Introducing Our New Head of School: Bruce Friend

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Dear PSPA Pioneer Scholars, Families and Friends:

On behalf of the Board of Directors, it is my great pleasure to announce that our very own Bruce Friend has accepted our invitation to become the next Head of School at Pine Springs Preparatory Academy. Bruce, who will begin in this role in June, brings more than two decades of K-12 education experience – as a middle and high school teacher, secondary school administrator, district-level administrator, and a consultant in education innovation working  with numerous states, school districts, and individual schools across the U.S.

Most of you know, Bruce has served on the PSPA Board of Directors since 2016 and Board Chair since 2018; however, it is notable to share that Bruce is also responsible for the initial conception of PSPA.  In 2014, Bruce started the effort of holding community meetings in Holly Springs to gauge the interest of parents and community leaders on the idea of starting a charter school in our fast-growing town.  He extended an invitation to a small group of people, including myself and other current Board members Shea Maliszewski, Gregg Sinders and Kristen Stocking to his home to share his idea for a school.  Not just any school but an AMAZING school – that would become a source of great pride, a model of excellence, and a great value to families in the town that we all love.  Bruce’s passion and vision was to set the national standard for public education right here in Holly Springs.

As our school, and schools across the nation, have been recently thrust into an environment of increasing need to create quality online learning options for students.  There are few, if any, educational leaders in our country whose experience can match Bruce’s work in this area.  Bruce is a recognized as one of the pioneers in developing innovative K-12 school models through the use of digital learning.  He possesses the unique experience of establishing successful online learning programs that span state-wide efforts, district programs, and at individual schools. Bruce played a significant role in the development of national online quality standards for online courses, instruction, and program quality that are used by states and school districts across the country.  He has also overseen the development and implementation of digital content utilized by tens of thousands of schools, teachers, and students across the world.  Bruce has routinely been asked to advise educational leaders, elected officials, and families on issues related to digital learning and the use of technology in education.

For the past five years, Bruce has served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Aurora Institute.  In that role, he was responsible for providing leadership and operational capacity in Aurora’s efforts to foster innovative learning environments through personalized, competency-based, learning models for students.  He provided technical expertise to state, district, and school leaders across the country, and help author many thought-leadership publications such as:

What’s Possible with Personalized Learning? An Overview of Personalized Learning for Schools, Families & Communities (2017) and A Roadmap for Implementation of Blended Learning at the School Level: A Case Study of the iLearnNYC Lab Schools (2013).

Bruce’s commitment and efforts to provide families with high-quality school options led to his appointment in 2018 to the NC Charter School Advisory Board by the NC Speaker of the House. His expertise in this field resulted in an assignment to the K-12 education committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee in Paris, France as well as serving on the boards for several education and community organizations; mostly recently have served on the board for Wake County Communities in School. He has been recognized with the “Most Outstanding Achievement by an Individual: K-12 Education” award by the United States Distance Learning Association and is a two-time recipient of the Florida Principal Achievement Award. Bruce has a B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and a M.ED in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida.

The Friend family have lived in Holly Springs for the past 14 years.  His wife, Nancy, is an elementary school teacher.  They have three daughters – two who are in college, and one who will be a high school senior in the upcoming school year.

Bruce has demonstrated expertise in all areas of school operations, academic programs, and leadership. With this said, the PSPA Board fully anticipates that our next-level vision for PSPA will come to fruition. While we are very excited and incredibly proud to welcome Bruce as the new Head of School, we also recognize the unbelievable performance by our interim Head of School, Stephanie Needham.  PSPA would not be the success it is today without Ms. Needham and her tireless efforts and leadership.  Thank you Ms. Needham for all you do!


Pine Springs Preparatory Academy Board Member and Vice Chair,


Priscilla Jacobs Maynor