The Head of School Search Committee has begun its work in conjunction with efforts by our search consultants, DRG Search. We are currently planning for DRG’s first visit to our school on March 18-19. In preparation for this visit and as part of the Search Committee’s information-gathering efforts, we launched a Head of School Search survey. The anonymous Head of School survey is being administered and compiled by DRG. Members of the JPDS/MILTON family – including current parents, alumni parents, alumni, grandparents, faculty, staff, friends, and supporters – have been invited to share their input and to help shape the search process. We look forward to hearing from the community about the qualities that are most important to you about MILTON, what you most value in a Head of School, and what you think MILTON will need in its next leader and in the next chapter.
The data gathered from the survey will be used to inform the job description for the next Head of School and beyond. This survey is a preliminary information gathering effort. The school community will have additional opportunities for input throughout the Head of School search process. Thank you for sharing your unique insights. We are grateful for your participation in the process and for this opportunity to gather valuable information about the needs and priorities of our entire community, so that together we can strengthen our school.
Current Head of School Naomi Reem has announced that after 15 years at her post, the 2019-2020 academic year will be her last year at Milton.
The Board of Trustees has appointed a Search Committee headed by former Board President and long-time Trustee Helaine Greenfeld (Jake Mintz ’07, Abby Mintz ’11), and engaged a search firm, DRG Search. Ranked as one of Forbes’ 2018 and 2017 Best Executive Recruiting Firms, DRG Search has extensive experience and a successful track record of working with Jewish day schools.
The Board is committed to conducting an open, transparent and comprehensive search for Milton’s next Head of School. Over the next few months, the Search Committee and DRG will be reaching out to all the members of the Milton family – parents, students, faculty, staff, alumni and their parents, donors, and other supporters – to listen to your thoughts about the kind of leader Milton needs to guide us into the future. DRG will then help identify the right candidates, who will spend time at school and with the Search Committee.
Milton is one of the most exciting, dynamic, and successful Jewish day schools in the country, and we are confident that our search process will yield the right next Head of School for the 2020-21 school year and this exciting next chapter in the life of Milton.
We will involve and inform the community throughout the process. Keep checking back as we update our Head of School Search webspace. In the meantime, if you have questions, or want to talk more about the process, email President of the Board of Trustees Steve Laufer or Search Committee Chair Helaine Greenfeld. We are looking forward to engaging with the Milton community throughout this process and to diving into this exciting and important work.
A Letter from Naomi Reem
Dear Milton Community,
It is with mixed emotions that I am sharing with you that Academic Year 2019-2020 will be my last year at Milton. By then, I will be completing 15 years at the helm of the school and will be granting the diplomas to the first Middle School graduating class. It will also be time for me to look for my next experience and for the school to welcome its new leader.
Much has happened at JPDS-NC/Milton and in my own life since the summer of 2005, when my son Jonathan, then a fourth grader, and I joined the school. We now have two beautiful campuses; we successfully launched an extraordinary Jewish middle school in Washington, DC; our enrollment is at a record high, with nearly 400 students attending Grades Pre-K to 7; we matured as an organization, formed partnerships, and invested in our talented faculty and staff through grants, continuing education, and professional development; and we have grown into a central institution in the Greater DC community. At the same time, much has remained the same: the excellence of our faculty; the deep and meaningful learning our students experience; the care of everyone who works at the school; the dedication and support of the community; and the tremendous efforts and contributions of the school’s many volunteers and trustees whose work helps sustain the school and serve our students and families.
I am privileged to serve as Head of School at Milton, a role that allows me to combine my passion for children and education with my love of Judaism, the Jewish people, and Israel. I am so fortunate to come to work every day at a school I love, working with talented professionals whom I trust, respect, and enjoy, and knowing that together we are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of students and positively impacting the Jewish future. While it will soon be time for me to move on, I will remain forever grateful for this incredible opportunity and for this incredible community.
I know that Milton is well positioned to attract the best candidates and that the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees will select the next Head of School with care and wisdom. I also know that the school is poised, once again, to welcome a new leader with a new vision and that you, the Milton community, will strengthen the hands of the new Head of School, as you all did for me, in order to move the school forward and fulfill its potential.
Over the next year and a half, the Search Committee and Board of Trustees will be focused on the transition to new leadership. During that time, the work of Milton’s Leadership Team will continue to be centered on delivering on our mission and on the day-to-day learning and growth of our students, faculty, families, and community, as well as on the vibrancy of the institution as a whole.
I want to express my gratitude to everyone who makes Milton such a dynamic, warm, and remarkable school and community. Thank you to all our past and present students, families, faculty and staff, volunteers, supporters, and especially to the Milton Board of Trustees, for the trust, support, and friendship you have extended to me during my tenure at the school. May Milton – and all of us – go from strength to strength.
Head of School, Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital
“For everything there is a season, a time for every experience under heaven.”
A Letter from Steve Laufer
Dear Milton Community,
By now you have read Naomi Reem’s letter announcing that the 2019-20 school year will be her last at the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School. After 15 years as our Head of School, Naomi has decided that she is ready for her next professional experience, which means that we here at Milton will now prepare for a new chapter of leadership.
We have been lucky beyond measure to have had Naomi’s leadership for half of our life as a school. Throughout her time at Milton, Naomi has nurtured a reflective culture of learning and growth that produced innovation, collaboration, and academic excellence throughout the school. She has cultivated an exceptional leadership team, and talented and dedicated faculty and staff, who share her commitment to academic excellence, to a rich student experience, and to the school’s warm and inclusive community. Moreover, she has fostered a strong and collaborative partnership between the school’s Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees. In sum, Milton is a strong and vibrant institution, well poised for this transition.
The school’s growth under Naomi’s leadership has been nothing short of extraordinary. Naomi first joined the then Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital in 2005, following Founding Head of School Susan Koss. Together with the founding families and early Steering Committees, our early leaders built a school based on love of Judaism and its values, excellence in education, and dedication to our community. They fought for our school’s survival, and ended up creating one of the most vital institutions in the Washington, DC Jewish community.
When Naomi joined us, we were getting established in our permanent location on 16th Street, and we were finally able to get our financial footing. Together with the school’s Board, and a growing network of generous donors both in and out of our parent body, Naomi and a dedicated team of professionals built upon the school’s earlier successes. They grew our student body, our talented faculty, our academic program, and our presence in DC Jewish life. They worked with the late Kay and Robert Schattner who supported our growth. They expanded our physical footprint with the acquisition of the South Campus. Later, with the partnership of the Moses and Gottesman families, they built our amazing new facility and launched the District’s first Jewish middle school in more than 40 years. The Biblical phrase, “from strength to strength,” does not even begin to describe the history of the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School, and Naomi Reem has proven to be one of the most important sources of that strength.
Among the most important gifts that Naomi has bestowed on this community is the gift of telling us her plans well in advance of her departure. Thanks to this gift, the Board of Trustees has already begun fulfilling our most important responsibility of hiring the next Head of School. We intend to keep the community informed and involved throughout the search process and we invite you to follow this space to learn more.
While we will miss Naomi tremendously, the transition to a new Head of School is a normal and healthy milestone in the school’s evolution. We are confident that Milton will attract many extraordinary candidates and that we will be able to find the right one to lead the school forward starting in the summer of 2020. In the meantime, let us all start celebrating Naomi and her many contributions to our school.
President, Board of Trustees