SOURCE: Cambridge Friends School

January 28, 2008 08:00 ET

Cambridge Friends School Names Peter Sommer as Head of School

Acclaimed Educator and Administrator Joins Massachusetts' Only Quaker School in July 2008

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - January 28, 2008) - The Board of Trustees of Cambridge Friends School today named Peter Sommer as its new head of school, recognizing Peter's extensive knowledge and experience in the education of primary and middle school-aged children.

Bringing nearly 30 years' educational experience to Cambridge Friends, Peter's prior leadership positions include:

--  Head of the middle school at the Dalton School in New York City;
--  Head of the upper school of the Brooklyn Friends School in Brooklyn,
    New York;
--  Educational director of The Ethical Community Charter School of New
    York and New Jersey; in this role, Peter won both political and financial
    support to create new charter elementary schools in New York City and
    Jersey City, New Jersey. Featuring ethics education and an
    interdisciplinary core curriculum, the first of these schools will open in
    September 2008;
--  Director of education at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching
    and Learning of Columbia University; and
--  Interim headmaster of The North Shore Hebrew Academy in Kings Point,
    New York.

After a comprehensive national search of qualified candidates, the Cambridge Friends' Board of Trustees selected Peter for his leadership in the areas of educational and professional development and for his proven experience in integrating ethics education with an interdisciplinary core curriculum.

"Peter's depth of experience and thoughtful, caring, proactive approach to education match the professional and character profile that we as a community created in our position statement for a new head of school. Throughout his career, Peter has also shown a commitment to academic excellence which matches our own," said Don McNemar, clerk of the Board of Trustees. "Reflective of the Quaker process of consensus-building, Peter's selection truly represents the desire of our community for a head of school who will guide us toward exciting new stages of development."

After visiting the school in December, Peter was struck by "the vibrancy of the intellectual community of teachers and students at Cambridge Friends School." He shared his impressions of the school in his passionate letter of acceptance to the Board of Trustees:

"When I visited CFS, I found a community of teachers and students who shared a profound belief in the power of education. CFS is gifted with a diverse and multicultural faculty and student body who value difference as indispensable. The school is steeped in a Quaker vision of what is possible for both individuals and communities, and a belief in fulfilling this vision through reflection, collaboration, and action. I feel as if my entire professional life has been in preparation for being a part of this community."

Peter Sommer replaces Mary Newmann, under whose stewardship Cambridge Friends has continued to thrive as a learning institution dedicated to academic excellence combined with an emphasis on social justice. A former head of school at Buckingham Browne & Nichols as well as at Cambridge Friends, Mary is retiring after more than 45 years in education.

About Cambridge Friends School

Cambridge Friends School (CFS) is a co-educational elementary school enrolling 225 students in pre-K through grade 8. Established in 1961 under the care of Friends Meeting at Cambridge, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), CFS's mission is to provide an outstanding education. Guided by Quaker principles -- universal values such as equality, integrity, community, and peace -- CFS engages students in meaningful academic learning within a caring community strongly committed to social justice. CFS encourages all students to develop their intellectual, physical, creative, and spiritual potential and, through the example of their lives, to challenge oppression and to contribute to justice and understanding in the world.

For more information on Cambridge Friends School, please visit us on the Web at: or contact us via e-mail: or phone: 617.354.3880.

Contact Information

    Maria Vetrano
    Vetrano Communications
    Tel: 617.876.2770
    E-mail: Email Contact

    Suzanna Schell
    Director of Communications
    Cambridge Friends School
    617.354.3880 ext. 110
    E-mail: Email Contact