And, WT administrators are given the opportunity to grow, develop, and experience new areas of expertise—all with the result of making WT a stronger school. This year, three long-time administrators will be moving to the next step of their careers. We asked them to tell us what it was about WT that prepared them to achieve this level of success.
Associate Head for Strategic and External Affairs
Joined WT: July 2002
Next Role: Head of School at Sophia Academy in Providence, RI
With deep gratitude, I leave you, fair WT, taking with me treasured experiences and memories. I have learned much from living, working, and raising two daughters in your exceptional culture. These are the leadership lessons you have taught me, lessons I will keep trying to master:
Relationships are first: Being nurtured and held up by a community, and in turn holding up that community. My greatest fortune was to find at WT mentors, thinking partners, teachers, friends, and colleagues who have helped make my time here productive, fun, and joyful.
Self-awareness is second: Knowing where one shines and where one could be a better human being, and being honest about it. In many moments of truth, I was reminded that if I hide from myself, I risk forgetting my responsibility to the larger world.
Competence is third: Applying one’s intellect to learn, to understand, to think, to solve. Well-reasoned perspectives and compassion are equal partners in competence, as I have learned from the masters of this wisdom, who surround me at WT.
Purpose and action are fourth and fifth: Being a self-aware, competent professional immersed in productive relationships encompasses one’s gift to the world when there is purpose outside of and greater than oneself. And so it is our responsibility, our duty to be our full selves.
Thank you, WT. You will always be a part of me.
Director of Upper School
Joined WT: August 2004
Next Role: Assistant Head of School at Durham Academy in Durham, NC
WT is not a school that rests on its laurels, and this community has taught me an enduring lesson: good enough is never good enough. WT’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit has spurred me to take risks and strive to remove obstacles from the roads of others. Each day the energy of my colleagues animates me, so much so that finding a dynamic community of engaged learners was my number one criterion for a new school home.
Most of all, I have been prepared through authentic, challenging, and supportive relationships with the members of this community. When I think about each of them, I can immediately point to a beloved trait, personal mantra, or deeply-held philosophy that has and will continue to inspire me on my own learning journey. My gratitude for the trust that exists here, and for the tremendous opportunities that I have been given to grow, will follow me as I take my next step.
Director of Advancement
Joined WT: July 2012
Next Role: Head of School at Wakefield School in The Plains, VA
As I reflect on my tenure at Winchester Thurston, I am again struck by the strength of the school’s purpose and its always forward momentum. I have been fortunate to receive opportunities for personal and professional growth during my time here. Gary Niels’s leadership, his trust in his team, and his commitment to collaboration and innovation created an environment primed for progress. Add to this the incredible faculty and staff with whom I have been privileged to work and you get a very special place. At WT you are not only allowed to be your best self, you are encouraged and expected to be such. I believe this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson captures this impact well: “Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.”
The unique combination of the school’s Mission of active engagement joined with the school’s credo of “Think Also,” creates an environment where compassionate leadership and achievement go hand in hand. It is this combination that drew me to WT and it is the community that lives out this ethos every day that has made an impact on my leadership journey.