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Montclair Kimberley Academy was established in 1974 after the merger of three different schools, Montclair Academy, The Kimberley School, and the Brookside School, and it had been under the leadership of only four other Heads of School: Richard Ward Day. Dr. Frances O’Connor, Dr. Peter Greer, and most recently Thomas Nammack. On Friday, October 15, Montclair Kimberley Academy officially installed Nigel D. Furlonge as its fifth Head of School. 

The official ceremony followed a day of celebration spanning all three campuses in Montclair. At the Primary School, a tree was planted in Mr. Furlonge’s honor and presented to him by Jack C., the school’s oldest third grader, and Rudy J., the youngest student in Pre-K. At the Middle School, Mr. Furlonge was welcomed by the student body President Saniya B. and Vice President Sami T. who celebrated the beginning of his leadership and gave him the book, Change Sings, by Amanda Gorman. Finally, at the Upper School, senior Trrusha Jariwalla presented Mr. Furlonge with an original watercolor painting, completed by students in the Studio Art Honors class, of the Head of School’s residence. 

President of the Board of Trustees, Kathleen M. Logan, presided over the official ceremony noting, “This is a significant moment in our school’s history and a celebration of this very special person - Nigel Furlonge - who will lead us forward in unity and purpose. We welcome him, his wife Nicole, and their children to our community, and we celebrate the official start of his tenure at MKA.” She continued, “An authentic leader, fully aligned with MKA’s mission and beliefs, Nigel Furlonge will help us to uphold our most valued traditions and lead our growth in a transformative way.”

Other speakers included Phil Peck, long-time Head of School at Holderness School, former colleague, and special friend to the whole Furlonge family, who introduced Mr. Furlonge at the official ceremony. “Nigel is a passionate learner and has a contagious growth-mindset. You are getting a truly remarkable person and leader to serve and guide your wonderful school.” Mr. Peck drew on his long, professional experience as colleague, mentor, and friend when he stated, “Leading schools for Nigel is not a job; it is a lifestyle that he embraces, [and] it brings him great joy.” He concluded by congratulating the school on its choice and said, “Hold on Montclair Kimberley Academy: your joyful journey of a lifetime under the very capable leadership of Nigel Furlonge is beginning!”

The official Investiture included the ceremonial handing over of both the Kimberley School Bell and the Montclair Academy Bell to Mr. Furlonge, both of which played significant, symbolic roles through the history of both founding schools. In his Keynote Address, Mr. Furlonge acknowledged this rich tradition and looked to the future. He shared his commitment, “to leading a school that sustains the adults that work in it as professional learners and co-designers who find joy and purpose in their work here. And, as much as I want students to thrive academically, I am equally committed to leading a school that intentionally cultivates intellectual curiosity, capacity, joy, and integrity.”

Senior Faculty member Scott Coronis closed the ceremony by sharing the faculty’s commitment to Mr. Furlonge: “I hope that you will take your gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness to open yourself to what we have to offer so that we can all have a hand in creating the singular school you envision.”

Attended by family members, colleagues, and special guests in person and via livestream, the Investiture of Nigel D. Furlonge was a significant and celebratory event in MKA history. As Mr. Furlonge said, “This Investiture is not only about me as your new Head of School; it’s about all of us. It’s about the MKA story we will write together. It’s about the way we stand in community. And it’s about why we say, over and over again, ‘We Are MKA.’”

To watch the complete ceremony visit https://youtu.be/dkaUviYA1_8. View more photos of the day-long celebration by visiting http://ow.ly/wws650GvmS2.