Pa. administrator named headmaster of Friends School of Baltimore

December 19, 1997|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF

Friends School of Baltimore has named Jon Harris, an administrator, teacher and coach at a suburban Philadelphia Quaker school, as headmaster, replacing W. Byron Forbush III, who is retiring after 38 years in charge of Baltimore's oldest school.

Harris' appointment as the 213-year-old school's eighth headmaster -- and the first who is not a Quaker -- ends a yearlong nationwide search, the first conducted by Friends. His selection was approved by the Board of Trustees and announced to students, teachers and administrators this week. He will take over July 1.

Since 1985, Harris, 44, has been head of the upper school at Friends Central School in Wynnewood, Pa., where he also teaches English and coaches the tennis team. Before that, he was dean of students at St. George's School in Newport, R.I.

"I have been in a Quaker school now for 13 years. I was looking for greater challenges. I had always heard very good things about Friends School in Baltimore. We're delighted to be asked to come," Harris said in a telephone interview.

Harris and his wife, Cynthia, have three children, two of whom will attend Friends.

The new headmaster's arrival on the Charles Street campus next summer will end an era for the school, which has been led by a member of the Forbush family for more than five decades. Byron Forbush, 68, succeeded his father, Bliss Sr., who led the school from 1943 to 1960.

A 1947 graduate of Friends, he is by far the longest-serving headmaster in Maryland and perhaps the country. During his tenure, he saw the enrollment in kindergarten through 12th grade more than double to top 1,000 students for the first time this school year and the school's budget grow from $500,000 to $11 million.

With a national reputation as a leader in private education, Forbush leaves the school in "remarkably strong shape," said board chair Barbara Mallonee

vTC For Harris, Forbush leaves "a fairly long shadow, but I think it's a shadow I can work in comfortably."

Pub Date: 12/19/97

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