June 17, 2021
Dear Free Union Country School families, friends and community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce to you that we have hired Ronée McLaughlin to serve Free Union as the Interim Head of School for the 2021-2022 school year. Our dedicated search committee worked for over two months with determination, openness, and commitment to find a leader who will usher us through the coming year. For all who met and interacted with her through Zoom interviews and on-campus visits, Ronée immediately stood out for her warmth, insightfulness, ease in answering student questions, ability to connect, and indelible combination of wisdom and humanity. Ronée comes to Virginia most recently from California, but her professional career has taken her from coast to coast and abroad. She brings a diverse background of expertise stemming from a love for child-centered education and independent schools, to student advocacy, diversity and inclusion, social ethics, and law.
As you may remember from earlier this spring, Eric guided an expansion of our administrative structure resulting in the hiring of Camilla Tolton as Director of Business Operations and Laura Swindler and Blair Amberly as Directors of Teaching and Learning. With this new framework, we hope to create opportunities and foster a more realistic distribution of responsibilities across our administrative team at Free Union. Ronée praises Eric’s efforts to create this vision and looks forward to empowering this new leadership team while supporting our teachers and staff.
As Ronée begins to get to know our community over the summer, please welcome her to our little gem of a school. We will be scheduling a meet-and-greet picnic gathering before school starts. Until then, feel free to reach out to her with your questions, concerns, and notes of support. Please see the attached letter from Ronée to all of you. And if you’d like to watch a short video of Ronée answering questions from our intrepid students during her on-campus visit, you may find that here.
Password for video interview: .D0N=dn6 (notes on password: starts with a period, then capital D, then the number zero, then cap N... )
Finally, please know that we as a Board are here to support Ronée and we look forward to vibrant community engagement in the coming year. We welcome your presence at our monthly Board meetings (2nd Monday of every month starting again in September), your interest in joining committees, and your involvement as we open this exciting new chapter for our school.
Wishing you all a healthy and restorative summer,
Isabelle Abbot, Joya Elmore, Sean Felix, Ken Horne, Allison MacDonald, Marc Peritz, Tom Romer, Mark Sherriff, Vernon Watts, John Winn