Steve Freedman
Steve Freedman

“For the past 16 years, we at Hillel Day School have been blessed to be led by Steve Freedman as our Head of School,” wrote Hillel President Ellen B. Folbe, DDS, in an email to families.  “He has shared and implemented a transformative vision that has brought Hillel to a place of amazing strength and clear direction.  Thus, it is with mixed emotions that I acknowledge that Steve will complete his tenure at the close of the 2018-2019 school year to return to be closer to family.”

Folbe said the board has enlisted the help of professional advisers to help the school through the transition and make plans for the future. She said she would keep families updated throughout this process of identifying and hiring a new head of school.

This is the letter from Steve Freedman to Hillel families:

At the dedication of the Innovation Hub in August 2014, I told the community that there are only two things I know for sure; I love my family and I love the Hillel community.

Those two loves have arrived at a crossroads. Someone recently told me that the hardest decisions are between right and right. It is right for Joan and me to want to be closer to as many of our children as possible and it is also right for us to stay here with people we care deeply about, doing the work that we love.  We have decided to go with right.

This past year we married off our son to a wonderful woman who comes from a loving and inclusive family. Our youngest daughter is in a serious relationship with a great, young man who also comes from a loving and inclusive family. Our children in New York are calling us home. And we have decided that at this point in our lives we need to be closer to as many of our children as geographically possible.

It is with deeply felt, mixed emotions that I informed the Hillel Board of Trustees that I will be concluding my 16-year Headship at Hillel in June 2019.

Joan and I will be moving back to the New York area this summer. For us, it completes a cycle. Our careers were launched in New York and eventually we left with two babies to go back home to Philadelphia to be with family. After thirteen years in Philadelphia, our family, which grew to four children, was ready for what would be an experience of a lifetime, living in Michigan and being a part of the Hillel community. Now, we will return to New York, to once again be near family.

I will always be profoundly grateful for the opportunity I had to serve Hillel for all of these years. We have been on an amazing educational journey together.  Through the years many accolades have come my way, along with a fair share of criticisms, as we did this work together.  I can say with certainty — the accolades are shared with all of the Presidents I served with, the many Board members and the countless parent volunteers. Even more, the accolades for our growth and successes truly go to the many teachers I worked with and most of all to the profoundly committed leadership team.  As for the criticisms, they are all mine!

I plan to work very closely with the Board and the leadership team to insure a seamless transition. In addition, you can be assured that I will always make myself available to help out whenever I am called upon. Hillel and you will always have a very special place in my heart.

We have a great year ahead of us and I plan to put my full energies into the work I do at Hillel.  We have much time to engage together in the coming months.  We will save the “Shaloms” for the end of the year.

With fondness and love,