As most now know, Mrs. Deb Schoman departed from the upper school last year and entered our middle school to serve as principal. I had the honor of speaking with Mrs. Schoman about her past and this exciting transtion. This year, Mrs. Schoman will be celebrating her 40th year in education! Her passion for education began at Harborfields Junior/ Senior High School (her alma mater), teaching French in 1975. She grew up in Centerport, Long Island. In college, Mrs. Schoman majored in French, minored in Spanish, and even lived abroad “to become proficient in French and develop an appreciation for the culture of the people and the country”. Abroad, she attended the University of Nechatel and worked in vineyards to earn some money for school expenses and travel. Mrs. Schoman vividly recollects spending a month studying in Madrid and another six months studying at the University of Grenoble in France while living with a French family. She remarks “I must say- these years of living abroad were my most memorable and made me a better teacher and person”. She taught French in public schools for seven years, until discovering Friends in 1981.
The headmaster at the time, Ted Withington, offered Mrs. Schoman a position and she soon began teaching French, Spanish, and Introductory Latin in the middle school, along with coaching the girl’s varsity tennis in the upper school and later assisting with the girl’s varsity track team. In fact, Mrs. Schoman was my moms tennis coach, when she attended Friends in high school! Eventually, she was encouraged to move into the administration. Her first administrative position was Seventh Grade Team Leader. Her position soon progressed to Assistant Principal, and finally to Principal of the middle school, where she remained until 2004. After taking the position of “Interim” Upper School Principal in 2004, she held the position through last year. Speaking of this, Mrs. Schoman admits, “I truly enjoyed my 10 years run in the Upper School- working with faculty on cirriculum and program development, helping students navigate the challenging years that prepare them for college and feeling enormous pride watching them recieve their diplomas in June”. In the spring of last year, at the announcement of middle school principal Rubenacker’s leave for Florida, Schoman expresses how her “… heart said ‘Go back to your roots’ It was time!”. Mrs. Schoman expresses how transition has been fabulous, and she is very appreciative for exposure to the energy of her students. She has enjoyed her overall “return debut” to the middle school. Finally, Mrs. Schoman comments “While many would rather forget thier middle school years, my hope is that this is not true at FA”.
As for family, Mrs. Schoman has two children- Matt, age 29, living in Connecticut and a leading Engineer at General Dynamic/Electric Boat, along with Victora, age 26, an Occupational Therapist in Florida. Her husband Jeff, and her, take pleasure in skiing, boating, and “toddling around on our 1919 American LaFrance fire truck”. Make sure to wave a quick hello and catch up with Mrs. Schoman, whenever you have a chance!