By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
Taking over as head of Village School at the virtual start of a historic academic year is John Evans.
Evans joined the school with 22 years experience under his belt as an educator and leader in New York City and Los Angeles independent schools.
“Leading Village School into the future is a professional dream come true and I’m thrilled to join this dynamic learning community,” Evans said in the statement. “The vibrancy of the Village School community was evident from the moment I stepped onto campus. I witnessed a balanced educational program for body and mind, heart and soul, led by a constellation of caring adults thoughtfully nurturing their students in experiential, inquiry-based learning in pursuit of academic excellence.”
Although Evans officially began his new position at the school on July 1, it’s fair to say he began on April 1 when the pandemic closed campuses and he had to guide the ship to create the Healthy Fall Task Force dealing with pandemic distance-learning and a potential reopening, Evans explained to the Palisadian-Post. The HFTF is a term he borrowed from the president of Brown University, referring to fall as the season.
“We started holding meetings regularly,” Evans said, to really dig into the planning. Now almost a month into the school year, Evans shared that the intensive preparation throughout the summer allowed for a softer opening. He focused on building relationships and being very visible and transparent with the community during the summer season.
Village School is offering extra professional opportunities for the faculty and break out rooms to figure out what they can do to make their teaching come to life even more robustly in the current virtual environment
He said the administration team has been tirelessly working to make sure the delivery of materials to families is done in a healthy and safe way. Evans also met with every single family in the entire school and is dedicated to becoming an advocate for all the children individually.
“It was incredibly helpful and really just heartwarming,” Evans said of his efforts to get to know the children through their parents’ eyes during Zoom office hours in the summer.
Evans has big shoes to fill, succeeding Nora Malone, who worked at the school for 23 years. Malone has been called “the most instrumental leader in Village School’s 43-year history.”
Malone’s accolades include increasing faculty retention from 50% to nearly 95%; increasing faculty diversity from 4% to near 30%; implementing character and social education programs combined with a strong academic curriculum; leading successful campus fundraising and endowment campaigns; and overseeing a 2010 expansion that nearly doubled the school’s physical footprint.
Evans began his teaching career at The Willows Community School in Los Angeles. He also spent seven years as an associate professor of education at Loyola Marymount University working within the Teach for America program.
For the past six years, he worked as the head of lower school at Friends Seminary, considered the oldest continuous co-educational school in New York City. He moved out west on March 13 when all the schools shut down in New York.
Prior to his role at Friends Seminary, Evans served as curriculum coordinator, diversity coordinator and third-grade teacher at the Trinity School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
“I would say as the head of Village School, my faculty is working so hard, busier than ever, to really deliver an outstanding program to our kids,” Evans said of the start of the year. “I think it’s going better than I anticipated.”
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.