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A message from Gordon's board chair

Dear Gordon Community,

This week, Dr. Noni Thomas López informed the Board of Trustees that she will be stepping down as the head of the Gordon School at the end of the 2024-25 school year. As you read in her letter to the community, she has accepted the position as the Head of School of Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York. 

This is news that will take some time to sink in. This transition represents a terrific professional achievement for Noni and we honor and celebrate her. Poly Prep is one of the nation’s leading nursery to twelfth grade schools, and we are glad that part of the Gordon School spirit will spread with her to Brooklyn.

This is also, of course, sad news for Gordon. Noni has been a beloved friend to many of us, an inspiring and empowering leader for her colleagues, an experienced mentor for our educators, a humble learner within our community, and a gentle holder of hands and giver of hugs for our youngest students. 

Upon arriving at Gordon in 2018, Noni quickly put her leadership talents to work. She focused on building a deeply empowered leadership team, which will serve us well during this transition; our current leadership team has a total of one hundred and thirty-six years of shared Gordon experience.

With this team in place, Gordon introduced and successfully implemented its new tuition system, Family Individualized Tuition, which has become a national model for promoting equity and accessibility. Gordon created a strategic vision for a more just and sustainable world, and then began making good on its declared commitments, including designing a new school-wide schedule, expanding creative arts and Spanish to Early Childhood, strengthening student support with the addition of learning specialists and a full-time counselor, and elevating environmental sustainability as a core value of the school alongside diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. More recently, Gordon achieved the longtime goal of building a professional kitchen and establishing a community-inclusive lunch program. 

Noni and her team accomplished most of these goals while thoughtfully guiding the school through multiple iterations of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, throughout all of these new initiatives, they steadily expanded on Gordon's longtime commitment to inclusivity and multicultural education, working actively to welcome all families as the nation's understanding of race, gender and sexuality continued to evolve.

Noni's tenure at Gordon came at a critical juncture in the school's history. When she came in 2018, the school had established a decades-long commitment to giving students a rich academic foundation along with a deep sense of connection in a racially and economically diverse community. As schools around the country were catching up to what it means to be inclusive and equitable, Gordon’s position as a national leader in this space continued to deepen. Her wisdom, scholarship and lived experience drove earnest research and reflection on Gordon's strengths and demographic goals, a broader range of programs that allow families multiple points of belonging, and an approach that brought out the lightness and joy that a strong community generates. 

While Noni's departure may feel unexpected, it is not unprecedented. Her total tenure with Gordon is about the national average for heads of schools. We are grateful for this time, and we are prepared for what comes next; there is a clear roadmap for the decisionmaking that lies ahead. 

Though we will have plenty of time to say goodbye, we can also reflect on the opportunities and new possibilities ahead. The educational landscape is always changing, and Gordon has new needs that a new Head of School will be well positioned to address. The Board has begun preparing for this important search: interviewing placement firms, building a search committee and reflecting on our current and anticipated needs. Our community can expect to hear more about the search soon.

Thank you in advance for your partnership in this process. I have had the good fortune of experiencing Gordon as a student in the 1990s, as a parent over the last decade, and now as Board Chair. I am looking forward to seeing this community continue to shine as a new chapter in Gordon history unfolds.

Best,