From Memeranda, Spring 2012
Q: Has working in enrollment management been a good preparation for headship?
A: Absolutely! I work with every office at the school and that has given me a very broad view of the role of a head, and the kinds of support a head needs.
Q: Did you begin your independent school career thinking that you wanted to move toward headship?
A: I started off teaching, coaching, and living in the dorm. That was my entrée at Suffield Academy (CT). But I wasn’t thinking about headship then. When I started in education, I didn’t know if I would stay, though I knew I would always work for a nonprofit. I wanted to do something that would allow me to have an impact on a lot of lives. Teaching is a great way to prepare for headship, because a head needs to understand the critical experience of the classroom teacher.
Q: But you did stay in schools. Where did you go from Suffield?
A: I have been really, really lucky in my life to work at very interesting schools at important moments in their history. At Dana Hall (MA), I helped make the school stronger from an enrollment and financial aid perspective. When I came to Andover, the school was struggling to articulate its mission. We were very big, and we decided to reduce the size of the school and put a lot more resources into support for residential life. And we realized that if we really wanted to have the broadest, deepest course of study of any high school in the world, we needed to begin a different kind of admission and recruitment effort.
Q: What attracted you to The Brearley School?
A: I have had the tremendous privilege of reading Brearley applications to Andover over the years and seeing how bright and intellectually curious these young women are and how eager they are to make a difference. I have had a front row seat to the development of those young women when they set sail at Andover.
Being in a K-12 school is so exciting to me—to be in a place where you can see girls grow over the span of their childhood. Everyone at Brearley is passionate. The alumni are passionate; the faculty is passionate; the students are passionate. They have a million questions and tons of energy, and that’s the kind of place in which I work best. I am so excited about going—but I am also sad about leaving Andover.
Q: Do you have advice for admission people who might be interested in following a path to headship?
A: The one thing I would say is that people who are in admission should shape a job that is really interesting to them, and that’s different at different schools. I have traveled the world for Andover, and whenever I am on the road on admission business I also do work for the alumni and development office, which is tremendously helpful to the school.