Update: Director Nominating Committee

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.

Sincerely yours,

Ted Clement Chair, Director Nominating Committee

March 30: Letters to the Brick Community

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.

With care,

Amy Warden

Director

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.

Sincerely,

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Evans

Senior Minister, Head of Staff, and Moderator of Session

on behalf of the Session of the Brick Presbyterian Church 

 

Victor Wu

Chair, Day School Committee

on behalf of the Day School Committee

The Brick Church School

January Update from Amy

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.

Warmly,

Amy Warden

Director of The Brick Church School

 

 

 

Back to School Newsletter from Amy

Dear Brick Family,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2021-2022 school year! It is hard to believe that we are now in our sixth week of classes. To protect the health and safety of our community, we still have a number of pandemic-related precautions in place, but we have been able to take many exciting steps forward as we adapt to today’s changing circumstances.

This year, the children are now able to move throughout the building. Students have returned to the Art Studio and the Music Room for in-person specials, and we are able to hold Chapel in the Sanctuary with Revs. Evans, Gorman, and Unzaga each week. We have also restarted our Library program and are teaching Spanish in the classrooms. Getting back to in-person learning in all of Brick’s beautiful spaces is a huge win for our students and teachers.

Even parents and caregivers have been able to return to 92nd Street. Families have been invited back into the building for Orientation and various fellowship opportunities – from coffees to book clubs – in the Brick Garden.

Each one of these steps towards normalcy has been taken thoughtfully and brings us such joy. I invite you to learn more about what our students have been up to this year through the pictures below.

Warmly,

Amy Warden

Director of The Brick Church School

The Brick Church School Returns to 62 East 92nd Street!

Dear Brick Family,
 
Welcome to the start of The Brick Church School’s 2020-2021 school year! This year marks the 80th anniversary of our founding in 1940. No one imagined that we would commemorate this milestone with masks on, yet everyone here has risen to the occasion. Once again, the Brick community has proven extraordinary in its generosity of spirit and dedication. This year, our themes are Optimism, Equity, and Community, and you will hear them echoed throughout all of our conversations and communications. 
 
Reopening School
After a long summer of nonstop collaboration and planning, we opened our doors to students on Tuesday, September 1st, for the first time since March, when COVID-19 forced us to shift to remote learning for the remainder of the spring. I invite you all to learn more about our Reopening Plan here. I am extremely proud and deeply grateful to everyone – administrators, faculty, staff, trustees, and parents – for working together as a team to develop a reopening plan that allows for a rich educational experience for our students while keeping health and safety at its core. 
 
Our Community of Educators
Our talented teachers and staff have earned a well-deserved moment of gratitude. They have accomplished wondrous things under extraordinary circumstances, and it is an honor to work beside them every day. This year, 95 percent of our faculty and staff are returning, and we are welcoming seven new teachers. Four faculty members have requested to work remotely, and we have been able to accommodate them on either a full- or part-time basis. To help ensure the health and safety of our community, we have also hired a full-time nurse and temporarily converted the church’s Choir Room into a Health Office. 
 
Our Community of Students
I am pleased to report that we are able to offer our full program to 174 students, and they are all wearing smiles underneath their masks! To accommodate social distancing requirements, we have added one additional classroom (“3 South”) in the Carnegie Room. 
 
Our Community of Parents
I am grateful to our parents for entrusting us with their children and for the integrity that they have shown in abiding regulations to protect the health of our community. Although parents are not allowed in the building this fall, we will be working hard to maintain the strength of our community remotely. This year, we have launched The Brick Church School Parents’ Association to help support these efforts. 
 
Our school is strong because our roots are strong. As we navigate a year unlike any other, I am confident that we will continue to grow stronger and more resilient as a community. Thank you for your enduring support of The Brick Church School, our faculty and staff, our students, and our mission. 
 
With sincere gratitude, 
Amy Warden