Dear MKA Community,
On behalf of the Search Committee and MKA’s Board of Trustees, it is my great pleasure to announce that Nigel Furlonge has been chosen as MKA’s next Head of School starting in the 2021-22 school year. Currently the Principal of the Upper School at Ethical Culture Fieldston School (ECFS) in Bronx, New York, Nigel will succeed Tom Nammack in July 2021, following the conclusion of Tom’s remarkable, 16-year tenure as Head of School.
I believe all leadership changes are crucial, but this one is especially so given the intense and accelerating complexities facing independent schools. Nigel is a deeply empathetic, humble, and thoughtful community builder and he has dedicated his career to both academic excellence and inclusivity.
Nigel’s appointment as MKA’s 5th Head of School represents the culmination of a comprehensive and collaborative national search process. Thanks to the hard work, long hours, and dedication of the Search Committee, as well as the thoughtful feedback from a broad representation of our community—parents, faculty, administrators, students, staff, and alumni—we were able to identify the community’s aspirations for our future. An authentic leader, fully aligned with MKA’s mission and beliefs, Nigel will help us to uphold our most valued traditions and lead our growth in a transformative way.
Nigel brings extensive experience in nationally acclaimed independent schools. In his current position leading the Upper School at Fieldston, Nigel is responsible for curricular advances with a greater emphasis on social justice in both the academic program and co-curricular offerings. Prior to ECFS, he served as Associate Head of School at the Holderness School where he stewarded the community’s design of a Learning Master Plan, aligning it with the school’s strategic plan to further the school’s intellectual and co-curricular goals. Adding to Nigel’s breadth of experience, he was a founding team member of Christina Seix Academy, an innovative PreK-8 independent school, served as Academic Dean at The Lawrenceville School, and was an active member of the Board of Trustees at the Holderness School.
Nigel earned his undergraduate degree in American History at the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in the same subject from Villanova University. He went on to earn an M.Ed. in Organization and Private School Leadership from Teachers College Columbia University and was a John Klingenstein Fellow. For eight years Nigel was History Lead Teacher and co-designer for the Diversity Strand in the Klingenstein Center’s Summer Institute.
Nigel’s educational philosophy reflects his alignment with MKA’s core values:
I hold in equal balance a commitment to developing one’s character as well as the habits of mind of a leader. I trust in students and faculty as they strive together toward the highest levels of academic achievement while also cultivating a vibrant intellectual life.
Graduating problem solvers, thoughtful communicators, and dynamic critical thinkers are non-negotiable aims for independent schools. Equally important is the work of cultivating empathetic listeners who understand the substance and salience of being culturally competent.
“Nigel’s record of achievement and beliefs about the aims of education reflect MKA’s conception of academic excellence,” said Tom Nammack, “which includes evidence of growth, intellectual independence, and power of expression that fuel a lifelong passion in the hearts and minds of MKA students.”
A history scholar and teacher at heart, Nigel is a growth-minded educator who shares his passion for teaching and learning with his wife, Nicole, who, since 2018 has served as the Director of the prestigious Klingenstein Center in the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. They and their three children are excited to join the MKA community. Nigel asked me to share with you a Letter to the Community, expressing his feelings about this opportunity. He will be back to campus a number of times over the course of this year and will be working closely with Tom to ensure a smooth and successful transition in July.
Please join me in welcoming Nigel Furlonge as MKA’s next Head of School.
Kathleen M. Logan
Chair, Head of School Search Committee
President, Board of Trustees
- What is the expected timeline of the search process?
- When will the new Head of School officially start?
- How much latitude will the new Head of School have in shaping MKA’s future strategy and vision?
- What will Mr. Nammack’s role be throughout the search process and after the new Head of School is appointed?
- What is the Board's role?
- What is the Board’s search criteria in looking for a new Head of School?
- What is the role of the Search Committee?
- Who is on the Search Committee?
- What is the role of Spencer Stuart, the search firm?
- Will both internal and external candidates be considered for the role?
- How can someone participate in the process?
The Head of School Search Committee includes Trustees and members of MKA’s Administration. The Search Committee will guide the process of selecting the School's next Head of School by working with our search firm to evaluate the candidates, collaborating with our community, and recommending candidates to the Board of Trustees.
Search Committee Members:
Kate Logan (Chair), P '13, P '14, Board President
Rick Andlinger, P '07, Trustee
Jen Barbetta, P '27, P '29, Trustee
Evie Colbert, P '14, P '16, P '20, Trustee
David Crichlow, P '15, P '18, Trustee
Kathryn Davison, P '18, P '20, P '25, Administration
Cliff Finkle '92, P '25, P '27, Trustee
Karen Gulliver, P '19, P '22, Trustee
Alice Hirsh, P '95, P '03, P '06, Trustee
Michael Johnson, P '06, P '08, P '10, P '13, P '19, Trustee
Lauren Kaplan '93, P '25, Trustee
Karen Newman, P '15, P '18, Administration
Rob Ruberton, P '26, P '30, Trustee
Jeff Szilagyi, P '19, P '23, P '28, Trustee