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A Progressive Education for 3 Months to Grade 12

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Head of School Search

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Background

After seven successful years at Barrie School, last September Jon Kidder shared with the community that this would be his last year serving as Head of School. Over his tenure, Jon worked with Faculty, Staff, and the Board of Trustees to launch a broad range of curricular initiatives that helped grow the size of the school by 30%. We are grateful to Jon for his service. (Please click here for Jon’s Announcement and Board Chair Bethany Criss’s Letter to the Community).
 

Following this announcement, the Board of Trustees initiated a national search for our next Head of School -- led by the nationally recognized search firm, RG175. After a rigorous and inclusive process, we are pleased to have selected veteran educator Ben Thrash as Barrie’s next Head of School. 

Ben will bring experience, vitality, and warmth to his role. Please click here to read Board Chair Bethany Criss’s extended Letter to the Community announcing Ben Thrash's appointment.

Board appoints Ben Thrash as new Head of School to begin July 1, 2024

Ben Thrash will begin at Barrie School on July 1. He has spent 25 years as a constructivist teacher, learning leader, and progressive educational thinker. After 10 years teaching at-risk youth in the US and international students in Europe, he has spent the past 15 years as a school leader focused on high student engagement, social emotional learning, and meaningful learning impacts. Ben has led IB World School authorizations and served on multiple visiting teams for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. His career has spanned Reggio Emilia learning through Diploma level challenge. In his most recent position he served as  Deputy Head of School at the International School of Helsinki. Ben holds two Masters degrees: a degree in teaching secondary science from Brown University and a degree in Educational Leadership from Michigan State University. 

Throughout the interview process, the Board, faculty, staff, students, and families made clear that in Ben, we saw "a visible and warm presence on campus"; an educator with "experience with and interest in progressive education"; and a leader with "experience with the hiring, retention, and evaluation of outstanding faculty and staff." Ben Thrash has a commitment to our values of academic excellence, active learning, and student voice and responsibility. He is a strategic thinker and a strong communicator with a sophisticated understanding of the importance of and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Ben is excited for this opportunity and shared, "I am truly honored to lead Barrie School. From the moment I stepped onto campus, I sensed a school community devoted to learning, the belief that all belong, and authentic care for each other and the world around us. Barrie truly understands what forward-thinking schools should pursue. Thank you for your trust in me. My family and I are thrilled to join this special community. I'm convinced Barrie has a very bright future ahead."

Barrie School empowers students to expand their intellectual abilities, develop their creative talents, and discover their passions to make a positive impact in a rapidly changing world. And with Ben, we will continue this mission, building an even stronger Barrie, and prove what's possible when innovation, belonging, student voice, excellence, and active learning are centered in a Barrie School education.

Welcome to the Barrie School community! 

Ben Thrash

"I am truly honored to lead Barrie School. From the moment I stepped onto campus, I sensed a school community devoted to learning, the belief that all belong, and authentic care for each other and the world around us."

- Ben Thrash, Head of School-Elect

Bethany Criss

"Barrie is that rare school that really does empower and equip students to make a positive impact in a rapidly changing world. And in Ben Thrash, we've found a Head of School who will help us prove what's possible when diversity, innovation, belonging, and excellence are centered in the classroom and curricular philosophy." 

Bethany Criss, Board Chair