November 10, 2020
Dear Laurel and Newgrange Community,
After a focused national search conducted over the last few months, I am delighted to announce that Bob Thomas has been appointed as The Laurel School’s second head of school, effective July 1, 2021.
Bob is currently the Director of Enrollment Management and Communications at The Churchill School & Center in New York City. His credentials are impressive. The Churchill School & Center is a school very similar to Laurel, in that their mission is to serve students with language-based learning differences such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, executive functioning and ADHD. Bob’s affinity for Laurel stems from his work at Churchill, and seeing how amazingly creative those children are.
In June, Dee Rosenberg in a letter to myself and the Board of Trustees announced that the 2020-21 school year will be her last. Dee, along with Dr. Gordon Sherman, founded Laurel and have seen it grow into a vibrant school for children with language-based learning differences. Dee has overseen the creation of Laurel’s high school program and the installation of its competency-based curriculum. While Dee is stepping down from the reigns of Laurel, she intends to devote her energies in leading The Robinowitz Education Center. There, she will oversee all professional development initiatives, tutoring, educational evaluations and our partnership with The College of New Jersey.
A national search for Dee’s successor began immediately. Educational Directions, a highly regarded search firm for heads of school, was selected and retained. Sam Richards and Jerry Larson from Educational Directions assisted in the search. They scoured resumes and presented ten highly qualified candidates. Those candidates were narrowed down to five semi-finalists, and then down to three finalists. The three finalists completed intensive on campus interviews with various Laurel constituents. I would like to thank all the candidates for their dedication to the process and the affinity they all have for Laurel’s mission. I would also like to thank the members of the search council, who interviewed the candidates and provided invaluable feedback that led me to the decision to name Bob as the next head of school.
It was evident that Bob rose to the top of the finalist’s candidates, as he demonstrated a thorough grasp of the Laurel mission, its culture and knowledge of children with learning differences.
Bob has gained a reputation for his down-to-earth, authentic, and inspiring approach, a strategic relationship builder, classroom teacher, athletic coach and school leader. Bob began his educational career in the Philadelphia Parochial School system, teaching at two urban schools. After several years in Philadelphia (where he grew up), Bob moved into the independent school arena. He spent 14 years in Delaware before taking a teaching position at Princeton Day School. After four years there, Bob decided to leave the classroom and move into administration. He served as director of admissions, enrollment management, financial aid and as the director of community at several independent schools, including The Haverford School, Haddonfield Friends School, and The Churchill School & Center.
When Bob is not working, Bob enjoys time with his wife, Caroline; his teenage daughter, Jacie; their cats, Lexi and CoCo; and their dog, Evie. He loves the Phillies, Eagles, Red Sox and enjoys cooking, golf and woodworking.
One of Bob’s top priorities will be growing Laurel’s enrollment as Laurel expands its high school program, its Live At Laurel program and its 1:1 At Laurel concept. Bob will also be ensuring that the pedagogy is meeting the children where they are at in their educational journey, executing the new strategic action plan, and there is a sound partnership between the school and our families.
Bob will begin the transition process during the winter and spring, learning as much as possible about Laurel so that he is ready to begin in July. My team and I are excited to begin working with Bob.
This is truly an exciting time for The Laurel School. While I am sad to see Dee step down, I am excited to have Bob lead the school into the future. Please join me in welcoming Bob Thomas to the Laurel family.
Onward and Upward,
CEO and Head of Schools
Tim Viands, CEO and Head of Schools
Dee Rosenberg, Current Head of School
Aimee Nyce, Director of Admissions
Sharon Anderson, Laurel Teacher
Donna Mehta, Laurel Parent
Rebecca Jenks, Laurel Parent
Jen Gursky, Director of Development
Lorraine McKay, Assistant Head of School
Karen Schoenfeld, Board Member / Laurel Parent
Educational Directions has completed their Head of School Search Prospectus. Please find it HERE. The timeline for the search is as follows:
We are excited to begin this search in earnest, as well as make Dee’s final year as the head at The Laurel School the most memorable yet.
Dear Laurel School Community,
I write to inform the community that Dee Rosenberg has notified me that this year will be her last year as Head of School at The Laurel School. I am pleased to announce that Dee will continue in a full-time capacity as the Director at The Robinowitz Education Center going forward.
In Dee’s time at Laurel, she has overseen the founding of the school in 2012, move from a church basement to the Kingston Campus, and now the move to our brand-new location in Hopewell. Dee has also been forward-thinking in expanding the school from a tiny school to a school that is adding a high school program with a curriculum grounded in research-based practices and competency-based learning.
One of Dee’s passions is mentoring teachers and testing children for learning differences, and as the Director at The Robinowitz Education Center, Dee will lead the newly formed partnership with The College of New Jersey, where the education center will provide all dyslexia testing for their Early Child Literacy Institute. Dee will also be expanding upon the newly formed Enlightenment Learning Solutions, which provides online tutoring, assessments, consultations, professional development and online schooling options.
Dee is a nationally recognized thought-leader in the field of language-based learning differences and as one of the most respected thinkers and practitioners in dyslexia. I am humbled that she is taking on the enormous challenge of spearheading unprecedented growth and recognition of the education center.
To assist in finding Dee’s successor, I have retained a leading school consulting firm, Educational Directions (EDUx). The lead consultant, Dr. Jerry Larson, also conducted the search that led to my appointment three years ago. Jerry will be assisted by Sam Richards. A search committee will be created, with the timeline to name a new head of school by December. Laurel’s new head will begin on July, 1, 2021, but will use the time in between to transition and learn from the best, which is Dee.
With Dee continuing in a leadership capacity within The Newgrange Family of Schools, I am confident that the fidelity of the Laurel program will remain and our new leader will build on Dee’s untarnished legacy.
Tim Viands, CEO & Head of Schools
The Newgrange Family of Schools