Head of School

Meet Doug Brophy!

Welcome Dr. Douglas Brophy as he officially begins work as Town's Head of School on July 2, 2018! 

Read Board Chair Marc Stern's Letter Introducing Doug

February 1, 2018

Dear Town Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Douglas Brophy as Town’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2018.

Doug brings an impressive track record of success throughout his career – initially during nearly a decade as an attorney, then in his 20 years in education first as a teacher, and most recently as Academic Dean at Spence. The breadth of his current role, which encompasses leadership in curriculum design, faculty hiring, professional development, and diversity initiatives, has prepared Doug well for his new position at Town. He has developed and implemented strategic goals at Spence that resulted in innovative evolution of curriculum and a more inclusive community. Doug’s leadership style is rooted in clarity, transparency, and collaboration. His vision for educational excellence, with students at the center of all decisions and educators who consistently advance their own learning in service of our children, is well positioned to help Town grow, evolve, and differentiate itself in an ever-changing educational environment. 

Instrumental in the Search Committee members ranking Doug as their top choice among the 54 applicants from across the country were outstanding reference calls with those who know Doug well and have worked closely with him. They consistently described Doug as collaborative, genuine, and approachable, and they cited his ongoing success in developing the strategic vision needed for a school to become an even more successful place for students and faculty. 

In his personal life, Doug loves music, hiking with his wife and daughter, backpacking in national parks with friends, and reading with his family (they just finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). All of us at Town welcome Doug, his wife Barbara (a teaching internist for NYU working at Bellevue Hospital), and their young daughter Allegra to our community. They are just as excited to be coming to Town as we are to have them.

This announcement represents the culmination of a comprehensive search process informed by the shared values and voices of all Town constituencies. The Search Committee of Trustees, current and former parents, current faculty and staff, and a Town alumnus spent countless hours reviewing candidate materials, conducting in-person interviews, evaluating in-depth reference calls, assessing finalists during their two-day visits, and considering over 400 survey responses from the Town community. It is difficult to find the words to acknowledge with gratitude the extraordinary leadership provided throughout the search by Search Committee Co-Chairs Valerie Russo and Karyn Kornfeld.  

Thank you to every member of our school community for your investment in Town and your engagement and participation in our Head of School search. A thoughtful transition process in partnership with Tony Featherston is already underway, and we will soon schedule opportunities for all Town community members to meet and get to know Doug over the coming months.


Marc Stern
Chair, Board of Trustees

Read Doug's Message to the Town Community

February 1, 2018

Dear Town Community,

I am thrilled, honored, and humbled to join The Town School as your next Head and to begin work in July with your remarkable community.

From the moment I walked through Town’s front doors, the learning felt so alive and I felt so at home. During my two-day interview process, I visited Kindergarten during choice time, observed a 2nd grade math lesson on sorting, and dropped in on a 7th grade English discussion of Hinton’s The Outsiders. In each setting, students were engaged, challenged, and yes...joyful! What a tribute to the community, particularly the teachers, who make this happen. I appreciated the conversations I had with so many faculty, administrators, staff, parents, and students during my visit; your love for this school is evident, and I now share it.

One of the best ways to know a school is through its students, and I first got to know Town through (now lifelong) friends who attended the school when I was growing up in New York. Much more recently I have worked with and taught Town alumnae attending Spence, and I have been consistently impressed with the way Town graduates dive into high school with confidence, a willingness to take risks, and readiness to join in and to lead. Finally, my experiences during the search process these past months have deepened my understanding of Town students as uniquely collaborative, empathetic, self-directed learners and problem solvers.

Spend any time at Town and you will hear the word community over and over. Through observation and many great discussions, I have come to understand community as both a cherished aspect of Town’s culture as well as a true source of strength that serves the school’s educational goals. Town’s ongoing conversations about diversity and inclusion demonstrate a profound understanding of the power of community to affirm individual worth and create a robust exchange of ideas.

I am deeply grateful to the Search Committee, the Board of Trustees and to everyone with whom I met for your hospitality, your guidance, and especially for the invitation to join Town as your next Head of School. It will be an honor to become part of this team of educators dedicated to the N-8 model, to academic excellence, and to joy with purpose. I am humbled by the legacy, mission and values so clearly at the core of Town, and I am excited to work with all constituents to continue building on over 100 years of success, including the outstanding leadership of Tony Featherston.

I look forward to opportunities to meet and talk with all of you over the coming months to learn more about what you love about your school and how we can collaborate to continue moving Town forward. On behalf of my wife Barbara and daughter Allegra, thank you for welcoming us into your community.

Warm regards,

Douglas Brophy

Learn More About Doug

Previously a labor and employment lawyer, Douglas Brophy is a native New Yorker who has spent the past 20 years working in independent schools in New York City and Philadelphia. Doug currently serves as Academic Dean of The Spence School, where he oversees the K-12 program, including faculty hiring, professional development and evaluation, curriculum design, and implementation and review of all academic policies. 
From 1989-1997, Doug practiced employment law in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1992, he began working simultaneously as the Program Director of The Language Connection, a Sunday morning English-language program for immigrants. In 1998, he became Curriculum Coordinator for the Mayer Sulzberger Middle School in Philadelphia and at the same time served as the Director of Educational Reform and Community Outreach for Project Forward Leap. In 2000, he joined Friends Select School as Upper School Grade Dean, Parent Programs Coordinator, Director of the ESL Program, and Director of the Summer Academic Program. In 2002, he was named Director of Upper School, and in 2007 he began serving as Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, as well. In 2008, he accepted his current position as Academic Dean at Spence. Throughout his 20 years in schools, Doug has taught history, primarily and currently at the middle school level.
At Spence, Doug is Chair of the Academic Planning Committee, K-12 Curriculum Team, and Equity Council. He is a member of the Long Range Planning, College Counseling, Technology, and Building Planning and Design Committees. He is the Vice Chair of the New York Association of Independent Schools Accreditation Team and Chair of the Diversity Job Fair Panel.
Doug received a B.A. in Political Science and a J.D. with a concentration in Labor and Employment Law from Tulane in 1985 and 1989, respectively. He completed an M.Ed. at Stanford University in 1998. In 2006, he received an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Doug is a lifelong learner, and continually pursues his own professional growth, most recently as a participant in the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Project Zero Future of Learning Institute. 
In addition to his professional affiliations, Doug is active as a Trustee for his synagogue and an alumni student mentor for the U. Penn graduate center. In his personal life, Doug loves music, hiking with his wife and daughter, backpacking in national parks with friends, and reading with his family (they just finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). All of us at Town welcome Doug, his wife Barbara (a teaching internist for NYU working at Bellevue Hospital), and their young daughter Allegra to our community.

Learn more about our search process

Introducing Dr. Douglas Brophy, Head of School from The Town School on Vimeo.


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