LETTER FROM MRS. NEWMAN
Dear Hudson School Family and Friends,
We set sail on October 10, 1978 with a budget of $28,000, a courageous crew of six and 18 passengers. You might say we followed Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Our destination was unclear but we were never adrift. The Hudson School was an outgrowth of the basic belief that education is a process, not a goal; that the learning process is a choreography of intuitive leaps and reposeful evaluations, one that requires and deserves affective guidance and effective tools. Our objective was always to enable adults who respected the talents and cared deeply about the futures of young people to share their passions and knowledge with those young passengers who had been given their families’ blessings to board our ship. We were serious and silly through good times and hard times. To paraphrase Emerson again, we intuitively knew that to be ourselves in a world that was constantly trying to make us something else might just be our greatest accomplishment.
Over the course of the past 36 years during which I have remained in charge of this ship, I absolutely depended upon the collective wisdom of the crew as well as the expertise, creativity, know-how and integrity of each individual aboard. The crew I’ve been privileged to work with has always been united in its determination to brave poor weather conditions (lack of funds) rough seas (flooding, inadequate space, lack of heat, too much heat) and often too-tight quarters. We welcomed those who could offer fly-tying or flamenco, Russian or robotics, philosophy, poetry or pottery; fiber arts or fencing; jewelry-making or Japanese; cooking or capoeira; geography or gardening; and many, many other subjects to enhance our voyage. We have also been blessed with loyal volunteer shipmates–our Board of Trustees and Parents’ Association–whose willingness to lend a hand helped us keep this boat afloat through their commitment, tireless energy and incredible insights as we navigated the waters.
There is, of course, always much more work to be done. For example, we must make more space on our vessel for new passengers. I look forward to refocusing our energy, concentrating on the tasks at hand, studying the process of learning and teaching, sharing our innovations and seeking ways to encourage those who wish to learn and those who wish to teach. For if teaching is an art, it is one that must remain fluid. We must allow for new visions and new insights to shape and control its harmonies and colors.
Which brings me to the ultimate point of all this. I must now let you know, that after much reflection and with the blessing and support of our school’s trustees, I will disembark from this ship in June 2016. Before I dock, I want to thank you for sailing with me, some of you for decades, and two of you since we first launched the ship. No captain could have asked for a more flexible, more compassionate, more understanding crew. You are my second family. Thank you. Thank you for the journey. And thank you for making it possible for me to retire knowing that The Hudson School, this great indomitable vessel, will continue to serve the purpose for which it was founded and the new purposes for which it may be called.
Founder and Director
LETTER FROM JOEL FREISER, BOARD CHAIR
Dear Hudson School Community,
It is with an overwhelming sense of history and appreciation that the Board of Trustees of The Hudson School announces the forthcoming retirement of its founder and Head of School, Suellen Newman. Mrs. Newman announced her decision to step down as of June 2016 to the Board and to her faculty shortly before the Thanksgiving weekend. The Hudson School community and the City of Hoboken have much for which to be thankful when contemplating Mrs. Newman’s inspirational leadership for the past 36 years.
Mrs. Newman, a forty-five-year resident of Hoboken and mother of five, began her journey at The Hudson School with eighteen children and six teachers. The Hudson School can now boast of an enrollment of two hundred students, grades five through twelve and a faculty of over fifty full- and part-time professional educators. The student body has been drawn from forty-one localities in New Jersey and New York, as well as exchange students from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Building on her experience in the Peace Corps and her background in education at Columbia Teachers College’s prestigious Klingenstein Institute, Suellen built her school around principles of intellectual passion and a commitment to expanding and nurturing young minds.
Thanks to her vision, The Hudson School has been a beacon for what education can and ought to be. From its early days in the basement of the library building, to the funding and construction of its current 17,500 square foot home at the corner of Sixth Street and Park Avenue in the heart of the City of Hoboken, NJ, Mrs. Newman has piloted the ship of learning with the same creativity, dedication and hard work that she expects of her students. Her devotion to The Hudson School and its students is legendary and has been an example and a marvel to those of us who have had the good fortune to work with her over the years.
The Board of Trustees is committed to ensuring that Suellen Newman’s legacy continues by its commitment to preserving the school’s need-blind admission policy and promoting the motto “Courage, Compassion, Commitment” for the next generation of Hudson School students.
The Board’s Search Committee will seek an inspirational and effective Head of School, who will combine leadership and vision, which will enable The Hudson School to continue to prosper as it addresses the evolving needs of current and future students and faculty. Information regarding the search process and the timetable for selection of a new Head will be forthcoming in future communications.
Chairman of The Hudson School Board of Trustees
1. How will the search for a new director be conducted?
Several years ago, as part of its reaccreditation process for the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, The Hudson School approved a Strategic Plan that included a well-thought-out transition plan in anticipation of our founder’s eventual retirement. The Board of Trustees will now implement that plan, “Our Vision of the Future,” and looks forward to working in collaboration with Suellen Newman, the faculty and staff. The Board will establish a Search Committee comprised of trustees, faculty, parents and alumni to identify and review prospective candidates and will also solicit input from professional educational consultants. Appropriate candidates will be drawn from a wide range of sources both from within and outside the existing Hudson School community.
2. Who will actually select the new director?
The Board of Trustees will select the new director of The Hudson School based on recommendations from the Search Committee and its review of a select number of candidates.
3. When will a new director be selected?
New leadership will be in place when Mrs. Newman retires in June 2016. It is expected that a permanent or interim director will be selected no later than spring 2016.
4. Will there be any impact on The Hudson School during the transition?
The Hudson School will continue to thrive during the transition process, providing every one of its students with an excellent well-rounded education that will serve them well as they go forward academically and in life. Mrs. Newman will remain as Director throughout the transition, assuring that The Hudson School remains loyal to its mission of developing compassionate, responsible, principled citizens who are socially conscious and committed to lifelong learning and service.
5. Will there be updates on the search as it progresses?
The Board of Trustees will provide periodic updates on the progress of the search and any related news as warranted via emails and posts on The Hudson School’s website (www.thehudsonschool.org).