Dear Greene Towne Community,
The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the selection of Sarah Sweeney-Denham as the new Head of School for Greene Towne Montessori School (Greene Towne). Sarah assumes her new responsibilities on July 9, 2018.
See below a letter from Sarah introducing herself!
We are thrilled to have attracted a leader with Sarah’s commitment to independent schools, educational leadership for students and faculty, as well as her ability to embrace and articulate Greene Towne’s mission. During the search process, the Board identified qualifications and qualities deemed essential in Greene Towne’s next Head of School. As the search progressed, Sarah revealed that she possesses many of the desired qualities: a love for young people and commitment to their development; integrity; diplomacy; organization; a commitment to diversity; and a positive attitude. She also possesses strong communication and interpersonal skills, and an ability to develop staff and enrich the parent body.
As part of the search process, Sarah met with the Board of Trustees and the Search Committee on multiple occasions. She also met with administrative leadership, faculty and staff and parents. The Board received positive feedback from the school community and what was most striking is how closely Sarah’s qualities and experience align with those identified as essential. The Board also spoke with individuals who have worked closely with Sarah and know her well. Sarah’s Board of Trustees Clerk, Director of Development, School Attorney and CFO spoke with utmost confidence and respect regarding her leadership ability and effectiveness in moving a school forward in a collaborative way, while being able to make difficult decisions. They talked about her ability to listen, willingness and desire to learn in new areas, boundless energy and care for students and their families. Sarah is viewed as strategic, calm, ethical, and someone focused on building a strong, positive culture within a school community.
Sarah has been Head of School at Plymouth Friends School since 2012. Prior to that, she served as interim Head of School and in administrative positions in admissions and development. Sarah received her undergraduate degree in English and a Master’s degree in Education. She is married to Dan and has two children.
The Board of Trustees would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone in the Greene Towne community who participated in this process. We believe that as Head of School, Sarah will be dedicated to serving the needs of our students and families, faculty and staff, and we are looking forward to working with her. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, please join me and welcome Sarah and her family to the Greene Towne community.
President, Board of Trustees
Dear Greene Towne Montessori School Community,
I am thrilled to be joining the Greene Towne community as the next Head of School! As an administrator and teacher in Philadelphia area education for the past 25 years, I know Greene Towne as a leader in the Montessori tradition, and as a forward-thinking school that is grounded in solid approach and love of early childhood. I am excited to get started in getting to know all of you, and supporting the school’s mission and work from this leadership role.
Nothing is more inspiring to me than to witness and support our youngest learners. Early childhood education provides the foundation for all that follows: a strong sense of self, a connection to curiosity, a clear perspective on the world and all it has to offer, and empowerment in oneself as a strong contributor to community—all of these are critical foundations on which all future education and achievements are built. And what’s more, many of these building blocks can be found in small but powerful moments in our early childhood classrooms, as well as the larger milestones of childhood development.
This passion and respect for what children can do is more than clear at Greene Towne. In my visits to the classrooms and discussions with the faculty and staff, what stood out to me is the clear space that is created for children to be authentically themselves, and the commitment of teachers and staff to protecting and supporting that space for unbounded growth and care. I see it in the careful layout of inviting materials for discovery in each classroom, the commitment that parents have to the community and its leadership, and the care and priority that teachers place on their students’ experience. I see my role as Head of School as that of supporting teachers in having what they need to bring the school’s mission to life, and to lead the community in its evolving growth and strength.
As a Philadelphian for the past 30 years, I am excited to be contributing to a strong Philadelphia family experience. My own children Mary and Jack are in 11th and 9th grades at Friends Select School, and my husband Dan has lived here in Philadelphia his whole life. My educational experience has been in Quaker schools, as a student, teacher and myriad administrative positions over the past 25 years. In coming to Greene Towne, I am very much looking forward to building on my own educational philosophy and experience in the areas that Friends education and Montessori approach have in common—respect for children, trusting a developmental pathway for learning, and empowering children by building on their natural curiosity to become self-directed lifelong learners. I am also excited to dig in and learn more about this time-tested approach through Montessori training. I know I will learn a great deal from the rich experience and resources among GTMS’s faculty and staff as well. I look forward to transitioning into the role of Head of School by working with Helena in the coming weeks prior to my official start on July 9.
Many thanks to the Board, faculty and staff, parents, and students who welcomed me in my visits and shared their thoughts and questions during this important process for the school community. I hope to meet many in the community over this summer and, of course, as we move into the 2018-19 school year. Feel free to reach out to connect! In the meantime, may you enjoy the celebrations of the end of the school year and the joy of summer.