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Board of Trustees Appoints Abigail Hall Choi as New Head of School

January 13, 2021 | Abby Liu

Below are transcripts from video addresses by Raúl Pérez, Board President, P’16, P’19 and Abigail Hall Choi, who will succeed Tom Postema as Head of School. Mr. Postema will retire on June 30. 

 

Raúl Pérez, Board President, P’16, P’19:

HELLO MUSTARD SEED SCHOOL!

Greetings from our home – nuestra casa. I’m Raúl Pérez, the President of the Board of Trustees.

Before getting to my primary message today, I want to address the last 10 months. It has been a difficult time as our community navigates the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I want to share my heartfelt thanks to all of you–our teachers, staff, parents, students, supporters, and community members– for all you have done to continue making Mustard Seed the exceptional school that it is. I know that it hasn’t been easy. Thank you.

I am here today to share great news! It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Abigail Hall Choi as Mustard Seed’s fourth Head of School! Many of you know Ms. Hall Choi as our current Middle School Director. She will transition to this new role on July 1 when Mr. Postema officially retires.

Over the past 15 years, in addition to Middle School Director, Ms. Hall Choi has held several roles at Mustard Seed including Director of School Initiatives & Improvement, and fourth and fifth grade teacher. She led the school through our most recent strategic planning process and has been dedicated to enhancing our Middle School program. Ms. Hall Choi earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Covenant College and a Master’s Degree in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College. Currently, she is completing a Certificate in School Management & Leadership at Harvard.

Ms. Hall Choi is married to our 8th grade teacher, Sam Choi. They reside in Jersey City with their children Noah ’27 and Jacob ’30.

This appointment is the result of an intense and rigorous seven-month process. Our Search Committee was chaired by Cara Hilton (Trustee, P’23, ’26) and had the guidance of the prestigious education leadership search firm, Carney Sandoe & Associates. Ms. Hall Choi was selected from a global pool of highly qualified candidates. Over 80 people engaged in the application process. The consultants presented 12 candidates to the Search Committee for consideration. The Search Committee then narrowed it down to three exceptional finalists. The finalists were then interviewed by the Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees. After multiple interviews with each candidate, the Board overwhelmingly determined that Ms. Hall Choi was the best candidate for the job and offered the position. 

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am excited about the vision, energy, and passion that Ms. Hall Choi brings to our community. I believe that she is the right person to lead us forward.

Before I go, I want to take a moment to recognize our Search Committee members. As a member of the Search Committee I served alongside Kelesha Armand, Cara Hilton, Kristen Jordan, Dee Mingey, Sebastian Olukun, Jessica Smith, and Mark Quiles. I can personally attest to the countless hours of work and careful consideration of this group. This committee will now turn into the transition committee. They’ll work with the consulting team at Carney Sandoe, Mr. Postema, and Ms. Hall Choi to ensure a smooth transition. I am deeply grateful to each member. 

I also want to thank Tom Postema for his 12 years of service–10 as Head of School and two as a middle school teacher–and for his continued leadership until the end of June. Mr. Postema, we look forward to celebrating your work and the impact you’ve made on our school in the months to come.

Please join me, the Search Committee, and the Board of Trustees in warmly welcoming Ms. Hall Choi as our next Head of School!

 

Abigail Hall Choi:

Hello Mustard Seed School Community,

I am Abby Hall Choi. I’m thrilled to be the next Head of School at Mustard Seed School.

Over the past 15 years, first as a teacher, then as the Director of School Initiatives & Improvement, then as the Middle School Director and member of the Leadership Team, and now also as a parent, I have experienced this community in action.

Together, we strive for excellence in whole-child education and creating change makers. I have seen God’s love expressed in each of you. You’re the reason that I take on this role. You inspire me. Together, we’re a part of a mission that I hold so dear to my heart: teaching each child to know and care for their community and world. Inspiring minds. Cultivating hearts. Removing barriers.

The high calling of our mission requires all of us, working together. And it will be my great honor to get to know you better and to serve you. To listen to your experiences. Your hopes and dreams for our children and school community. I’m eager to work alongside you as we continue to grow and build upon the work that Mr. Postema, the faculty & staff, and you have cultivated over the last several years.

As I think about the year ahead, some of my key priorities include:

  • Continuing to strengthen our academic community. This will be in line with our accreditation and strategic plans. Faculty and staff will continue to learn about Mind Brain Education through the Universal Design for Learning framework to strengthen our practices and our program.

 

  • We will critically think and act around belonging. And explore how as a historically white-led organization we have much to learn. We will continue to do better. Under the leadership of our Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we will move forward as an organization. Together we will deepen our understanding of what it means to be beloved children of God.

 

  • We will redouble our efforts to establish long-term financial sustainability. We will do this in line with our mission. The pandemic has brought new uncertainties and we are called again to consider our current model. We will maintain who we are while we make strategic and sustainable paths forward.

I can’t do this without each of you. I’m ready to work hard alongside you as we navigate these difficult times together. It is my hope that In five years, we will look back and say, ‘We challenge change makers in new ways because we have grown even wiser and stronger. We will look back in amazement and say, “That difficult season was the time that we planted deeper roots and widened our branches. We have come so far!. Thanks be to God”

I want to take a few moments to address what will happen between now and the end of the year. I will continue to serve as the Middle School Director until July 1, and work with Mr. Postema on my transition to Head of School. We’ve already begun to work on the search for a new Middle School Director. I want to assure you that we will find someone who is passionate about the academic growth of our middle school students. Someone with a heart for this important stage of life. And I will do everything that I can to ensure a smooth transition.

I’m excited and hopeful about our future. Thank you for all of the ways that you make our mission possible. Thank you for the gift of our beautiful community.

Thank you!

 

Abby Liu

Director of Marketing and Communications

Ms. Liu loves to tell the Mustard Seed story. She’s the parent of two Mustard Seed School alumni. She's seen the impact of a Mustard Seed education from the early preschool days all the way up to eighth grade and beyond.

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