John Frost Evans
Administrator in our school from 2001 to 2008
John’s wife Judy has written to tell us that John slipped away from this earthly life on Wednesday 7th March 2018. He had been ill for some time.
John arrived from New Zealand at a crucial time in the life of the school and, during these 7 wonderful years, he transformed and renewed the life of the school, moving us out of an early, idealistic phase in which we were stuck but no longer thriving, to a flourishing establishment. He brought solidity and stability and it’s true to say that with John at the helm, staff, parents and children alike felt secure.
John came from an anthroposophical (Steiner) background and was as well versed in the principles of Waldorf education as in Steiner’s Threefold Social Order. He was well read and knowledgeable and so steeped in anthroposophy that it poured into everything he did from reworking the finances and the many school policies, to working with the teachers on educational issues, or the Council on consensus management, or with the parents in the social sphere. He brought professionalism, consistency and formality to the processes needed to underpin the more ethereal aspects of the education.
John gave us a beautiful Parents' Handbook, full of information about the school, illustrated with many photographs; he wrote inspiring articles every week for the Newsletter; he put the case to a VAT Tribunal Court in London in which we appealed against the HM Customs and Excise refusing to repay the VAT on the building of classrooms 1, 2 & 3, so saving us a large sum of money. (The school, through Keir’s careful stewardship, had been able to claim this on all the previous buildings, but laws had changed.) Against the advice of many, he pushed through the building of Keir Hall which transformed almost every aspect of the school’s life.
He was a modest, patient man, and Of course, no-one will have achieved what John did without also being at moments incredibly stubborn! – or firm, a firmness which was sometimes met with resistance, but of course we all pulled together and the school grew in every way. John put his heart and soul into his work here. He was a real knight - a Michaelic being. He was sorely missed when he left and he will be sorely missed as a presence on this earth.
At his funeral, Judy read out Kahlil Gibran's verse on death from The Prophet. These are the last few beautiful lines:
‘For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.’
& Maggie Coello - who felt privileged to work alongside John as Bursar