Please click here to read the Fall 2023 Issue of the Brick by Brick Newsletter.
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Dear Members of the Brick Community:
I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Marie Fabian as the next Director of the Brick Church School.
Culminating a thorough and inclusive search, the Director Nominating Committee voted unanimously to recommend Marie to the Day School Committee and Session, which voted, both unanimously, in favor of appointing her Director, effective July 1, 2023.
Marie’s experience at Brick runs deep: She has served ably as Interim Director and was previously a senior administrator. Marie cherishes time with students, has strong professional connections with faculty, and works tirelessly to build relationships with Brick families, ongoing schools, and church members. With her unparalleled knowledge of Brick, tireless work ethic, and warm presence at drop-off, pick-up, in classrooms, and at family and church meetings, Marie is well equipped to build on Brick’s success and lead Brick to a thriving future.
About Marie Fabian
Marie is devoted to early childhood education. While a student at Oberlin College, Marie spent summers at the Episcopal School in New York City. After graduation, Marie taught at Episcopal while earning graduate degrees in law and education at Fordham University. Ultimately Marie became the Curriculum and Program Coordinator at Episcopal.
In 2005 Marie joined Brick as the first Assistant Director, supporting and supervising faculty, overseeing professional development, managing teacher hiring, and coordinating services for students with special needs. Later becoming Director of Institutional Advancement and Co-business Manager, Marie was instrumental in professionalizing Brick’s senior leadership team. Additionally, Marie organized Brick’s self-study for a ten-year review and reaccreditation by the New York State Association of Independent Schools.
After leaving Brick in 2012, Marie was Director and Head Teacher at the Circle School in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.
Marie lives in Montrose, NY with her wife Genie and has two children: Annie, in her first year at Wesleyan University, and Jimmy, a ninth grader at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY. Previously, Marie was Parent Association president and an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees at the Masters School. She also directed the Sunday school at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.
Beyond education, Marie is committed to animal welfare, adopting cats and dogs from animal rescues, most recently Kirby, a blind eleven-year-old dog. Additionally, Marie is an avid gardener, particularly passionate about tomatoes.
Support from the Brick Community
During the search, numerous members of the Brick community sent the Director Nominating Committee letters supporting Marie, a sample of which follow:
Marie is present at the school; she is outside every morning shaking students’ hands and making eye contact prior to welcoming them into the school…. Marie responds in a very timely manner to emails with clear, practical and concise answers. She welcomes and encourages in-person meetings and makes herself always available – it’s incredibly impressive…. She knows the families and KNOWS the children…. Even my child knows who she is. (Brick parent)
Her presence at school has created a calm and loving environment to all who enter the facility, as she greets everyone with her warm, genuine and kind nature. (Brick teacher)
She is constantly out speaking with the directors of ongoing schools and really advocating for each child. And she’s incredibly knowledgeable about the exmissions process and working hard to get to know each and every child in the school through time with them in the classroom. (Brick parent)
The Search Process
Marie’s appointment follows a comprehensive eight-month search. I am deeply thankful to my colleagues on the Director Nominating Committee who generously gave so much time and attention to the search. Additionally, I am grateful for the many Brick community members who participated, providing insights and helping articulate the issues and opportunities faced by the school and the qualities and qualifications needed in the next Director.
Once Amy Warden announced her departure in March 2022, the Director Nominating Committee began working with consultants from Carney, Sandoe & Associates, and is thankful for their assistance. The consultants interviewed school families, church members, faculty and staff, Day School Committee and Session members, trustees, and church ministers; gathered information through a survey of the entire Brick community; and relied on the perspectives of the Director Nominating Committee to craft a Position Description setting forth the essential qualities and qualifications sought in the next Director.
On Brick’s behalf, the consultants contacted nearly 100 prospective candidates and, from that pool, identified a dynamic and diverse group of eight outstanding school leaders. The Director Nominating Committee interviewed five semi-finalists, and then invited four finalists, including Marie, to interview at Brick in the fall. All finalists met with families, senior school administrators, teachers, church ministers, Session members, Day School Committee members, and the Director Nominating Committee; all participants were asked for feedback.
Although all four finalists are all highly qualified early childhood educators, a consensus emerged among the Director Nominating Committee that Marie is best suited to lead Brick forward and has done excellent work as Interim Director.
Please join me in congratulating Marie Fabian on her appointment as Brick’s next Director.
Chair, Director Nominating Committee and Day School Committee
Please click here to read the Fall Edition of the Brick by Brick Newsletter.
Dear Brick Church School Community,
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Tara Mastin as the new Associate Director for Teaching & Learning at The Brick Church School. She will begin her role on July 1, 2022.
Tara is a passionate early childhood educator with significant school leadership and teaching experience. She shares Brick’s belief in the importance of cultivating a lifelong love of learning in a joyful, supportive, and inclusive environment. Tara is committed to furthering Brick’s mission to nourish children’s well-being and development in all areas through an educational program that balances project work and skill development in an atmosphere of warmth and mutual respect.
Tara was most recently the Director at Riverdale Presbyterian Church Nursery School. She was previously the Associate Director at Chelsea Day School and the Head of Lower School at Williamsburg Northside School. She has also taught at The Greenwich Village School and Village Community School.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Westfield State College, MA., and from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, her M.A. Concentrated in Language & Literacy (Elementary/Early Childhood Education). She holds Permanent Teaching Certifications in Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and Grades 1-6.
We hope that you will all join us in welcoming Tara to the Brick community.
Amy Warden and Marie Fabian
Dear Brick Families,
I am delighted to return to The Brick Church School this spring and to have the opportunity to introduce myself to you. Brick has held a special place in my heart for many years, and it has been wonderful reconnecting with old friends in this incredible community. I look forward to getting to know all of you and your children this year.
Early childhood education has been a true calling for me. Over the past 28 years, I have been a classroom teacher, a curriculum and program coordinator, a learning specialist, an associate director, and a director during the course of my career. In each role, I have found great joy working in partnership with parents, and I believe the home-school connection is a critical part of the foundation of a child’s school experience. This belief was strengthened further when I became a parent myself 18 years ago.
When I served as Associate Director at Brick, I was thrilled to be a part of such an incredible professional community, with outstanding teachers who shared my passion for providing the best possible early childhood experience for their students. I also took great joy in being a part of the Brick Presbyterian Church community, with its spirit of love and compassion, and its commitment to providing a preschool program of the highest caliber to the greater community. It is a gift to find myself here again.
I look forward to meeting all of you in the coming months, including on the evening of April 27 (invitation to follow). In the meantime, please come up and say hello if you see me outside at drop-off. I will be spending time in classrooms this spring getting to know all of the children, and I am eager to support them, and you, throughout their remaining tenure at Brick, as well as through the process of applying to kindergarten when the time comes.
I am thrilled to serve as The Brick Church School’s Interim Director and will ensure that its high standards of excellence are maintained, while the supportive and nurturing environment we all know and love at Brick continues to flourish.
With warm regards,
Dear Members of the Brick Church School Community:
I write on behalf of the Day School Committee of the Brick Church School, the Session of the Brick Presbyterian Church, and the Director Nominating Committee to introduce you to the Director Nominating Committee and provide initial information about the search process for the next permanent Director of the Brick Church School. As you know, Marie Fabian will serve as Interim Director for the 2022-23 academic year.
The twelve-member Director Nominating Committee includes parents, faculty, church members, alumni, Day School Committee members, Church elders, Trustees, and school administrators, and is comprised of the following members:
· Ted Clement, Chair
· Farley Bills
· Thérèse Cruite
· Samantha Lasry-Fleisher
· Robbie Pennoyer
· Elizabeth Philipp
· Megan Raelson
· Tiffany Rafii
· Chris Robinson
· Chris Thorpe
· Rev. Tom Evans, ex officio
· Victor Wu, ex officio
The Director Nominating Committee will begin meeting later this month. Our work will be guided by the Brick Church School’s mission, vision, and values and informed by input that we seek from the school community. Ultimately, the Director Nominating Committee will make a recommendation to the Day School Committee of the Brick Church School and the Session of the Brick Presbyterian Church, which will make the final decision on our next Director. We expect the next Director’s term to begin at the start of the 2023-24 academic year.
Thank you for your interest and engagement in the search process.
Ted Clement Chair, Director Nominating Committee
Please find letters below regarding Amy Warden’s departure as Director, as well as Marie Fabian’s welcome as Interim Director, and information about the Director Nominating Committee.
Letter from Amy Warden
Dear Brick Community,
Nine years ago when I started my tenure at Brick as Associate Director I quickly realized what an extraordinary community I had joined. I was warmly welcomed by families whose commitment to, and support of Brick’s mission was evident every day and after meeting a particularly charming and precocious young boy in a bow tie who asked me if I would like to sit next to him at the snack table I knew I had found my home. During my first year when I watched our son, Henry (then 5, now 14) read to 2 South and received the most loving baby shower for our daughter, Audrey, I knew Brick had my heart. Throughout my tenure, and most especially these past three years as Director, I have been inspired and uplifted by the passionate, dedicated and exceptionally talented group of early childhood educators and administrators who began as colleagues and have become trusted partners. It has been my honor to work alongside them. So, it is with profound gratitude, and some sadness that I share my decision to step down as the Director of The Brick Church School at the conclusion of this school year, to start a new chapter in my professional life, at a school that has been very meaningful for me personally. My daughter, Audrey (now 8), attends The Stephen Gaynor School, an institution that is a pioneer in special education and a community that has changed the trajectory of her life. So when the opportunity arose for me to more directly support their efforts to bring the same transformational experience to other children, as their next Director of Admissions and Enrollment, I felt compelled to take it.
To be a part of a young child’s earliest educational experiences is incredibly meaningful and sacred work, and I have cherished being a part of the start of each child’s academic journey at Brick. I have delighted in spending time with children through the quiet connection offered in Chapel, the creative inspirations of the light filled art studio, the flurry of movement in the Garden and on the Roof and the undivided attention that comes when sharing a book. I am indebted to our teachers for their partnership and collaboration as we honed our curriculum and saw it evolve over time. We deepened our understanding and appreciation for how young children learn to read, of how imperative it is to have a quality social-emotional curriculum and of how critical it is to remain committed to, and intentional about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. The Brick faculty truly understand the meaning and benefit of Rudine Sims Bishop’s vision of offering children mirrors and windows. They have created classrooms and curricula that both mirror their student’s experiences while also providing windows into the lives of others, opening doors into the diverse world around them. Through that work and our commitment to teaching the whole child we have watched them grow and develop as joyful, eager students and kind, caring friends who have healthy views of themselves and sincere respect for others. As an educator, there is nothing greater to witness than this.
I am so grateful for the personal connections, moments of joy and deep learning that were part of my journey at Brick and I have benefitted from the wisdom and support of so many. I am wiser for being surrounded by educators and learning specialists who took the time to think deeply about child development, something I relish. I am thankful to Day School Committee members for celebrating my love of a good spreadsheet and also reminding me to stand strong in my convictions. I am forever indebted to the Pastors who took time to check in with me during moments of both pain and celebration and to the many families who engaged me in truly valued discourse that both affirmed our direction and challenged us to be ever better. I will always treasure the memories made traveling with my wonderful colleagues to conferences near and far to unlock the power and magic of early childhood education.
For much of my tenure as Director we have been in the midst of a global pandemic. As we navigated our new normal, I was gratified and energized by the perseverance and unwavering commitment of Brick’s team who were incredibly patient, supportive and innovative, as we kept the well-being of children at the forefront of our decision making. They chose time and again to work harder than they ever have to keep school open because they knew it was the right thing to do for our young students. Through it all, as I endeavored to lead with optimism, I found myself fortified by the support and care of staff, faculty, families, Day School Committee members, Church leaders and Church members. On behalf of our young students we have accomplished great things and endured together.
As we look forward, it is my great pleasure to welcome Marie Fabian back to Brick as the Interim Director. Marie and I will work together for the remainder of the school year to ensure a smooth and seamless transition before I say farewell at the end of June. For those of you who have not yet met Marie, you are in for a treat. Bolstered by her talents, our outstanding families and exceptional teachers, Brick‘s future is bright. I am confident it will continue to be the special community that I have been so fortunate to be a part of these past nine years. I thank you sincerely for all of your kindness and support through the years and I wish you all well.
The Brick Church School
Letter from the Day School Committee and The Session of the Brick Presbyterian Church
Dear Members of the Brick Church School Community,
We are writing on behalf of the Day School Committee of the Brick Church School and the Session of the Brick Presbyterian Church to share the news that Amy Warden has decided to leave the Brick Church School at the end of this school year. When Amy informed us of her recent decision, she underscored how much she loves the Brick community and how difficult it was to decide to move on. An exciting leadership opportunity was available at a school at which Amy and her family have close ties, and she felt called to apply. Though we are sad to see Amy go, we understand and support her decision, and we know that her new school community will feel as fortunate as we have been at Brick to have Amy as a leader, teacher, colleague, and friend.
After six years as Brick’s Associate Director, Amy became the school’s Director in the summer of 2019. During her tenure, Amy has distinguished herself as a leader through her unfailing kindness and integrity, her dedication to the school, and her expertise and passion for early childhood education. She has strengthened our school community in profound ways.
Among her many accomplishments, Amy was instrumental in developing the Twos Program and achieving record enrollment levels schoolwide. Most notably, Amy has been a steadfast leader through the Covid pandemic, keeping our community safe and protecting our children’s learning environment. With Amy’s leadership, Brick has been a leader among nursery schools, swiftly and successfully pivoting to remote learning in spring 2020 and then resuming in-person class that fall, making Brick an outlier among independent schools in reopening quickly and remaining open for the entire 2020-2021 academic year. Her commitment to our children and to the faculty has provided stability during times of difficulty, and her sense of purpose and joy has been contagious. We will miss Amy, and we will always be grateful for her service to our community.
Moving forward, we are pleased to announce that Marie Fabian will return to Brick to serve as Interim Director for the 2022–2023 school year. An experienced educator and leader, Marie most recently served as Director of the Circle School, an early childhood program affiliated with Our Savior Lutheran Church in Croton-on-Hudson, where she was responsible for all aspects of the school’s early childhood program. She previously served as Associate Director at Brick under Lydia Spinelli from September 2005 through June 2008, and then returned to serve as the Director of Institutional Advancement and Co-Business Manager from September 2010 through June 2012. Marie’s knowledge and love of Brick, along with her experience on both the academic and administrative sides of school life, make her the ideal Interim Director, and we are confident that she will help steward a seamless transition in leadership between Amy Warden and Brick’s next permanent Director. We are grateful that Marie will return to Brick in April to work alongside Amy while getting to know the faculty, families, and students.
We have formed a search committee of experienced and dedicated individuals, chaired by Ted Clement, who is a Brick alumnus and parent, an elder of the Church, and a member of both the Day School Committee and the Session. You will hear more from the committee later this spring as it launches an inclusive and thorough search process to identify the next Director of the Brick Church School. We anticipate that Brick’s next Director will begin their term at the start of the 2023–2024 school year.
For over eighty years, the Brick Church School has distinguished itself for the outstanding, compassionate, and thoughtful education it provides its students. Supported by our talented faculty and staff, Amy’s successor will build on all that she accomplished during her tenure, continuing to nurture a diverse and inclusive community of broad welcome and deep belonging. While change can be daunting, the Day School Committee and the Session are confident in the mission and values of the school, in the strength and stability of Brick’s program, and in the talented teachers who carry it out each year with such dedication, wisdom, and skill.
We will keep you informed throughout the search for Brick’s next Director. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to either of us.
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Evans
Senior Minister, Head of Staff, and Moderator of Session
on behalf of the Session of the Brick Presbyterian Church
Chair, Day School Committee
on behalf of the Day School Committee
The Brick Church School
Dear Brick Families,
Happy New Year! I hope that you all enjoyed a restorative, happy and healthy holiday break. As 92nd Street is again bustling with joyful sounds of your children learning and at play I am thankful that we remain able to be in community, learning with, and from one another, whether we be in person or connected via Zoom. Thank you for your ongoing vigilance in support of our community health efforts.
Since we have returned, the children have regaled us during morning and afternoon meetings with stories of the special family celebrations and traditions they enjoyed over the holidays and I am reminded of our theme for the year “The Story of Us” and how each of your children’s unique gifts and experiences enriches our community. When they share their gifts it helps them not only to reflect upon who they are, but also to explore the question of “Who are we?” as a community. In this vein, 4North recently completed a survey about what the children like to do before bedtime, and 4South began their in-depth self-portrait project. As I observed parts of this process in both classrooms I enjoyed seeing the children reflect upon each other’s answers and choices, helping them to think more deeply about their own preferences and self, ultimately bringing the whole class closer together as they shared themselves so freely.
You may remember at the start of the school year I shared my belief in the importance of educating our young students during this complex time in the context of continued optimism supported by resilience, courage and flexibility. In our community I regularly see so many examples of each of these; 3 year olds cheerfully wearing masks without complaint, parents entrusting that which is most precious to them, to us, during this most uncertain time, teachers eagerly implementing revised health protocols to help keep their students safe, 4 year olds taking risks and taking on new and challenging tasks, 2 year olds making new friends, that I am compelled to add gratitude to the list of values that sustain us this year.
So as we begin 2022, know that we are grateful for each day with your children as we endeavor to live our mission of nourishing your children’s emotional, social, intellectual, physical, ethical, and spiritual well-being. I hope you all enjoy this long weekend.
Director of The Brick Church School