Jonathan Brand named 12th Head of Grymes Memorial School

 

March 20, 2018

Dear Grymes Memorial School Community,

The Board of Trustees is extremely pleased to announce the selection of Jonathan Brand as our next Head of School beginning July 1, 2018.

This selection is the result of an extensive search conducted by the Head of School Search Committee, aided by Southern Teachers Agency. From a pool of highly qualified candidates, the committee selected two finalists who were invited to visit Grymes this winter for interview sessions with the Search Committee, trustees, faculty, staff and students. Jonathan went on to receive the Search Committee’s enthusiastic endorsement to the Board of Trustees. The Board, in turn, unanimously voted for his appointment.

In selecting Jonathan as the next Head of School for Grymes, the Board of Trustees has chosen a leader with a lifelong passion for education and learning. A graduate of both the University of Virginia and the Masters of History program at the College of William & Mary, Jonathan has twenty‐three years of independent school experience in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in Europe. Throughout his career, Jonathan has demonstrated the professional agility necessary to lead across all areas of independent school life while preserving and building school traditions and overseeing initiatives that have elevated the schools he has served to new levels of achievement. Most recently, in his role as Founding Headmaster at Chelsea Academy, Jonathan has not only overseen the creation and implementation of the school’s mission and curriculum, but he has also developed special advisory programs that foster belonging for every student, school spirit, healthy competition, and solidarity across the grade levels; he has established school traditions, student life activities, and festivals that have enlivened the school community; and he has developed outdoor adventure and service programs that have enriched the student experience. Jonathan’s warm personality and strong sense of integrity complement his impressive range of skills. We are thrilled to have found such an exceptional leader who is so well-aligned to the values and mission of Grymes Memorial School.

Moreover, we are delighted to welcome Jonathan’s wife, Mary, and their three sons and two daughters, who will also be joining the Grymes family. Having met Mary at the time of Jonathan’s visit to Grymes, we know the Grymes community will be enriched by her warmth and commitment.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we would like to thank the members of the Head of School Search Committee, our consultants at Southern Teachers Agency, and all of the members of our Grymes community who contributed tremendously to the search process. We are deeply grateful to all who were involved for their commitment to the integrity of this process.

Finally, we wish to thank Dr. Work for her thirteen years of extraordinary service to Grymes. Penny’s vision, leadership and dedication to Grymes’ mission and core values have made an indelible mark on the seventy-year legacy of this special school. We look forward to your participation in commemorating the incredible accomplishments achieved by Dr. Work in the coming months.

We look forward to what promises to be a very bright future for Grymes Memorial School under Jonathan Brand’s leadership. Please join us in welcoming Jonathan, Mary and their children to their new home at Grymes.

Sincerely,

D. Franklin Daniels, Jr.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Tom Bond
Chairman of the Head of School Search Committee

March 20, 2018

Dear Grymes Memorial School Community,

It is an honor to join the Grymes Memorial community as the next Head of School. My wife, Mary, and I, together with our children, eagerly anticipate the opportunity to get to know all of you and to contribute to building on the school’s inspiring seventy-year legacy.

We are grateful to the many people – Board and Search Committee members, administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other friends of the school – who so generously welcomed us during our visit. From our handshakes with students as they stepped off their school buses in the morning to the gracious hospitality extended at the Board of Trustees reception in the evening, we were impressed by the authenticity and warmth of the Grymes community.

Equally so, the seriousness of purpose, joyful work and play, and deep love for the school that pervade the campus make us excited about the years ahead. Dr. Penny Work is leaving behind a treasure. We are all indebted to her for guiding and strengthening Grymes over the last thirteen years, and I look forward to working with you to continue developing all that is good and meeting head on the challenges that the school will face in the future.

I thank the Search Committee and Board of Trustees for selecting me for this position, and it is with great respect for the school’s traditions and high expectations for its continued flourishing that I embrace this opportunity to serve Grymes.

Sincerely,


Jonathan D. Brand
12th Head of Grymes Memorial School

February 8, 2018

Dear Grymes Memorial School Community,

Over the last few weeks, members of the Search Committee reviewed applications from over twenty strong candidates for our Head of School position. After much thoughtful consideration and discussion, they narrowed the field to six highly qualified semi-finalists. Semi-finalists were interviewed by committee members via Skype over several days. During these conversations, committee members got a better sense of the candidates, and candidates learned much more about Grymes.

Having completed these interviews with semi-finalists, the committee is excited to share that they have invited two finalist candidates to spend the day with us on campus starting next week. Both of these candidates have the enthusiastic support of the Search Committee, and we are eager to introduce both of these individuals to Grymes so they can see in person — and in depth — who we are and what makes our school special. During their visits, the two finalists will meet with teachers, members of the administrative staff, Search Committee members and Board members, and they will have the opportunity to observe classes, visit with students and answer important questions that many of you helped to create. Details of these visits will be made available as soon as possible.

The committee is thrilled with the search process so far and is confident that the final step of bringing our best candidates to meet the community will, in the end, deliver a new leader who will make us all proud.

Thank you for your continued support in this process. We’re making great progress!

Sincerely,


Franklin Daniels
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
fdaniels@blueridgeschool.com

January 9, 2018

Dear Grymes Memorial School Community,

On behalf of our entire Board of Trustees, I am pleased to report that the search for a new Head of School is progressing as planned. Here’s the latest update on the search:

In early December, our search consultants from Southern Teachers Agency (STA), Jamie Estes and Sandra Pollock, conducted an intensive school visit to help them understand Grymes’ history, mission, and culture. Many thanks to Penny and Hope for putting together a schedule that allowed them to learn from our faculty, staff, students, administrators, parents, and Board of Trustees.  Jamie and Sandra listened, probed, and uncovered what they see as distinctive characteristics that comprise Grymes’ identity. We are particularly grateful to those of you who participated in these conversations.

Following this visit, in partnership with the Search Committee, STA crafted a Position Profile that summarizes the unique characteristics of the Grymes community and outlines the goals and responsibilities for the next Head of School. The Position Profile is designed to ensure that our Head of School leadership opportunity is presented and marketed effectively to the most qualified candidates. I encourage you to click on the link above (and at top) and take a look.

While STA will be using their networks to build a candidate pool, we wholeheartedly welcome nominations from our school community. If you know of someone whom you believe would serve Grymes well based on this Position Profile, please contact Search Committee Chair, Tom Bond, at tom_bond@woodberry.org so Jamie and Sandra can follow up.

On personal note, I am especially indebted to the members of the Search Committee and all who have helped launch this process. Thank you for being a part of this important process. We are off to a strong start!

As always, if I might answer any questions about this or related topics feel free to reach out. Meanwhile, all best wishes to you and yours for 2018. Stay warm!

Sincerely,


Franklin Daniels
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
fdaniels@blueridgeschool.com

December 5, 2017

Dear Grymes Memorial School Community,

I am pleased to report that the early stages of the Head of School Search Committee’s work are now well underway. After considering several options, the Search Committee and Board of Trustees both voted unanimously to engage Southern Teachers Association (STA) to guide our search process. Based in Charlottesville, STA is well-regarded nationally in the school recruiting and placement arena and has been a friend to Grymes for many years. Please feel free to explore their website here if you’re interested in learning more about them and their services. STA will assist the Search Committee in a range of ways, including the important work of gathering community feedback for the search, constructing the position description, promoting the opportunity to a national audience, accessing qualified candidates and screening candidates who express interest in the position. We believe this is another step toward ensuring that this search process is as comprehensive and transparent as possible for our school community.

To that end, STA will be visiting Grymes for the day on Monday, December 11th to meet with the faculty, staff, students, trustees and parents in a day of Community Listening Sessions. All parents are invited to join us immediately after drop-off in the Library from 8:30 – 9:30 on Monday morning so that you too can be an important voice in this search process. Any parents who are unable to come to this meeting, alumni, past parents and other constituents will have the opportunity to share their voices through an online survey, which is to come at a later date.

On behalf of all of our Trustees, thank you for your continued support of and interest in this process. I hope to see many of you at the Monday morning meeting, and of course, please feel free to reach out to me directly anytime at fdaniels@blueridgeschool.com.

Sincerely,


Franklin Daniels
Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Trustee Tom Bond will chair the Search Committee. Not only is Tom a past parent at Grymes, but he has served six terms on the Board of Trustees dating back to the 1980’s, acting as Board Treasurer, Secretary and Chairman and overseeing countless committees and task forces over the years. 

Tom Bond (Committee Chair)
Chris Colby
Jennifer Hulsey
David Perdue
Peter Rice
Laurie Roche
Page Sullenberger
Nancy Wiley

The full Board of Trustees, which is comprised of alumni, parents, past parents, past faculty and friends of the school, will work closely with the Search Committee ex officio. 

View this letter as a pdf

November 7, 2017

Dear Grymes Memorial School Community,

It is my great honor to serve as Chair of the Grymes Board of Trustees. I am pleased to report that the Trustees have been hard at work in the stewardship of the school with a ​set​ ​of​ ​truly significant​ ​items​ ​designed​ ​​to ensure Grymes’ 70-year legacy.

I write to confirm that, after much consideration, Dr. Penny Work has determined that she is ready to begin her transition into retirement after thirteen years as Head of Grymes Memorial School. Penny has much to be proud of as she looks back on her thirteen years leading the school through progress, achievement and change. Her leadership and vision have led to extraordinary program developments, capital improvements, and financial maturity. Perhaps most important, ​Grymes​ ​has​ ​remained true​ ​to​ ​its​ ​mission along the way, continuing to flourish, grow and produce ​smart,​ ​grounded,​ ​thoughtful​ ​graduates​ ​who​ ​are​ ​accomplishing​ great​ ​things. We all look forward to honoring Penny and celebrating her service to this school in the next few months.

Penny and the Trustees have worked together for more than a year to prepare what we hope will be a thorough, open, and smooth period of succession and transition, and so I am pleased to share that the important work of beginning a search process is already underway. Central to this effort will be an active Search Committee. I am pleased to share that one of Grymes’ greatest advocates, Tom Bond, will chair this committee, overseeing a diverse but small group of volunteers who, together, represent more than 100 years of combined Grymes experience across a broad cross-section of parents, alumni, faculty, grandparents, and community partners. This committee will ​direct​ ​the ​search process​ ​from​ ​beginning​ ​to​ ​end, and I look forward to sharing their progress with you in the coming months.

The Trustees are also deeply grateful that Penny has offered to remain in place as Head of School for as long as might be needed to ensure both a thorough search and a smooth transition. As such, Penny remains our Head of School for the 2017 – 18 school year – and potentially beyond – with the full confidence of the Board of Trustees.

As a school administrator myself, I know first-hand how important it is to consider the many faces and facets of a school family like ours in a time of transition. ​It​ ​is​ the Trustees’ sincerest​ ​wish​ ​for this not only to be a careful process, but also a ​transparent​ ​​one. In that spirit, ​I​ ​invite​ ​you​ ​to​ ​review ​this​ ​new​ ​page​ ​of​ ​our​ ​website often. Here you will find regular​ ​updates ​from​ ​the​ ​Search Committee as well as news from me and other Trustees as we move forward. ​​As well, please stay tuned for information about our Community Listening Sessions, which Tom Bond, Board Vice-Chair Phoebe Warmack and I plan to host in the coming months to keep this conversation open and inclusive. We will share dates with you all soon.

Of course, I also welcome you to contact me directly at any time with your concerns. I would be glad to hear from you.

Thank you for your continued support of this wonderful school!

Sincerely,

D. Franklin Daniels, Jr.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees

View this letter as a pdf

November 7, 2017

Dear Grymes Memorial School Community,

After considerable thought and conversation with my husband and family, I have made the difficult and exciting decision to retire after thirteen years as head of this wonderful school.  I share this decision with a mixture of nostalgia and anticipation as I have loved this season of my life here at Grymes. I feel so fortunate to have become a part of this community. From driving to work towards the morning mist rising from the Rapidan River, watching cars and buses unload their precious cargo and receiving the warm smiles – and often embraces – of your children as they embark on a new day, listening to the happy hum in the halls and classrooms, and the joyful whoops of children liberated for recess, Grymes is my beloved home. It has been my great privilege to work with such a creative group of teachers and administrators, an inspiration to work with such a dedicated Board of Trustees, and a gift to share in the lives and learning of your children. All of you have become my family.

It’s with a deep sense of pride that I take in the beautiful mountain view from my office window, as I have every day for thirteen years. Gardner Hall stands firmly in place as just one example of the many achievements that together, we – the Board, the administrative staff, our wonderful teachers, and our generous community – have accomplished since 2005. We have grown our endowment from $2 million to $8 million. We have built Gardner Hall and added a playing field without incurring debt to the school. We have strengthened the curriculum in science, math, language arts, music, athletics and technology. We have expanded opportunities for outdoor and hands-on learning. We have integrated technology into every aspect of the school, from record-keeping and administrative functions to all levels of classroom learning. We have built an exceptional tradition of professional development for our faculty and staff, enabling them to take advantage of learning opportunities that have invigorated both the teachers and our curriculum. It has truly been a privilege to lead Grymes through this exciting time in the school’s 70-year history.

Grymes is on a path to a bright, sustainable future. Our Board continues to maintain a clear strategic focus for our school, steadily improving facilities, planning for future improvements, and ensuring the vitality of our curriculum. Most importantly, the Board has recognized the importance of growing the endowment so that we can continue to attract and retain excellent teachers while at the same time containing tuition increases. Our anonymous donor’s $3 million matching challenge is an extraordinary expression of confidence in the school’s future. It is my sincerest hope that we will meet this matching challenge and that the endowment will be at $10 million by the time I step away.

I look forward to a new season in my life as my growing flock of grandchildren continues to expand. Peter and I are eager to enjoy more time together, whether actually managing to weed our garden, traveling the world, or spending time with our grandbabies, and I look forward to maintaining a deep connection to this wonderful school community that I hold dear to my heart. Finding a new Head of School is no small task, and I have promised the Board that I will remain Head of School for as long as it takes until a search has identified the perfect new leader to carry the school’s mission forward.

It has truly been a privilege to serve this school in such an exciting time.  Thank you for your vision, dedication, and support that have never failed to inspire me!

With love and appreciation,

Elisabeth “Penny” Work
Head of School

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