After a decade and a half at the helm of the only Jewish day school in Washington, D.C., Head of School Naomi Reem will be leaving Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital (MILTON) after the 2019-2020 school year. The school shared her decision in an email announcement on Jan. 8.
Reem has worked in Jewish day school education for 31 years — 22 of them as a head of school — and “has determined that she is ready for her next professional experience,” the announcement said.
“We have been lucky beyond measure to have had Naomi’s leadership for half of our life as a school. Naomi has nurtured a reflective culture of learning and growth that produced innovation, collaboration, and academic excellence throughout the school,” said Steve Laufer, president of the MILTON Board of Trustees. “Naomi has cultivated an exceptional leadership team, and talented and dedicated faculty and staff, who share her commitment to academic excellence, a rich student experience, and to the school’s warm and inclusive community.”
“MILTON is a strong and vibrant institution, well poised for this transition,” he said.
“MILTON is the professional and parent community about which most people dream. I am privileged to work every day at a school I love, with talented professionals who I trust, respect, and enjoy, and knowing that together we are making a difference in the lives of students and families, and positively impacting the Jewish future,” said Reem. “I am grateful to everyone who makes MILTON such a dynamic, warm, and remarkable school and community, and especially to the MILTON Board of Trustees for their leadership and the trust, support, and friendship they extended to me during my tenure at the school.”
The board is committed to conducting an open, transparent, and comprehensive search for MILTON’s next head of school. It has appointed a search committee, headed by former board president and long-time trustee Helaine Greenfeld, comprising a diverse group of current parents, parents of alumni, an alumna, and a former head of school with search experience.
The board has also engaged DRG Search, an executive search firm with extensive experience and a successful track record of working with Jewish day schools. Over the next few months, the search committee and DRG will be reaching out to parents and students, faculty and staff, alumni and their parents, donors, and other supporters to listen to their thoughts about the kind of leader MILTON needs to guide the school into the future. A dedicated head of school search webpage has been created to update the community throughout the process.
MILTON currently serves 395 children in pre-K through seventh grade, but will expand to include its first eighth-grade class in fall 2019. Originally named the Jewish Primary Day School (JPDS), MILTON was established in DC in 1988 by a small group of parents who wanted to give their children a pluralistic Jewish education in their home city.
The school eventually expanded from a single location on 16th Street to a north and south campus in 2013. In response to growing demand for a Jewish middle school in the District, the board of trustees decided in 2014 to add grades seven and eight. This was made possible through a major gift from the Gottesman family and Ambassador Alfred Moses. In the spring of 2017, the school officially changed its name to Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital in honor of the late Milton Gottesman. The renovated and expanded Kay and Robert Schattner North Campus opened in September 2018, and the first Moses Family Middle School class will graduate from the school in 2020.
“MILTON is one of the most exciting, dynamic, and successful Jewish day schools in the country, and we are confident that our search process will yield the right next head of school for the 2020-2021 school year and this exciting next chapter in the life of the school,” said Search Committee Chair Helaine Greenfeld.
By Kol HaBirah Staff