Dr. Penny Work recently shared with the Grymes family her plans to retire after thirteen years as Head of Grymes Memorial School. The Board of Trustees is committed to finding an extraordinary leader who, like Penny, embraces our school’s mission and values and will lead our school through the opportunities and challenges of a new generation.
The Board has appointed a committee to launch a nationwide search for our next Head of School. We intend to make the search process as inclusive as possible and will use this page to communicate updates.
One of the many extraordinary qualities that makes Grymes Memorial School so incredibly special is our community of parents, faculty, staff, alumni, grandparents and students. The Search Committee welcomes your thoughts and ideas and invites you to share them with us over the coming months. You may reach the committee by emailing either Search Committee Chair Tom Bond or Board Chair Franklin Daniels.
Tom Bond (Committee Chair)
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.
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
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!
D. Franklin Daniels, Jr.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.