Community Letter From Donna Lindner

Dear Lowell Family,

Words cannot fully express the joy and pride I feel in writing to you as Lowell’s next Head of School. I look forward to introducing you to my husband, Steven, and our children, Sam and Sophia, all of whom are excited by the idea of relocating to a place that holds many memories for us and is close to another branch of our family. As an educator who has spent my career championing the rights of children to be treated with respect, compassion, and empathy, I could not be more proud to join a community that lives this philosophy in thought, word, and deed. In truth, the values I hold as an educator I have held since I was a young girl. I always knew I wanted to be in education, and that I wanted to be among educators who, like me, were committed to creating an environment of mutual regard for teaching children as genuinely valued, unique learners.

I was supported in the internalization of this philosophy by teachers such as Mrs. Kreutzer. One of Mrs. K’s favorite questions to ask us was, “What do you need to get where you want to go?” She was a powerful example of teacher as guide, teaching me to trust my instincts in and out of the classroom. She knew us as individuals and taught us to be the best people we could be as we also looked outside of ourselves to the needs of our community and our world. I loved being in her class, and remember thinking at some point during my seventh grade year that when I became a teacher, I was going to make sure that I trusted my students to solve the challenges placed in front of them by first making sure they trusted that they could.

When I visited Lowell last month and met many of you, memories of Mrs. Kreuzter’s classroom came back to me. I was immediately struck by the inherent trust and respect that existed in the interactions I witnessed. Joy permeated the hallways. Children moved through their days happily and so did adults. I heard lots of laughter. The intentional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion was embedded in the projects displayed in hallways, the materials used in lessons, and the conversations I had with middle schoolers. In my time with students and teachers I was so impressed by the quality of questions I was asked, the kinds of questions that inform the learning that is taking place, and the thoughtfulness of the responses to my questions. The love of teaching and learning, as well as the commitment of the parent community and staff in supporting educators in their work, was palpable. I witnessed the embodiment of Lowell’s mission and philosophy everywhere I turned, and to a person, everyone I met was eager and ready for the rest of the DC/Maryland area to know Lowell as they do. The two days I spent on campus felt like time among good friends, and I am eager to rejoin you soon.

I am filled with gratitude for Marcie Bane, in her roles as chair of the Search Committee and as Board Chair. Her dedication and attention to the search process enabled me to get to know you so well as a community. I look forward to partnering with Marcie and the rest of the board in the years to come and I thank her and the rest of the Search Committee for their tireless commitment to the process over the last year. I also have great appreciation for Debbie Gibbs’ vision and efforts over the last twelve years in leading Lowell to become the school it is today. I am eager to spend time and learn from her in the next several months in ways that will enable me to, as she wrote in her letter to the community announcing her retirement, “help Lowell have the most powerful present possible while leading us into a strong and always promising future.” I feel quite privileged to have the opportunity to partner with you in living into the vision of the school’s founders. They wanted to offer learning opportunities rooted in the philosophies of Haim Ginott and other progressive educators, as well as the social justice movements of their time, both of which continue to be critically important today. This, in the name of producing smart, wise, kind 35-year olds, is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I am honored to be your new head of school and look forward to seeing you soon.

Be well,