A letter from Dr. Noni Thomas López
above: Noni Thomas López, Gordon's next Head of School
To my new Gordon family:
I am thrilled to be joining Gordon in July as the new Head of School! It’s incredible to me to find myself writing this letter to you today, given where this journey started. If you were able to meet with me during my visit in September, you know I am a fan of popular culture, and I can’t help but see the story of this odyssey through some of my favorite movie quotes. (If you can guess them all without Google, I will treat you to some donuts from Knead next fall!)
“I wish I knew how to quit you.”
When I was first approached about the opportunity at Gordon, I declined. Many of you know why. I love New York and have had deep ties to this city from the day of my birth to the moment I met my Bronx-born, Bronx-raised husband in 2010. New England was out and not just because of the Red Sox. My husband Rodney has two beautiful boys, and we made a conscious decision to explore job opportunities no farther than a two-hour radius from the tri-state area. But the possibility of Gordon stayed with me. It was a school that loomed large in my imagination from my early days as an educator for being on the cutting edge of progressive pedagogy. It was a school known for unapologetically walking the talk of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It was a school doing “the work.” I couldn’t get Gordon out of my head, so I called back the search consultant and asked her to tell me more.
“You had me at hello.”
My meeting with the Search Committee in June took place in an abandoned office building. (Okay, it was empty because it was Saturday.) I arrived early, as any good candidate should, and as I waited, was greeted by each committee member as they came in. Everyone was warm and friendly, as one would expect, but I was more interested in how they greeted each other. It seemed like a family, and the interview bore that initial impression out in some beautiful ways. Over the course of the conversation, I felt a clearing open up where I could comfortably share my authentic self. For a woman and person of color who has been navigating the teaching and administrative terrain of independent schools for more than twenty years, this kind of space was a rare and special gift, and I was honored to be invited to return in September as a finalist.
“I think you got hit by the thunderbolt.”
My final visit to Gordon was everything I hoped for and more. Gordon was founded to instill the “true spirit of joyous work into each day of school,” and as I visited classrooms and met with students, parents, faculty, and staff, I saw this guiding principle on full display. The commitment to teamwork, mutual respect, empathy, and relationship was evident in every conversation and every interaction. The impact on me was so immediate that I texted my husband during my lunch break on my first day with four simple words: “I love this school.”
It seems you saw a match as well! I couldn’t be more honored to be linking arms with all of you to guide Gordon through this transition and into an exciting future. Gordon is needed in our world, now more than ever, and I am grateful for the opportunity to join you in the important work of building a better world for our children and for our larger human family.
My family is looking forward to coming to Providence in July! Rodney and I cannot wait to introduce our sons Novian, Rodney, Jr., and Roman, and our fur babies Billie Jean and Olive to our Gordon family. I’m honored to have been selected as your next Head of School. We will see you soon!
Noni Thomas López
On Monday, October 2nd, 2017, the Board of Trustees of the Gordon School selected Noni Thomas Lopez to be Gordon’s next Head of School.
Read her biography
Board Chair George Matouk introduced her to the Gordon community with this letter
She responded to the Gordon community with this letter