Priya Phillips '20
In August of 2018, the NCS community received a letter from the Governing Board Chair Alice Hill ’74 announcing that Elizabeth English had been chosen to succeed Kathleen O’Neill Jamieson as the 11th Head of School. Ms. Jamieson, or KOJ as many NCS students affectionately call her, notified the Upper School community of her retirement during a homily she was delivering amid an otherwise typical chapel service. While recounting her many fond memories of her time on the close, Ms. Jamieson explained that her time on the close was coming to an end so that she could pursue her other scholastic interests and passions. While the students were all happy to hear about how Ms. Jamieson plans to spend her retirement, this news was undeniably bitter-sweet, especially for the Class of 2020. For the Classes of 2018 and 2019, the news of a new Head of School’s appointment starting in the 2019-2020 school year was outside of their realm of concerns. For the Class of 2020, however, the idea of having to say goodbye to the only Head of School they’ve ever known, and right before the start of their final year on the close, was especially emotional. Though, as students began their summers, all thoughts of school fled from their heads and, among those thoughts, the concern of who would be the next Head of School.
When news was relayed over the summer regarding the search committee’s pick for Head, all of the Class of 2020’s prior concerns melted away. Elizabeth English has an impressive and extensive history in girl’s education under her belt. With a BA in English from Skidmore college, an MAT from Tufts University, and an EdM from Harvard University, Ms. English clearly spouts some very impressive educational accomplishments. Her career in education began with a teaching position in the English department at the Emma Willard School in New York and other administrative positions in the Massachusetts public school system. Later in her career, Ms. English went on to be the Upper School director at Atlanta Girls’ School and following that she became the Head of School at The Archer School for Girls, a position she has held since 2008. Ms. English’s accomplishments during her tenure at Archer are numerous and every one of them ushered the school towards becoming an exceptionally inclusive, well-rounded, and all-around impressive institution. Ms. English’s long career of being a champion for girls’ education, especially the need for diversity and energy in said education, makes her a perfect fit for the Close.
While the idea of such a large change affecting the close is still a little intimidating, Elizabeth English’s accomplishments and her passion for education have done a more than adequate job of soothing any and all anxieties on the Close regarding the transition. As a junior, I can now say that my only regret regarding Ms. English starting her career at NCS during my senior year is that I will not get to bear witness to all of the great improvements she will make to our community.