Friends School Announces Dennis Bisgaard as 2021-22 Interim Head of School

FSB is pleased to announce Dennis Bisgaard as Interim Head of School for the 2021-2022 school year.  Dennis is well-known in the independent school community and is a highly respected leader with more than 15 years’ experience as a head and over 30 years as a teacher and administrator.
 
Dennis is currently the Interim Head of the Northwest School in Seattle, Washington and is happily anticipating a return to the area; his family resides in Washington, DC, where in 2018, he became the Founding Head of School of the newly established Whittle School & Studios, an innovative educational startup.  Previously, he spent 12 years as Head of School at Kingswood Oxford School in Hartford, CT, founding the Kingswood Oxford Leadership Institute for Educators of Color, six years as Associate Head of School at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA, and six years as Associate Dean of Faculty and Director of Diversity at Collegiate School in New York, NY, where he founded and directed The Collegiate School Teaching Institute for Educators of Color. 
 
Having started his career a few blocks away as an English and physical education teacher at The Bryn Mawr School, Dennis is “excited about our working together and returning to Baltimore where my independent school journey launched 32 years ago. When I worked at Bryn Mawr, I had my eye on Friends School, and I was invited as a guest lecturer for several English classes speaking about my dissertation on Toni Morrison.”
 
Beyond his day job, Dennis has been a force for good in his community, having served on 13 different boards, ranging from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) to Student Achievement through Opportunity, a nonprofit aimed at narrowing the opportunity gap for students in Hartford, Connecticut, to Interval House, Men Against Domestic Violence Against Women. He also has participated in and presented at numerous conferences throughout the world.
 
The interim head search committee and representatives from the administrative team, faculty, parents, and students were impressed with his proven ability as a head and particularly that throughout his career Dennis has focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), cultural competency, and Social and Emotional Learning. He is known as an attentive listener, consensus-builder, mentor, and a person who carries himself with simplicity, embodying Quaker values even without having worked at a Friends School!
 
During the 2021-2022 transitional year, the Board is focused on supporting FSB's Quaker mission, maintaining high academic standards and financial strength, and continuing to push forward with DEI initiatives.  The School also will be completing its 10-year accreditation and will be welcoming the accreditation team to campus next spring. And, of course, Dennis, with the Board’s support, will prepare the School for the permanent head.
 
Interestingly, current Head of School Matt Micciche and Dennis attended the prestigious Heads of School Program for 20 heads around the world at the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University in 2015. Dennis is eager to continue the strong school foundation that Matt is leaving him after 16 years. “I was fortunate to have met Matt at Klingenstein and am honored to succeed him after his long and successful tenure.” The good will is reciprocated, with Matt noting, “Dennis exemplifies the qualities of a Quaker school head and I look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition.”
 
Dennis was born in Germany and grew up in Denmark. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. at Odense Universitet in Denmark, had a post-graduate fellowship at Temple University, and received his MA in Educational Administration at Columbia University. He speaks fluent Danish and German, played Division 1 basketball in Denmark, and is an avid yoga practitioner. He and his wife Monica, who is also an educator, have two children: Nicolas, a senior at New York University, and Saudea, a high school junior. Monica and Saudea will remain in DC as Saudea finishes her senior year.
 
Friends School of Baltimore is fortunate to have found such an experienced educator, extraordinary leader, and wonderful person to lead the School through this transitional year. In the coming months, there will be opportunities – both virtual and in-person – for members of the community to meet and speak with Dennis. 
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