It is with great sadness that we share the news that Daniel Greenberg, one of the founders of Sudbury Valley School and staff member of more than 50 years, passed away this week at home with his family.
We are immensely grateful to Danny and the other founders of Sudbury Valley School for the gift of their pioneering vision of education, without which East Kent Sudbury and countless other Sudbury and other types of schools and settings the world over would not be here today. And for all the lives of children and adults that have been changed as a result.
Danny’s creative thinking, clear articulation, commitment, determination and generosity of spirit has been inspirational to our founding team and staff. Kate and I were honoured when in 2017 Danny wrote and invited us to visit Sudbury Valley School. We were thankful for the generosity of time and energy he showed us during what was clearly a busy week for the school and for the time he and Mimsy gave writing detailed answers to our questions.
One of my favourite memories of the week we spent at Sudbury Valley was watching the JC in action. Each day at 11.00 a group of people, who you wouldn’t think to necessarily put together – they are drawn from all ages of the school – come together in the small room off the Sewing room and take care of untangling the complaints filed from the previous 24 hours. Each day a different staff member sits on the JC and we were struck by how the personality of each staff shone through in these meetings and what a wonderful variety of expression and thinking was modelled for the students. When Danny was in the room there was a sparkle to the conversation, as we were waiting for people to arrive he would tell stories of radio plays from his childhood or join dots between someone’s passing comment and something of note from history. A mind alive with ideas and creativity, he was a joy to be around, for us and clearly for the students in the room as well. But above all what struck me was the love he had for everyone, when he gave you his attention he gave it in full. He comically drove a five year old’s chair up to the table so everyone could hear her every whisper because “every word mattered”. A group of pre-teens with a squabble about a computer mouse were soon falling about with laughter and resolved to sort it out between themselves following a mischievous “really?” from Danny. And on our last day when the JC was taken up with a lengthy case he brought everyone in the room, including us visitors, chocolate brownies fresh from the kitchen to fuel our deliberations.
It is with love and sadness we send our condolences to the Greenberg family, and to all the staff and students of Sudbury Valley School at this time.