By Courtney Clark
Dave Farace moved to Jacksonville when he was offered the position of Head of School at The Bolles School, which he began during the 2015 school year. With more than 20 years of experience in independent school education, he has been an excellent choice for this position. Farace graduated from Washington and Lee University, as well as Johns Hopkins University. His position entails developing strategic and financial plans, overseeing daily operations of four campuses and spending a lot of time with Bolles students.
When Farace isn’t working to plan and advance the school’s mission, he enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his wife and three kids. He enjoys living on the Bolles campus, where he is privy to a beautiful view of the St. Johns River.
- How is Bolles different from other schools?
I want to hold character development up as one of the two main “edges” Bolles has over other schools I’ve seen. Our motto is “All Things Possible.” That means students at Bolles have opportunities to discover their unique strengths and to hone them with all the resources and support that a Bolles education has to offer. Equally important is the focus on servant leadership that is developed at an early age here at Bolles; what these students do for others is as meaningful as what they are doing for themselves. Bolles has a unique mission that emphasizes excellence, courage, integrity and compassion. These core values are woven into our school culture and our students embrace them in their daily lives.
- What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I believe the best independent schools focus on developing ethical leaders who are motivated by a desire to serve others. I try to work this philosophy into conversations I have with all children and it is my sincere hope that they take what they learn here and apply it throughout their lives. Our family motto is: Be Good, Do Good. My wife Becky and I don’t focus much on success and happiness as primary goals for our children. We want our children — and all Bolles students — to be good (virtuous) and are convinced that this mindset ultimately leads to a successful, happy and purposeful life.
- What’s your favorite part of the job?
Hands down, it is Bolles’ commitment to character education. Everything else a school does in academics, the arts and athletics should be in support of developing ethical, caring leaders. It is obvious the faculty and staff live out this philosophy on a daily basis and I believe it has served as the primary driver of success for the school over the years. I also love attending field trips, particularly with our lower school students.
- What’s a fun story about a student you’d like to share?
Young children, particularly preschoolers who are still learning the English language, make me laugh. My own children used to complain that a sibling was being a “coffee cat” (instead of a copycat). I would immediately turn to the other child and tell them to stop “coffee-ing” their sibling. Another funny story comes from the kindergarten class. One student loved school so much he would wake his parents up on Saturday mornings, eager to go to school.
- What’s a fun fact about Dave outside of school?
With the recent passing of [the singer] Prince, this may be the right time to share that he was my “go to” artist when singing karaoke in my younger years.
Photo courtesy Dave Farace