David Farace is the new Head of School at the Bolles School’s four campuses, including Ponte Vedra Beach. The Bolles Board of Trustees named Farace Head of School in October 2014 after a yearlong search process which fielded candidates from all over the world. Farace took over the school’s top leadership position this semester from Bradley R. Johnson ,‘79, who served Bolles most recently as Interim Head of School.
Originally from Maryland, Farace received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Washington and Lee University and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. He attended high school at McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland, where he was a boarding student and later returned to launch his career. Farace—whose role as Head of School has him involved in every Bolles campus—comes to Bolles with more than 20 years of independent school leadership, most recently as Head of School at The Montgomery Academy preparatory school In Montgomery, Alabama.
To learn more about the Bolles School, visit www.bolles.org.
Did you ever think you’d end up in Florida?
No. I never thought I’d be living in Alabama and never thought I’d be living in Florida! I’m married with three kids—they’re all students here also—and we love Florida. We love the southern culture. My wife is from northern Virginia and went to University of Richmond and was a lower school teacher in Richmond for a number of years. She loved Richmond. We knew we were going to love this kind of feel to a town. Her brother lives outside of Orlando in Winter Park—so we’ve spent some time in Florida and we are thrilled to be here.
Tell me about your children.
They are going into seventh, eighth and ninth grade at Bolles. This is a great lower school campus and they feed into our middle school campus. The middle school has its own campus. I have two there—a boy in seventh grade, Beau, and a daughter, Campbell, in eighth grade. And then I have a son, Wyatt, on the big campus—the San Jose Campus—in ninth grade.
I’ve loved that middle school experience. They really can just be middle school students there. They don’t have to worry about what the big kids are up to. That’s my crew and they’re enjoying it. It’s been a good transition for all of us.
What is your vision for this year at the Bolles School?
I was a headmaster before, and in year one I really do like to spend a lot of time listening. I’ll be doing that on all of our campuses—this campus in particular. Spending time with the faculty and the parents, with the administration. Just spending time listening and learning the culture. Then taking it from there. We are engaged in our reaccreditation with the Florida Council of Independent Schools, FCIS. That happens once every 10 years. We are required to go through that this year, and as part of that we do strategic planning. I’ll be listening but we also are developing a strategic plan. We have lots of constituent members from the community involved in that. Some of those plans will roll out in a month or two.
What sets Bolles apart from other schools where you have worked?
I think it’s the mission. Our motto is: ‘The Bolles Way: Pursuing excellence through courage, integrity and passion.’ When I was a candidate for the job and saw that on the website, that really got me excited. I dug a little deeper and now that I’m here, it’s more than a motto—it’s an ethos that permeates every corner of every campus. I love that. I love that we are academically an outstanding school and these kids are going to be exceptionally well prepared. When they go from lower school to middle school to upper school, they’ll be exceptionally well prepared for college—no doubt. I’ve talked to alums and parents of alums and they all say that to a person.