Kevin Folan started last month as head of school at Providence Country Day School, a private middle and high school in East Providence. Previously, he was head of the Hilltop Country Day School in Sparta, N.J.
Folan started his teaching career at Hyde School in Bath, Maine, in 2003. Now he’s taking the reins of an independent co-ed school that was founded in 1923 and has an enrollment of about 200 students. He succeeds Vince Watchorn.
PBN: How did you come to pursue a career in independent education, as opposed to a public-school career track?
FOLAN: I had the opportunity to experience both growing up, and I found a better and more intimate learning experience in my independent high school. Now, as a professional, when I see teachers and students able to engage in meaningful, thoughtful dialogue through a personalized curriculum, I think it energizes teachers and inspires students to become lifelong learners.
PBN: What do you think is unique about your leadership approach that might fit well in the PCD community?
FOLAN: I am someone that wants to build a community. And in a school community, it is not just the teachers and students, but it’s also the parents, alumni and the broader Providence community. I am also really excited to blend my educational background with my postgraduate business education.
PBN: Beginning your new role at PCD, what challenges do you and the school face? How will you overcome them?
FOLAN: There are a lot of different educational options for kids these days – not just public and independent schools, but also parochial schools, charter schools and virtual schools. There’s a variety of different ways to deliver a classroom experience. PCD’s small environment allows students to have stronger relationships with faculty and fellow students.
PBN: As you think about the upcoming school year, what are some of the things on your “to-do” list?
FOLAN: The first thing on my to-do list is to meet as many different people in the PCD and Greater Providence communities as possible. This summer, I have met with students, parents, our faculty, our alumni and local community members to help me better understand our strengths and areas for improvement.
PBN: There are numerous independent schools in the region. How do you go about differentiating PCD from those other schools?
FOLAN: At PCD you can have your cake and eat it too. You can have a comfortable learning environment where you get to know your teachers at a deep level. At the same time, it is an academically rigorous curriculum that sets our kids up for incredible college options at the end of their PCD experience.
William Hamilton is PBN staff writer and special projects editor. You can follow him on Twitter @waham or email him at email@example.com.
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