Deirdre Ling

Deirdre Ling is a woman of firsts: first Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Development at UMass Amherst; first woman and person of color as Head of Middlesex School; and first place in most game nights. (She’s a Bronze Life Master in Duplicate Bridge.)
For Deirdre, being first isn’t about being the “best” — it’s about opening up possibilities for others. Growing up bicultural in America in the 40’s and 50’s and coming of age in the 60’s, Deirdre is an ardent feminist with a deep and abiding commitment to social justice. She has been referred to as a ‘pathbreaker’— someone who is always seeking new ways to knowledge, equity, and inclusivity.
Fun, intuitive, loyal, adventurous, and quick on her feet, Deirdre is dogged in her pursuit to get it right for her clients. She considers herself a cross between cultural anthropologist and a matchmaker. She finds deep satisfaction in listening intently to stakeholders; identifying what they most value; and then helping them find the right leader to move them forward.


Professional Experience

  • Educators’ Collaborative, Partner, 2003 – present
  • Middlesex School, MA; Head of School, 1990 – 2003
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Development, 1983 – 1990; Assistant Chancellor, 1982 – 1983; Dean of Academic Support Services, 1981 – 1982; Dean of Admissions, 1979 – 1981; Director of Freshman Admissions, 1978 – 1979
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook; Assistant Director of Admissions, 1974 – 1978
  • Western Michigan University; Admissions Counselor, 1973 – 1974



  • University of Rochester, B.A. Philosophy, cum laude, 1965
  • University of Rhode Island, M.A., English, 1968
  • Tufts University, Teaching Assistant, Ph.D. English, 1976
  • Klingenstein Visiting Fellow, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1996


Professional Affiliations

  • The Louis August Jonas Foundation, 2009 – 2014
  • Headmaster’s Association, 1993 – present
  • Head Mistresses Association of the East, 1990 – present
  • National Association of Principals of Schools for Girls, 1990 – present
  • Falmouth Academy; Board of Trustees; 2003 – 2009
  • Fay School; Board of Trustees; 2003 – 2009
  • Council for the Advancement and Support of Education; Board of Trustees; 1993 – 2003
  • Educational Records Bureau, Board of Trustees, 1996 – 2003
  • Emerson Hospital, Board of Trustees, 1996 – 2003
  • NEASC, Commission on Independent Schools, 1994 – 1995
  • AISNE, Board of Trustees, 1992 – 1995
  • The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, Board of Directors, 2007 – 2010
  • The College Board, 1983 – 1987

Doug Jennings

Doug has always loved the outdoors—he firmly believes that “nature is our best teacher.” Whether leading student groups up Mount Washington, whale watching in Mexico, or doing a bird count in his backyard— the sense of purpose, balance and collaboration Doug observes in the natural world translates to his work with human organizations.
When it comes to his career, Doug has always prioritized personal relationships. His is an empathetic counselor and fervent learner. As a partner, he takes in the whole picture of every person and organization he connects with, distilling everything down to what is most essential.
Careful, present, and confident, Doug prioritizes establishing a sound and inclusive process. That’s why he spends so much time connecting with his clients— getting to know them and thinking deeply about their best interests. These qualities may also explain his love for eagles and ospreys—how their bird’s eye view allows them to see the big picture without losing sight of the details on the ground.


Professional Experience

  • Park Tudor School, Indianapolis, IN, Head of School, 2002 – 2011
  • Indian Springs School, Birmingham, AL, Headmaster, 1987 – 2002
  • Forsyth Country Day School, Winston-Salem, NC, Director of the Upper School, 1979 – 1987
  • Montclair Kimberley Academy, Assistant Head, Middle School, 1974 – 1979


Additional Professional Experience

  • Klingenstein Visiting Fellow, Columbia University
  • Christian A. Johnson Fellow
  • Faculty Director, NAIS Institute for New Heads
  • Director, SAIS Workshops for New Teachers



  • Lafayette College, B.A., English
  • Columbia University, M.A., Educational Administration
  • Montclair State College, M.A., Psychology and Counseling


Professional Affiliations

  • Board Member, Friends School of Wilmington
  • The Country Day School Headmasters Association
  • Board of Directors, National Association of Independent Schools
  • Chair of Presidential Search Committee, Independent Schools Association of the Central States
  • President of the Board, Southern Association of Independent Schools
  • Advisory Board Member, Charles A. Tindley Charter School
  • President, Indiana Association of Independent Schools
  • President, Alabama Association of Independent Schools
  • Board Member, Indiana Non-Public Education Association
  • Board Member, Birmingham Museum of Art
  • Regional Recruiter, Outward Bound
  • Board Member and Sponsor, Habitat for Humanity
  • Advisor, Indianapolis Diversity Leadership Institute

Jean Lamont

In the late 60’s, Jean served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya where she taught in an all-girls high school. This was the first time she was directly exposed to the complexities of racial issues. It was also the first time she nurtured her connection to the wild, spending her free time in the national parks and crossing the border into Tanzania to climb to the snow-capped top of Kilimanjaro.
After Kenya, Jean went to teach in an all black inner city high school in Nashville, TN during the first two years of desegregation. This experience solidified her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Years later, she became a founding member of Early Steps in New York City, where she played an important role in recruiting families from diverse backgrounds and positioning the program to support them.
Jean believes there is a lot of gratification in taking risks, doing what is right, and embracing the unknown. Perceptive, analytical, and compassionate, she doesn’t shy away from hard questions. Positive and supportive, she knows that some of the most important realizations are preceded by a great deal of discomfort. She welcomes the ‘elephant in the room’ and supports people in having the courage to abide by their values. Her unwavering empathy and willingness to take a stance has resulted in a variety of schools and programs becoming more diverse, more open, and more willing to embrace change.

Professional Experience

  • Educators’ Collaborative, Partner, 2008 – present
  • Educational Consultant and Founding Partner, eduINNOVATIONS, 2005 – 2008
  • Head of School, The Foote School, New Haven, CT (k-gr.9, 475 students), 1992 – 2004
  • The Allen-Stevenson School, NY, NY; 1982 – 1992
    • Head of Upper School and Secondary School Counselor, grades 7-9
    • Admissions Officer
    • Science Teacher and Department Chair
  • St. Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY, Science Teacher; 1973 – 1974; 1978 – 1984
  • Washington Junior High School, Nashville, TN, Science Teacher; 1969 – 1971
  • Kisumu Girls High School, Kisumu, Kenya, Science Teacher; 1966 – 1968



  • Middlebury College, B.A., 1966
  • Columbia University Teachers College, M.A., 1992, Educational Administration


Professional Affiliations

  • Horizons at Foote (School) Advisory Board
  • North Haven, Maine Library, Board of Trustees
  • International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Board of Directors
  • International Center of New Haven, Board of Directors, Vice-President
  • Yale-China Association, Board of Directors, Executive Committee
  • Secondary School Admissions Test Board, Director
  • Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, Board of Directors, Secretary
  • National Association of Principals of Girls Schools, Member
  • Headmistresses of the East Association, Member
  • Early Steps, Founding member, Board of Directors, President, Trustee Emerita

Joan Beauregard

Joan is the middle child of five siblings born over the span of twenty-three years— a station in the family that has positioned her as a bridge between two generations. From an early age, Joan learned to listen, appreciate differences of opinion, negotiate, and bring people together for the greater good.
When Joan was in third grade she began skipping recess to stay in and help wipe down the blackboards. She loved being around her teachers so much that she would soak up just about everything they did—from correcting papers to preparing lessons.  When she was ten, her father installed a large slate black board on their back porch so she could ‘teach’ her two young siblings and their stuffed animals. In high school she was awarded a “Future Teacher’s Scholarship”  and she and her younger sister both went on to become educators.
Loyal, focused, insightful, and trustworthy, Joan is masterful at seeing through the lens of possibility and helping individuals and teams connect to their own potential. As a partner, she’s motivated by the ripple effect: she knows that when the right leader is in place, the community can be its best, and the quality of the education increases. In turn, students leave a school prepared to go out into the world and make it better.

Professional Experience

  • Educators’ Collaborative, LLC –  Partner, 2018 – Present
  • Hamlin Robinson School, WA – Head of School, 2010 – 2018
  • The Oaks School, CA – Interim Head of School, 2009 – 2010
  • Little School, WA – Interim Head of School, 2008 – 2009
  • Giddens School, WA – Interim Head of School, Acting Head of School, 2005 – 2008
  • Thomas School, WA – Head of School, Associate Head of School, Teacher – 1981 – 2005
  • Mutual Elementary School, MD – Teacher, 1977 – 1981
  • St Francis Xavier School, Washington, DC – Primary Grades Teacher, 1975 – 1977
  • Norwich Public Schools, CT – Primary Grades Teacher, 1974 – 1975
  • St Mary’s School- CT, Middle School Teacher, 1973 – 1974



  • Seattle Pacific UniversityWashington Administrative Credential Program, 1986
  • Federal City College – M.A.T. Early Childhood and Elementary Education, 1977
  • Annhurst College- Elementary Education and English, 1973


Professional Affiliations

  • Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS), Board of Governors, 1996-2007 & 2015 to present
  • Co-chaired and served on numerous Accreditation Teams for the Northwest Association of Independent Schools
  • The Head Mistresses Association of the East, 2018 to present
  • Country Day School Headmasters Association, 2003 to present, Executive Committee, 2016 to present
  • National Association of Principals of School for Girls (The Heads Network) 1996 to present, Counsel at Large, 2004-2005
  • Private School Advisory Committee to the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1996 – 2005
  • Trustee, French American School of Puget Sound, 2002 to present
  • Trustee, The Seattle Girls School, 2006 to present, Co-Chaired the Search Committee in 2016
  • Washington Federation of Independent Schools, 1995-2005, President, 2001 to 2003
  • Trustee, University Child Development School, 1984-1989
  • Trustee, Open Window School, 1989-1997
  • NWAIS, President, 2003-2005, Treasurer, 2000-2003, Standards and Practices Chair, 2014-2018, Accreditation Committee, 1991 to 2018 and numerous other committees
  • Professional Development Presenter: NWAIS Board Chair Workshop 2013-2015, NWAIS New Trustee Workshop 2012-2015 – 2018, Institutional Leadership Conference 2015 – 2018, Pathways to Leadership for Aspiring Woman Leaders, 2016 to present. (Founding Faculty)

John Mackenzie

When John was eight his family moved to a small rural town in Massachusetts where he attended classes in a four-room schoolhouse. A mile away was the oldest boys’ boarding school in the country. Neither of John’s parents had considered independent school as an option, but in a unique arrangement between the school and the town, John was admitted tuition-free. It was a move, and a gesture, that set the course for John’s life’s work.

A teacher, coach and mentor, John has a real knack for listening. He loves to sit down with just about anyone and hear their story. Four decades in independent schools have taught John that school leadership isn’t a bottom-line business. After twenty years as head, he believes that success is best measured by the amount of trust and faith a family can invest into a school (and its leader) to care for their children.

While he loves a good win on the golf course, as an EC partner, John’s focus is on caring, listening with empathy, and building camaraderie. He is calm, consistent, and completely devoted to his clients.


Professional Experience

  • Educators’ Collaborative, Partner, 2013 – 2014, Managing Partner, 2019 – Present
  • Columbus Academy, OH: Headmaster, 1997 – 2013
  • Worcester Academy, MA: Headmaster, 1991 – 1997
  • Providence Day School, NC: History Department Chair, 1990 – 1991
  • Potomac School, VA: (Founding) Head of Upper School, 1986 – 1990
  • Milton Academy, MA: Principal for Boys, Dean of Upper School, 1981 – 1986
  • Belmont Hill School, MA: History Department Chair, Coach, College Counselor, Director of Upper School, 1970 – 1981
  • Canterbury School, CT: History Teacher, Coach, Dormitory Master, 1969 – 1970



  • The Governor’s Academy, 1965
  • Bowdoin College, A.B. Government, 1969
  • Columbia University Teachers College, M.A. Educational Administration, 1981 (Joseph A. Klingenstein Fellow)


Professional Affiliations

  • Board of Trustees, Cincinnati Country Day School, 2015 – present
  • The Country Day School Headmasters Association, 2008 – present
  • Board of Trustees, Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS), 2005 – 2013; Chair, 2010 – 2012
  • Board of Trustees, Ohio Association of Independent Schools (OAIS), 2001 – 2005
  • Board of Trustees, Dynamy, Inc., Worcester, MA 1995 – 1997
  • Eight Accreditation Visiting Teams for Independent School Association of Central States and New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Executive Committee, Bowdoin College Alumni Council, 1989 – 1993

Mary Seppala

Mary Seppala feels most alive when she is deeply immersed in understanding the culture of a school. The variety of schools she has represented in her search work is intentional, seeking out the uniqueness of each environment and allowing her to work with each school community to define their future leadership needs. A teacher, counselor, special education administrator, and school leader, Mary understands schools from a Board, faculty, student, and parent perspective. She welcomes challenge, as demonstrated in her role as the first American and first woman to lead Munich International School (the first IB World school) and then transition to all-girls leadership at The Agnes Irwin School on the Main Line in Philadelphia.
Social justice education is in Mary’s DNA. She has worked in the Middle East, living in a Kurdish Village near the Syrian border; did projects in villages in Tanzania; and had a Fulbright exchange in Argentina. Her passion for multi-cultural work led her to develop the first anti-racist teaching program in a group of Philadelphia Independent Schools in 2013.
Mary is the only EC partner who spent 30 years in public education. Having worked in public, international, and independent schools at all levels—including teaching at the university level—she is masterful in the overlap of education and culture.


Professional Experience

  • The Agnes Irwin School 2009-2014
    Head of School
    Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Munich International School 2005-2009
    Head of School
    Munich, Germany
  • Lee-Tyringham School District 2002-2005
    Superintendent of Schools
    Lee, MA
  • Amherst-Pelham Regional School District 1980-2002
    District Special Education Administrator 1985-2002
    High School Counselor 1980-1985
    Amherst, MA
  • University of Massachusetts 1996-2000
    Instructor, School of Education
    Amherst, MA
  • Department of Defense Overseas Schools 1974-1978
    Administrator, Teacher
    Germany, Turkey, Greece
  • Central Berkshire Regional School District 1971-1974
    Teacher, Counselor
    Dalton, MA



  • Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
    B.S. Education
  • Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
    M.A. Counseling
  • University of Massachusetts
    Ed.D., Student Development


Professional Affiliations

  • Headmistresses of the East
  • The Head’s Network
  • National Coalition of Girls’ Schools
  • National Association of Independent Schools
  • Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools
  • Regional Advisory Board Member for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, IBO Geneva
  • Association for the Advancement of International Schools
  • Association of German International Schools, Board Member
  • The Education Alliance, Brown University
  • US Department of Education High School Initiative, invited member
  • Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents
  • Harvard Superintendent’s Roundtable

Marcus Hurlbut

The youngest of three, Marc grew up in a tight-knit neighborhood in suburban Boston where he learned to be self-reliant and resourceful. He also spent eight summers at a camp in Maine— a place that celebrated community, the outdoors, athletics and music. This experience led to his love of the water, a lifelong career as a multi-dimensional athlete, a brief stint as a one- time aspiring folk singer, and an enduring commitment to being part of a team.

Marc spent his high school years at an independent boarding school which,
along with his camp experience, guided him toward a 40 plus year career as
an educator and school leader. Early in his career as a school head, he and
his family built (literally) a small summer cottage on the coast of Maine, a life-
changing experience that has now brought joy and togetherness to three
generations of Hurlbuts.

Marc is especially proud of his work founding Breakthrough programs in all three of the schools he headed. These programs reflect his commitment to serve diverse communities of students and families and the responsibility he feels independent schools have to pursue a meaningful and impactful purpose beyond the walls of their schools.


Professional Experience

  • Educators’ Collaborative – Partner, July 2013 to present
  • St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, CA – Headmaster, 2003 – 2013
  • Friends Academy, NY – Headmaster, 1993 – 2002
  • The Derryfield School, NH – Headmaster, 1982 – 1993
  • Roxbury Latin School, MA – Dean of Students, History Teacher, Coach, 1976 – 1982
  • Woodstock Country School, VT – Assistant Headmaster, History Teacher, 1970 – 1976
  • Fenster School, AZ – History Teacher, Coach, Dorm Parent, 1967 – 1970



  • Suffield Academy – 1962
  • Union College – B.A Political Science, 1966
  • Dartmouth College – M.A. Liberal Studies, 1975


Professional Affiliations

  • The Headmasters Association, 1988 to present; President, 2001
  • The Country Day School Headmasters Association, 1989 to present
  • California Association of Independent Schools, Board of Directors. 2009 to 2013
  • National Association of lndependent Schools, Board of Directors, 1988- 1992
  • Independent School Association of Northern New England, Board of Directors,1985-1989
  • Chaired Accreditation Teams for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, New York Association of Independent Schools, and the California Association of lndependent Schools

Nat Conard

Nat grew up in Vermont on the campus of The Mountain School, a small boarding school which his parents founded in the early sixties. As long as he can remember, he worked the school farm surrounded by conversations about leadership and organizational change. He became fascinated with effectiveness: What makes some people really strong leaders while others, whose ideas might be just as good, struggle to get anything accomplished?
Nat found his first post-college job in a classified ad and began teaching in the New Hampshire public schools. Making barely enough to live on, he eventually decided to go to business school. Though he was not naive to what an MBA entailed, his first course in organizational behavior left him mind blown—not only could leadership be studied and developed, but the research confirmed what he had already observed: effective leadership begins by understanding what is important to the people within your organization.
After spending two-and-a-half years at Bain, one of the top strategic management consulting firms in the world, Nat began his independent school career as an administrator. Over the years, he has worn many hats: director of development, director of external affairs, department chair, academic dean, director of technology, unofficial CFO, assistant head of school, and head of school. Analytical, discerning, and full of humor, Nat’s Vermont roots and unusual career path have made him an expert at growing things. From plants to people, teams, and organizations: Nat can plant a seed and do everything it takes to help it thrive.


Professional Experience

  • The Pingry School, 2005-2019, Basking Ridge & Short Hills, NJ


  • Emma Willard School, 1997-2005, Troy, NY

Math Instructor, 1997-1998

Academic Dean, 1998-2003

Assistant Head for Academics, 2003-2005

  • Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School, 1988-1997, Waltham, MA

Director of Development, 1988, 1992-1997

Director of External Affairs, 1988-1992

Math Department Chair, 1992-1994

  • Orford High School, 1981-1983, Orford, NH

Math, Biology, Computer Science Teacher


Other Professional Experience

  • Bain & Company, 1985-1987, Boston, MA

Consultant and Team Leader



  • Yale University, B.S., Biology, cum laude, 1981
  • Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, M.B.A. with highest distinction, Edward Tuck Scholar, 1985


Professional Affiliations

  • NJAIS (New Jersey Association of Independent Schools), Board of Trustees, 2008-2015 (Treasurer, 2012-2015); 2018- Present (President, 2020-Present). Received 2019 Service Award.
  • INDEX (Independent School Data Exchange), Board of Trustees, 2017-2019
  • New Jersey SEEDS, Board of Trustees, 2005-2019. Received 2019 Leading Change Award.
  • Country Day School Headmasters Association
  • Head Mistresses Association of the East
  • Heads Network

Pilar Cabeza de Vaca

One of the few Latina heads of school in Europe and in the United States, Pilar didn’t start out wanting to teach—she wanted to go into something more “international.” But aside from working as a secretary, teaching was the only job available to women in Ecuador.
PIlar’s career began in earnest at her alma mater, the American School of Quito, where she wanted to give back what she had received. Discovering a magic chemistry between her and her students, she came to thoroughly enjoy each day in the classroom. Her passion was palpable: two years later she was promoted into administration and after four years, she was appointed Head of School.
As an administrator, Pilar developed into a powerful mentor. She believes there is nothing more rewarding than being a part of someone else’s success and lights up to see others achieve—particularly those things they have deemed impossible. With a career spanning three continents in over forty years, Pilar is masterful at putting herself in other people’s shoes. Fluent in English, Spanish, and French (and with reading knowledge of Russian),  her authenticity and self-effacing humor come across in a number of languages.

Her students call her generous, her colleagues call her a “change agent” and interviewees say there is something about her that puts them at ease.


Professional Experience

  • The Madeira School, McLean, VA, Head of School 2010-2020
  • The European Council of International Schools, Interim Executive Director 2008-2009
  • The American School of Paris, Head of School 2000-2008
  • The American School of Quito, Director General 1993-2000; Director of the International Program 1989-2003; Head of the English Department, English and History teacher 1987-1989
  • Cotopaxi Academy, Quito, English and History teacher 1983-1985
  • Colegio Alberto Einstein, Quito, English and History teacher 1975-1976
  • Free-lance translator:  United Nations, Central Bank of Ecuador and the IMF, International Security Council, Pope John Paul II Press Corps, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada 1976-1985



  • MA, Instructional Leadership, University of Alabama 1993
  • AB cum laude, French, Bryn Mawr College, 1975


Professional Affiliations

  • Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS), member of the Accreditation Committee
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), trustee and Chair of the Equity and Justice Committee
  • SSATB Board, (now The Enrollment Management Association), trustee
  • European Council of International Schools, Board Chair
  • IB Regional Advisory Committee for Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, member
  • Middle States Association, member of the Advisory Board
  • Association of American Schools of South America (ASSA), Vice-President/President Elect and Secretary-Treasurer
  • Council of IB Heads of Schools, Geneva, Latin American representative
  • Fulbright Foundation, Ecuador, member of the Board of Directors
  • Fundación Integridad/Carter Foundation, member of the Executive committee
  • Ecuadorian-American Chamber of Commerce, member of the board of directors

Sally Mixsell

Sally Mixsell (Mike’-sul) always knew she would become a teacher. Her favorite birthday present was the blackboard her parents gave her when she was seven. (Her little sister was not so charmed by the gift as she was relegated to being Sally’s student for hours on end.)
While she never thought she would become a school administrator, Sally was always intrigued by how schools work. This fascination led her to zero in on the topic of leadership: she developed several leadership programs for students; moved into academic administration; headed academic institutes; and eventually, designed and taught in a graduate degree program for independent school leaders. Ultimately, she became the guiding head of her alma mater.
Through it all, Sally has been known for balancing hard work with good fun. She is forthright, embraces change, and thinks through the lens of possibility. After 44 years serving schools, Sally joined EC knowing there was still so much more she wanted to do. At the heart of her efforts is a reverence for the miracles of education— miracles made possible by leaders who listen deeply, work purposefully, and care about kids. 


Professional Experience

  • Educators Collaborative, Partner, 2019 – Present
  • Stoneleigh-Burnham School, MA, Head of School, 2008 – 2018
  • eduINNOVATIONS, LLC, Founding Partner, Consulting Work: 2005 – 2008;
  • Co-Director, Beginning Administrators Institute, 2005 – 2010
  • Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, Project Director, 2003 – 2005
  • Hamden Hall Country Day School, CT, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, PK-12, 2001 – 2003; Academic Dean, 7-12, 1991 – 2000; Ninth Grade Dean, 1989 – 1992; Co-founder and Coordinator, Peer Leadership Program, 1989 – 2000; Teacher of French, English and Leadership, 1985 – 2003
  • Food for Thought, care packages for boarding school students, Co-founder and Partner, 1980 – 1983
  • Sewickley Academy, PA, Teacher of French, 1975 – 1979
  • The Gunnery (CT), part-time teacher, 1974 – 1975 and 1984 – 1985; Wykeham-Rise School (CT), part-time teacher, 1974 – 1975, and Rumsey Hall School (CT), part-time teacher, 1979 – 1985



  • Wells College, B.A., Comparative French and American Literature, 1973
  • Princeton Center for Leadership Training, 1988, 1989
  • Stanley King Counseling Institute, 1994
  • Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A., Education Administration, with a focus in private school leadership, 2001  [Joseph A. Klingenstein Fellow]


Professional Affiliations

  • AISNE (Association of Independent Schools of New England), Board member, 2010 – 2017
  • Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Board member, 2009 – 2018
  • CAIS (CT Association of Independent Schools), New England New Teachers Seminar (NENTS – offered jointly with AISNE), Staff member, 2004 – 2005, and Director, 2006 – 2010; Beginning Teachers Institute, Staff member,1995 – 2005; Commission on Professional Development, member, 2001 – 2008, and Chair, 2004 – 2008
  • Klingenstein Advisory Committee, Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, Member, 2001 – 2005
  • S. Grant Foundation, New Haven, CT, Board member, 2002 – 2003
  • Cristo Rey New York High School, Feasibility Study Committee member, 2001-2002, and Founding Board member, 2002 – 2007
  • Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Board member, 1987 – 1991 and 2001 – 2006
  • Friends of Gunn Jr. Library, CT,  Board member, 1979 – 1985; President, 1984 – 1985
  • Headmistresses Association of the East, member, 2008 – present

Steve Piltch

When Steve was 11, he ended up in the hospital for a medical emergency. While the issue turned out to be relatively minor, he shared a room with a nineteen-year-old waiting on a kidney transplant—a surgery that was still relatively rare. Despite the boy’s fear, Steve remembers him as radiating love and enthusiasm. This experience transformed Steve and he began believing that no matter how difficult a situation is, you can always find something positive.
This attitude carried over into Steve’s brief career as a squash coach— a role he had until he was recruited to be head of The Shipley School. To some, the transition was baffling: How does a sport’s coach become head of school? But to Steve, leadership was just an extension of what he was already doing: gathering people together; meeting them where they are at; and helping them grow into their full potential.
Under Steve’s leadership, Shipley became the first school of Positive Education in the United States, an educational approach born from international research showing that students are healthier, achieve better in the classroom, and excel in other areas of life when they are supported and encouraged as individuals.
The fourth of nine children, Steve is the definition of a family man. He has balanced a 40-year career in education with an unwavering commitment to his loved ones, and he never forgets a birthday. Passionate, caring, and funny, he does the same thing at home that he does in the office: opens up space for conversation; asks good questions; and brings a quality of care and patience to think things through.


Professional Experience

  • Educators’ Collaborative LLC – Partner, 2021 – Present
  • UPenn Graduate School of Education – Senior Fellow and Director of School Leadership Program, 2019 – 2021
  • The Shipley School – Head of School, 1992 – 2019
  • Harvard University – Director of Athletics; University Supervisor; Principals’ Center Administrator, 1986 – 1992
  • Choate Rosemary Hall – Form Dean for Class of 1983; Psychology and Math Teacher, 1977 – 1983



  • Williams College, B.A., 1977
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education, M.Ed., 1994, 1998
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed.D., 1991
  • University of Maine, M.Ed., 1985



  • Board member on six independent school boards and eleven other organizations between 1990 and 2020, including the Gesu School in Philadelphia, 2006 – Present
  • Minding Your Mind, 2009 – Present
  • SpeakUp!, 2010 – Present
  • Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI), 2019 – Present

Tracy Bennett

Spending summers sailing on Lake Michigan, Tracy learned from her father how to chart a course using the practical parallel rule as well as an instinctive understanding of weather patterns. This approach – utilizing data and facts while paying attention to intuition and changing circumstances – continues to serve her well. High energy and happiest when outdoors, Tracy has run marathons, hiked around Mont Blanc, and walked across Spain on the Camino Santiago. She’s thrilled to have recently returned to New England (close to her alma mater, Dartmouth), with easy access to the Green and White Mountains.

Tracy brings a comprehensive understanding of schools to her work. A parent of five independent school graduates, Tracy has 15 years of experience as a trustee, including serving as board chair. She began her professional journey teaching at a New Hampshire boarding school, and then shifted into senior leadership roles in enrollment management, communications, and fundraising after moving to Seattle. As a head of school for the past decade, Tracy loved the variety each day offered – joining kindergartners for morning circle to a meeting with a major donor to a facility construction tour – each uniquely rewarding.

Tracy’s Master’s thesis explored how women lead schools and what supports their success. She learned two things are most important: getting the opportunity and having a role model and mentor. Known for her compassion, keen listening, and astute observations, Tracy continues to find joy in supporting rising female school leaders and is grateful to those women who have done the same for her.


Professional Experience

  • Educators Collaborative – Partner, 2022 – Present
  • The Meridian School, Seattle, WA – Interim Head of School, 2021-2022
  • Seattle Waldorf School, Seattle, WA – Head of School, 2011-2020
  • Ian Symmonds Associates, Portland, OR – Partner, 2007-2011
  • Bertschi School, Seattle, WA – Director of Admission, 2003-2007
  • The Bush School, Seattle, WA – Director of Admission, 1996-2000
  • University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle, WA – Director of Development, 1994-1996
  • The Overlake School, Redmond, WA – Director of External Relations, 1991-1994
  • Seattle Preparatory School, Seattle, WA – History Instructor, 1985-1988
  • The Holderness School, Holderness, NH – English Instructor, 1981-1982



  • University of Washington, College of Education, 1994 – 1999, Master of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
  • Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, 1982 – 1984, Masters Studies, American Foreign Policy
  • Dartmouth College, 1977 – 1981, Bachelor of Arts, Government Major


Professional Affiliations

  • Bertschi School, Seattle, WA – Board of Trustees, 2016 – present
  • Forest Ridge School, Bellevue, WA – Board of Trustees, 2003-2011
  • NAIS Aspiring Heads Program, E. E. Ford Fellow, 2006 – 2007