Jonathan Brand Named 12th Head of Grymes Memorial School

March 20, 2018
March 20, 2018

Jonathan Brand Named 12th Head of Grymes Memorial School

The Grymes Memorial School Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathan Brand as the next Head of School.  Brand is the 12th Head of Grymes Memorial School in its 71 years as a co-educational independent day school in historic Orange, Virginia. He currently serves as Founding Head of Chelsea Academy, an independent college preparatory school in Front Royal, Virginia. Prior to leading Chelsea through a very successful first decade, Brand served as History Department Chair at St. Anne’s-Belfield in Charlottesville, Virginia, and as a teacher, administrator, and coach at The American School in Switzerland (TASIS).

“Jonathan Brand brings an unusual and very attractive mix of experience and perspective to Grymes. He is a seasoned educator with a global perspective, having served truly excellent schools in both the United States and Europe. Perhaps most interesting, he has experience not only as a Head of School, but as a founder of a school that has not only survived, but thrived, under his leadership. This mix of skills, along with his genuinely warm and thoughtful demeanor, set Jonathan apart and made him a unanimous choice for Grymes,” says Franklin Daniels, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Having spent his childhood in New Jersey before moving to Madison, Virginia, for his senior year, Brand graduated from Madison County High School and fell in love with the Piedmont area. Brand received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia before completing a Master’s degree in History at the College of William & Mary and, subsequently, beginning his career in independent school education at The American School in Switzerland (TASIS). During his nine years at TASIS, Brand started as a history and English teacher, basketball and track coach, and dorm parent before going on to chair the history department, head a dormitory, and ultimately oversee the academic program. In each of these roles, Brand’s commitment and dedication to his students, school and profession allowed him to forge strong connections with his peers, his students and his school community. Brand’s passion for history and love for travel led him to guide student excursions around Europe, particularly in France and Italy, where his knowledge of and love for the language, landscape, and culture are especially keen. Most importantly, during his time at TASIS, Brand met his wife, Mary, who worked as a math teacher at the school and with whom he now raises three sons and two daughters.

Jonathan pictured with his wife, Mary, and their three sons and two daughters,
who will also join the Grymes Memorial School family this Fall.

Brand returned to Virginia to chair the History Department at St. Anne’s-Belfield School, bringing a commitment to immersive learning with him. As American and European History teacher and department chair, Brand led a review and revision of the Lower School history curriculum and initiated an oral history project with World War II veterans at a local nursing home. Brand’s time at St. Anne’s-Belfield was brief, however, as he was soon recruited to oversee the inception of Chelsea Academy, an independent college-preparatory school in Front Royal, Virginia, that serves grades four through twelve. As the founding Headmaster of Chelsea Academy, Brand was actively engaged in every aspect of the school’s growth, establishing the mission and curriculum, recruiting faculty and students, developing traditions and extracurricular programs, and guiding the school through a highly successful first decade.  Along with teaching History, English, and French and coaching basketball over the years, he led Chelsea through the accreditation process and served on several accreditation teams with both the Virginia Independent Schools Association and the Southern Association of Independent Schools.

Brand brings great appreciation for and dedication to the life, community and traditions of independent schools to his new role as 12th Head of Grymes Memorial School. “It is an honor to have been selected to serve Grymes as the next Head of School. I am inspired by the school’s mission, legacy, and tremendous momentum built up over the years. The many people who are so deeply committed to Grymes give evidence of the enduring strength of this legacy and the promise of a bright future,” says Brand. “Dr. Work is leaving a gem of a school, and I look forward to doing my part to ensure its continued flourishing. My wife, Mary, and I are grateful to the Search Committee, Board, faculty, students, and parents for their warm welcome during our visit to Grymes. Together with our children, we eagerly anticipate joining your community and getting to know all of you in the months ahead.”

Brand will succeed Dr. Elisabeth Pendreigh (Penny) Work, who, in November 2017, announced her retirement as Head of School. His appointment concludes a comprehensive national search led by a Search Committee chaired by Board of Trustees member Tom Bond. The committee also consisted of current Grymes parents Chris Colby, Jennifer Hulsey, and Nancy Wiley, past parents and Trustees David Perdue and Peter Rice, past administrator, past parent and current grandparent Page Sullenberger, current faculty member Laurie Roche, and the 2017 – 2018 Board of Trustees ex officio. Consultants from Charlottesville’s Southern Teachers Agency assisted the Search Committee throughout the four-month search process.


Read Jonathan’s message to the Grymes community by clicking here.
For more information about our Head of School search process, please click here.