Plymouth Meeting Friends School Announced New Head of School

The Plymouth Meeting Friends School, a Quaker school for elementary-aged school children founded in 1780, recently announced that Brenda Crawley has been named its new Head of School. Below is the announcement:

October 15, 2018

Dear Friends,

The PMFS School Committee is pleased to announce the appointment of Brenda C. Crawley to be Head of School starting July 1, 2019. The Search Committee enthusiastically recommended Brenda, observing that she is a highly engaging and committed educator with over 30 years of independent elementary school experience as a teacher and administrator. Equal in importance for the Search Committee is that she is a person of infectious energy and a true lover of life.

The School Committee feels our community is blessed to have such a talented and experienced leader join us as Head of School.

Brenda came into our search process with an impressive resumé. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Manhattanville College with a Bachelor of Music, and a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Johns Hopkins University – Carey Business School with an MS in Organizational Development. She has served in her current position as Head of Lower School at Sandy Spring Friends School since 2011. She was previously Head of the Lower School at the McLean School of Maryland where she began her career as a Music Teacher. She is a regular presenter on a variety of subjects relating to early childhood education, as well as race, inclusion and diversity. Brenda currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her wife Ellen and their two sons, Jonathan and William.

Brenda also impressed members of our community during her two visits to PMFS. Here are some representative comments which were shared with the Search Committee:

“Brenda is a proven leader with clear convictions, a terrific personal style that is welcoming and filled with humor, and solid experience in Friends education.”

“She showed an ability to gather groups, communicate effectively, think critically, and show such a positive (and funny) spirit.”

“I loved hearing her thoughts on where a child is developmentally. She knows where a child should be at different stages of their elementary years, but also knows that some students need more help than others.”

In addition to finding Brenda compelling and knowledgeable, the School Committee members were impressed by her ability to identify and articulate areas where PMFS is strong, as well as places where there are opportunities for growth. Equally impressive was her ability to engage with the many different parts of our community in meaningful conversation around these topics.

Of course, there is more to a candidate than first impressions.  The Search Committee also invested significant effort in talking with Brenda’s references and visiting Sandy Spring Friends School to see Brenda in action, and to talk with people who work with her every day. Comments from Brenda’s current school community show they are just as impressed with her as we are:

“She is the best administrator I have ever worked with.”

“Brenda rebuilt trust at our school. She calls people to do their best and holds them to growth.”

“She is brilliant with parents — clear, direct, loving and kind. ”

“Incredibly hard working, collaborative.”

In light of her many gifts and skills, the impact she has had on her current school community, and the impression she made in her short time at PMFS, the School Committee embraced the Search Committee’s recommendation to appoint Brenda as our next Head of School with enthusiastic, united approval.

In accepting our offer, Brenda said “With open arms, an open mind and an open heart, I joyously accept the honor of leading the Plymouth Meeting Friends School community.”  In that same spirit of openness and joy, we invite all of you to join us in welcoming Brenda to our school community as the next Head of School.


Tom Hoopes, Clerk of School Committee

John Gilliland, Clerk of Search Committee