Christy Reardon, the new Head of Lower School at Germantown Friends School, begins her school day by greeting each child with a smile, a welcome and a handshake.
“It’s my favorite time of day,” she said. “They are under my care, and eye-to-eye contact gives every child a sense of being known.”
This small gesture, Reardon believes, can help build connections within a school – and a community.
“It’s easy to just walk by someone on the street, but it’s our job to make sure that kids don’t just walk by, but that they notice what’s going on,” she said.” That is part of the mandate of urban education.”
Reardon has quickly found herself at home at GFS.
“I came into a place where people were already speaking my language in terms of what they care about,” said Reardon, who was introduced to Quaker education when she attended high school at the Lincoln School in Providence, R.I., and again at Swarthmore College, where a professor and mentor told her, “Christy, you belong at a Friends school.”
“I love that GFS teachers are thinking deeply about reading, writing and math, but also thinking about how social justice, stewardship and community fit into what they do every day,” she said.
Reardon has taught at Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland as well as in the Lower and Middle Schools at Friends’ Select. She was a Klingenstein Fellow, and received an M.A. in Education Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. She served as Assistant Head of Lower School at Wilmington Friends School before coming to GFS.
“It is an honor to work alongside Christy,” said Head of School Dana Weeks. “She is deeply intelligent and simultaneously deeply intuitive and empathetic. I learn more every time I sit with her, and I love that.”
Reardon is looking forward to a number of changes at GFS, including implementing a new world language program in the Lower School.
“I’m excited to create a program that will capitalize on the strength of how our teachers integrate the curriculum and how this will enrich all of the other things that we do so well,” she said. “To me, world language is not just about kids knowing another language.”
In her new role, Reardon will work closely with Page Fahrig-Pendse, who has taken on the newly created position of Head of Lower School Curriculum and Instruction at GFS.
“That has already proven to be a really exciting partnership,” Reardon said. “She is someone who I can sit down with and have these visionary ‘What are our dreams for Lower School?’ conversations, and then she has time to work with faculty in thinking about how we can implement these ideas. It will do a tremendous amount for the continuity of our programs.”