and upper schools. This progression capitalizes on the developmental stage of Grade 5 students by positioning them as confident leaders of the Grade 5 program -- an important part of supporting them in their early adolescence -- while also exposing them to the content, skills, and transitional experiences that will prepare them for the challenges of Middle School.

What does King offer above and beyond a challenging academic program?

King students are encouraged to develop their talents and to pursue experiences in leadership roles, in the lab, on the field, on the state, in the art studio, and in music. Lower School students participate in a Talent Show in the fall and Grade 5 presents a spring musical. Additional enrichment offerings include Math Olympiad, Lego Mindstorms, Chess, and a Service Learning Club which offers ongoing opportunities to volunteer.

What is your impression of the King community?

I’m drawn to the King Virtues of integrity, kindness, perseverance, and respect. I believe these exemplify the community’s commitment to inclusion, social responsibility, and skills needed to succeed in a multicultural world. In speaking with the teachers, students, and parents, I can tell that they genuinely care for and listen to one another.

Announcement of New Head of Lower School

Dear King Community:

I am very pleased to announce, on behalf of the Head of Lower School Search Committee, that Ms. Amy Vorenberg will be the new Head of Lower School at King, effective July 1, 2018.

We all owe much gratitude to our dedicated Search Committee for their excellent work: Co-Chairs Marnie Sadlowsky and David Hursty; trustees Tom Conheeney, Carmen Failla, Chris Millerchip, and Sue Mirza; PA President Jessica Drbul; and Lower School faculty Sandra Dauk, Ellen Eagleton, and Shevon Morris. The committee spent the last three months partnering with our consultants at Educational Directions to narrow a field of about 250 highly qualified applicants from around the country to 3 exceptional finalists. These candidates met with close to 50 members of our school community, including faculty, staff, parents, students, administrators, trustees and me in a series of small group meetings in January. As we weighed all of the feedback we gathered from interviewers and from in-depth reference checks, and when we considered the growth trajectory for the King Lower School, Amy distinguished herself as having the right combination of expertise, leadership experience, and energy to lead us into a bright and vibrant future. She is very enthusiastic about joining the King community, and I am absolutely thrilled that she will be a key partner for me on our Leadership Team.

Amy was most recently at Beauvoir, The National Cathedral Elementary School, a private PreK-Grade 3 school in Washington D.C. where she served as Head of School. Prior, she was Head of School at The Philadelphia School, a PreK-Grade 8 school, and was the Lower School Division Head at Shady Hill School in MA. Amy has also served as a classroom teacher in elementary schools. Her experience has been built at schools in major urban, independent school markets. She is widely viewed as an elementary school expert, particularly in terms of shaping developmentally appropriate, challenging curriculum for young learners. She has a BA from the University of New Hampshire and a MS in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College. Amy enjoys outdoor activities, including walks in the woods, skiing, and golf. She also loves to cook and spend time with her extended family. Amy and her husband, Tom, also an educator, are excited to return to New England to be closer to family and their favorite sports team, the Red Sox. Amy and Tom have one daughter, Ella, who is a teacher in an independent school outside of Boston.

We look forward to welcoming Amy to our campus for visits over the coming months, when she will spend time getting to know colleagues, trustees, and families ahead of her tenure that will begin this summer. She also will partner closely with Lower School colleagues, members of the Leadership Team, and me to develop strategic initiatives regarding program and curriculum, and to engage in projects that will help us in preparing for a broader strategic planning process. You will hear more from Amy in the coming weeks.

Please join me in thanking Karen Raidt for her deep commitment to King School, her thoughtful and insightful participation in this process, and her gracious partnership in this transition. Please also feel free to contact Marnie Sadlowsky at msadlowsky@kingschoolct.org or Dave Hursty at dhursty@kingschoolct.org with any questions you may have. I hope you will join me in warmly welcoming Amy to King, just as you have warmly welcomed me. I am confident she will be a strong leader and partner for our Lower School.

Sincerely,


Dr. Karen Eshoo
Head of School Elect

Head of Lower School Position Statement

The Head of Lower School Position Statement describes King, the opportunity that King offers for its next Head of Lower School, as well as the attributes King seeks in its new Head.

To view the Position Statement,

  • Current Parents, Students, Faculty & Staff: Please click here to access the Position Statement. You will need to use your portal login information to access the document.
  • If you do not have access to the King School website portal areas and would like to request access to this document, please click here.

Search Process Overview

October 2017

  • Select Search Committee Co-Chairs (COMPLETE)
  • Interview potential Search Consulting Firms (COMPLETE)
  • Select Search Consulting Firm (COMPLETE)
  • Form Search Committee (COMPLETE)
  • Search Consultants’ Discovery Visit to King School campus, November 7, to meet with and learn from King Community members (COMPLETE)

November - December 2017

  • Complete Head of School Position Statement (COMPLETE)
  • Search Committee and Educational Directions (EDI) work to develop a group of candidates and vet to 6-8 semi-finalists (COMPLETE)

January 2018

  • Search Committee and EDI identify 3 finalist candidates (COMPLETE)
  • Finalists visit King School in early January to meet with members of the community and tour the campus and classes (COMPLETE)
  • Search Committee meets to recommend top candidate to Head Elect Karen Eshoo (COMPLETE)
  • Karen Eshoo reviews Search Committee's recommendation and selects new Head of Lower School (COMPLETE)
  • Announcement of Head of Lower School Elect to the community (COMPLETE)

2018

  • Feb - June: Amy Vorenberg visits to campus
  • July: New Head of Lower School begins
  • Sept: King School community welcomes new Head of Lower School

Search Committee

MEET THE SEARCH COMMITTEE

  • David Hursty (Co-Chair, Strategic Consultant in Residence), email: dhursty@kingschoolct.org
  • Marnie Sadlowsky (Co-Chair, Interim Associate Head of School for Curriculum, Head of Upper School)
  • Thomas Conheeney (President Board of Trustees, P'15, '15, '18)
  • Sandra Dauk (PreKindergarten Faculty)
  • Jessica Drbul (Parents' Association President, P'21, '23, '23, '25, '28)
  • Ellen Eagleton (Grade 4 Faculty, P'19, '24)
  • Carmen Failla (Trustee, P'26, '27)
  • Chris Millerchip (Trustee, P'17, '21)
  • Sue Mirza (Trustee, P'13)
  • Shevon Morris (Science Faculty, P'31)
We invite you to share your perspective with Search Committee members.

Search Consulting Firm, Educational Directions

We have selected a nationally recognized educational search firm, Educational Directions (EDI), whose search practice focuses on Heads and Senior Administrators. Our team at EDI will be led by Dr. Jerry Larson and Dr. John Watson.

Jerry began his independent school career at Phillips Exeter Academy, NH, and after time at the collegiate level, went to Tabor Academy, MA, where he held a number of administrative roles in addition to being a faculty member and coach. He also headed Cheshire Academy, CT, a coed boarding/day school. John has a wide perspective on independent schools, small and large, boarding and day. He just completed his 15th year as a Head of School, the last five at the K-12 Seacrest Country Day School in Naples, Florida. Prior to Seacrest, John served 10 years as Head of School at West Nottingham Academy and served as Assistant Head of School at Cheshire Academy, Peddie School, and Darrow School, all boarding schools located in the Northeast.

During a Discovery Visit to King on November 7, Jerry and John will engage in a series of meetings with King community members to learn their perspectives. As part of the Discovery Visit, the consultants will also host Open Session meetings for current Lower School parents and for Board members.

Update December 20, 2017

Dear King School Community,

We are pleased that, as expected, there is a high level of interest in the opportunity to be the next Head of Lower School at King. We are right on schedule for this search, as detailed in the Search Process Overview. Since our November 16 update, the search consultants from Educational Directions (EDI) reviewed files nationwide from over 250 potential applicants and conducted preliminary interviews. From this pool of highly qualified applicants, EDI proposed a pool of 14 candidates to the search committee. From that strong group, the search committee identified 8 for in-depth exploration and, ultimately, chose 4 finalists.

This group of finalist candidates is very strong in terms of experience, expertise, and alignment with King’s values. All four finalists have advanced degrees in education fields, Lower School Head leadership experience, expertise in leading curricular initiatives, and commitment to both student-centered educational philosophies and teacher development. Please visit the Head of Lower School Search page on our website to read about these finalist candidates and review the Head of Lower School Position Statement. On the website, you can also review the King School Mission.

In early January, the finalists each will spend a day on campus and meet with Lower School Faculty and Staff, a Lower School parent group, students, Administration, Trustees, Head Elect Dr. Karen Eshoo, and the search committee. Finalists will also have the opportunity to tour campus. We will arrange all meetings directly with participants. After all of the finalist visits, the search committee will meet to review feedback forms and recommend the top candidate to Dr. Eshoo, who then will appoint the new Head of Lower School.

We encourage any member of the Community to reach out to us as Chairs with their perspective.

This is an exciting time for King. We have outstanding candidates in our finalist round. As they come to campus, please help us in welcoming them and demonstrating what a special School and community we are.

Sincerely,

David Hursty and Marnie Sadlowsky

Co-Chairs Search Committee

Update November 16, 2017

Dear King School Community,

We wanted to share a progress update on the search for a new Head of Lower School. Educational Directions search consultants, Dr. Jerry Larson and Dr. John Watson, were on campus this past Tuesday for their Discovery Visit. The pair spent a full day talking with Lower School Faculty, parents, administrators, and Trustees. Jerry and John also visited classrooms and ended the day meeting with the Head of Lower School search committee.

Head of Lower School Position Statement
Throughout the day, the consultants collected a great deal of information about our Lower School: its history, defining attributes, and future aspirations. Based on their learning, Jerry and John, together with the search committee, created a Position Statement that describes the opportunity that King offers for its next Head of Lower School. You can read the Position Statement on our website Head of Lower School search page.

Dr. Karen Eshoo November 21 Drop In Meeting with Lower School Parents
The search committee also discussed the process and prospective timetable. The current plan is to make a final decision in January 2018. An important element of the process will be two campus visits by Dr. Karen Eshoo, King's Head Elect. Her first trip to King will be November 20-21. During this time, Dr. Eshoo will spend time listening to Lower School Faculty and parents, visiting classes, and meeting with the search committee. We invite all Lower School parents to "drop in" and meet with Dr. Eshoo on Tuesday, November 21 from 8:00-9:00 a.m. in the Lower School, Room 6. Dr. Eshoo's second visit to campus will be to interview the finalists candidates in January.

The next few months will be very busy for the search consultants as they review files from over 250 potential applicants to recommend six to eight semi-finalists to the search committee. The search committee will choose the finalist candidates from this pool. The finalists will come to the King campus to meet with the search committee, Faculty, staff, parents, and Dr. Eshoo.

We wish to thank all those in the King community who have expressed a desire to help in the search process.

Sincerely,

David Hursty and Marnie Sadlowsky

Co-Chairs Search Committee

Update October 31, 2017

Dear King Community,

We wanted to take this opportunity to share an update with you on the progress that has been made on King’s Head of Lower School Search.

As you know, finding the right person to lead King’s Lower School is a key priority. We are pleased to let you know about progress to set us on the best path for this search. You can read further details on the activities recapped in this letter on the King website Head of Lower School Search page.

A Head of Lower School Search Committee has been formed. We will serve as Co-Chairs and partner with our fellow committee members drawn from the Board of Trustees, the Lower School Faculty, and the parent community. We are committed to a continuing effort to listen to and solicit the community’s thoughts and opinions. We encourage you to contact us with your perspective, and we will continue to reach out to you.

  • A search consulting firm, Educational Directions (EDI), has been chosen after interviewing a number of well regarded firms. We have already begun working with EDI and value the team’s expert guidance.
  • The Search Consultants from EDI, Dr. Jerry Larson and Dr. John Watson, will be on campus next week on Tuesday, November 7 for a Discovery Visit. During this visit, the consultants will engage in a series of meeting with members of the King community in order to gain valuable insights and perspectives. As part of the Discovery Visit, there will be Open Sessions with current Lower School parents and with Board members who are interested in attending. Details of the visit schedule will be announced soon.
  • The Search Committee and EDI have worked together to define a robust search process and timeline.

The Search Committee is committed to keeping you informed throughout the Head of Lower School Search. Please see the King website Head of Lower School Search page for details on the activities summarized in this letter.

Sincerely,

David Hursty
Co-Chair Search Committee
Strategic Consultant in Residence

Marnie Sadlowsky
Co-Chair Search Committee
Interim Associate Head of School for Curriculum
Head of Upper School



Announcement of Head of Lower School search

Dear King Community:

I am writing to announce that King School will soon begin a search for a new Head of Lower School. Karen Raidt, current Head, will step down from her position at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

King has retained a national search firm to begin the process of identifying potential candidates for the position. David Hursty, our Strategic Consultant in Residence, will guide the process, working closely with a search committee and Dr. Karen Eshoo, King School’s Head-Elect.

During Karen’s tenure, King’s Lower School has initiated and nurtured a number of important initiatives including Singapore Math, Columbia University’s Reading/ Writing Workshop, and Next Generation Science. Karen is now looking forward to returning to her passion of working more closely with individual students in the classroom. Karen’s affection for our school and commitment to our students have defined her years at King.

Over the course of the current school year, Karen Raidt and the Lower School faculty, with support from David and Marnie Sadlowsky, will continue to provide the very best experience for each child in the Lower School.

King is strongly committed to providing an outstanding PreK-12 education. We are about to embark on a major strategic review that will give the new Head of Lower School an exciting opportunity to continue to strengthen and develop our early childhood programs. We are committed to making a thoughtful decision for this position and to keeping you informed throughout the search process.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 203-322-3496, Ext. 327 or tmain@kingschoolct.org.

Sincerely,


Thomas B. Main
Head of School