A Message from Matthew Stuart,

Head of School

“If the timing's right and the gods are with you, something special happens.”

~ Rick Springfield

Dear beloved Caedmon Community,

There are many wonderful quotes from Maria Montessori that capture the vibrant learning at The Caedmon School. Two of my favorites are, “Imagination does not become great until human beings [students], given the courage and the strength, use it to create;” and, “It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.” I know in my heart that children at Caedmon are given this “courage and strength to be great” from the best teachers in New York City. An audacious claim, I admit, but I still remember my first visit to Caedmon, in 2011, as a candidate to become the new Head of School. I felt that day, and have every day since, a palpable difference. In my 39 years in New York City and Washington DC independent schools, I don’t know of another school that cherishes children so deeply, where teachers are as passionate and talented, and where students have such an opportunity to succeed.

I am writing today to say that on Tuesday evening, I informed the Board of Trustees that next year will be my last year as Head of The Caedmon School. As the quote about timing above assures, I spent a great deal of time considering both the needs of Caedmon in the coming years, as well as my own. As of June 2025, we will complete the required five-year NYSAIS reaccreditation, guaranteeing Caedmon’s expertise as a premier early childhood and elementary institution for young people in NYC. The faculty will have taken a deep dive into the school’s current Strategic Plan, which thoughtfully differentiates Caedmon’s unique niche as a superb independent school. Caedmon’s enrollment for the 24-25 school year is 10 students over budget and almost back to pre-pandemic numbers (thanks to the determined efforts by our enrollment team). The current Caedmon leadership team is innovative, intelligent, and dedicated to furthering the success of the school. Perhaps most important, following the pandemic and thanks to a devoted and disciplined Board of Trustees, I don’t know of a school in better financial and principled shape than Caedmon. The Caedmon Board is a rare mix of invested current and alumni parents and educational professionals. They know what the school needs to succeed long into the future.

I must take a moment to recognize my incredible good fortune in having the support of four Board presidents who were the right people at the right time, both for Caedmon, and for me as the Head of this school. John Evans, Nancy Smith, Jamie Stecher, and now Michael Gramer each brought sensitivity, intellect, perception, and their individual gifts to make sure that I succeeded and that Caedmon continued to thrive.

As you no doubt imagine, the emotional rollercoaster accompanying this decision is unmatched in current theme parks. First, I feel an extraordinary sense of gratitude and honor to have been a part of such an institution. The devotion to the happiness and success of young children, ensuring the wisdom of Montessori’s philosophy, and to work amongst such talented, passionate people, children, and parents, has been the absolute pinnacle of 40 years in independent schools. I still laugh at my initial refusal to interview for this role. I knew nothing of young children and Montessori, and then several years later called the headhunter to thank her for the gift of insisting that I consider being the Head at Caedmon. I am also filled with excitement for the future of Caedmon. I am enthusiastic to observe the many ways the next passionate and innovative leader will bring their wisdom and legacy, as Carol DeVine and Greg Blackburn did before me. I would be untruthful if I didn’t admit to immense waves of sadness being part of this process. I love this school and everyone and everything connected to it, and I will miss being here every day. Returning to the idea of timing, however, I am profoundly confident that this is the best time for the school, and for me, for this transition to take place.

I will relish the next 15 months and will stay carefully focused in the “present moment.” We still have much to accomplish and will keep our focus steady and forward. Beyond June of 2025, I haven’t set that plan in stone. The joy and inspiration of leading a school like Caedmon has opened a myriad of new professional adventures to pursue. And, to be honest, the joys of reading all day, wandering museums and attending the theatre, cooking new recipes, and unscheduled, unlimited travel, which is how I envision retirement, is not that far off!

There will never be a total good-bye between me and Caedmon. But I certainly thank you for the riches I have experienced since we first said hello.

With deep affection and respect,

Matthew Stuart,

Head of School

A Message from Michael Gramer,

President of the Board of Trustees

April 11, 2024

Dear Members of the Caedmon Community,

After more than a decade of leading Caedmon, the Board of Trustees recently accepted Matthew Stuart’s decision to retire at the end of the 2024-2025 school year. The Board accepted this news with the deepest gratitude and appreciation for our Head of School’s extraordinary tenure and leadership. We met this moment by celebrating our legendary Head of School, who has led Caedmon with a steady hand, a full heart, deep devotion for his students in his charge, and trusting that the school will carry forward confidently with Matthew’s enduring legacy.

Caedmon had been fortunate with Matthew’s leadership for the past 13 years. Matthew has remade Caedmon with his commitment to fostering a nurturing environment, his unbounded optimism, and his relentless focus on our Mission to “honor the individual and foster the natural curiosity of each child, which is the foundation of academic achievement.” Throughout, Matthew has kept us connected to our children’s journey by his inspiring messages in Inside Caedmon and his gregarious presence on the schoolhouse steps. Matthew has reimagined the Montessori education and our space to ensure that the Caedmon curriculum reflects our ever-changing world. Matthew has demonstrated that Maria Montessori’s vision that “the goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn” is enriched with diverse and multiple perspectives, new technology, avant-garde teaching methods, and by using the richness of New York City as our classroom.

It is hard to adequately convey the depth and breadth of Matthew’s accomplishments (both big and small) these past 13 years. We will take the upcoming year to highlight and celebrate him. For now, there are some that stand out to me:

  • The establishment of the “story” and distinction of The Caedmon School as a vital progressive independent New York City Montessori preschool and elementary school. We are known and recognized by applicant families and feeder schools for providing an excellent, personalized learning experience for every student.

  • The leadership and supervision of the Caedmon Sixth grade school placement process, with accomplished graduates enrolling annually to over 25 of New York City’s highly recognized independent and public middle schools.

  • A steadfast focus on an age-appropriate, equitable, anti-racist/social justice institution, honoring each individual’s identity, story, and sense of belonging.

  • The establishment of an adult professional learning community, including all faculty and staff to seek a robust “Community of Learners,” necessitating annual professional development goals and extensive professional development opportunities.

  • Initiation and completion of a $2.75 Million Campaign, the largest amount raised in Caedmon’s history.

  • Guiding the school during the Covid Pandemic, providing in-person school with state-of-the-art health protocols and hybrid learning offered simultaneously.

  • Facilitation and supervision of the ongoing internal renovation of the entire schoolhouse, including every classroom, the science lab, the basement Dining Hall, kitchen, Art Studio, and soon a new music room and courtyard.

We are appreciative that Matthew announced his plans now. This provides the benefit of his guidance and wisdom for the next 15 months, while giving the Board ample time to conduct a full and thorough search. The Board has begun this work and will target naming our new Head of School by September 2024 to ensure a smooth transition. We will work closely with Research Group 175, a nationally recognized educational search firm carefully selected by the Executive Committee of the Board. The search will be led by Ellanor (Bodie) Brizendine and Arlyce M. Seibert. Representatives from Research Group 175 will visit the school this month, and we will schedule meetings with them for parents, students, faculty, staff, and alumni. With this collaboration, the Board welcomes input and will offer the entire community many opportunities to share their thoughts and dreams for our next Head of School. We are committed to this process with you. More information about these visits, the search, and your role will follow in the weeks ahead.

Over the next few months, we look forward to celebrating with Matthew this extraordinary chapter in Caedmon’s history, written with Matthew’s eternal optimism, deep care, and devotion to the Caedmon Community.

The Board of Trustees and I look forward to working with our community in the coming months. We are grateful for your ongoing support as we navigate this transition.


Michael W. Gramer,

President of the Board of Trustees

Our Mission

At the Caedmon School, we honor the individual and foster the natural curiosity of each child, which is the foundation of academic achievement. We nurture empathy in our students to value perspectives other than their own. Our graduates are creative, capable, and courageous, ready to make their place in the world.

Our Commitment to Community, Equity, and Belonging

The Caedmon School is dedicated to creating and maintaining a community where we embrace and explore differences and commonalities, and the challenges they may present.

We are committed to ensuring that Caedmon families feel a sense of belonging, because we value the different and precious identities among us.

We cultivate a caring, respectful, and safe environment, in which bonds are forged across potential barriers of human difference, advancing compassionate, responsible, courageous citizens.