Pilar Cabeza de Vaca

With a career spanning three continents in over forty years, Pilar’s experiences and strengths are varied in scope.  During her last headship at The Madeira School, an all girls’ 9-12 boarding/day school, she was a change agent.  She restructured the academic program, providing a new schedule to support best practice and enhance the existing internship program; she promoted interdisciplinary learning through a focus on science and technology; and she successfully led the largest capital campaign in the school’s history, raising $95 million over her ten-year tenure.

 

Pilar’s career in administration took off when she was appointed Director General of the largest private school in Ecuador, the American School of Quito, also her alma mater.  She honed her skills as a strong change agent, team builder and financial manager, and she introduced the IB program, getting it approved as an official option by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education.  Her career then led her to Paris, where she was the Head of the American School of Paris for eight years, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in the European circuit.  Pilar also served as the Executive Director of the European Council of International Schools, a membership organization providing professional development for schools spanning Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.

 

Throughout her career, Pilar has led a multitude of accreditation teams in Latin America, Europe, and US, with schools running from 62 to 5,000 students.  She has been a board member of several non-profits, including NAIS, where she also chaired the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Committee. She was elected worldwide to serve on the IB Council of Heads, and she chaired regional boards in Europe and Latin America.

Fluent in English, Spanish, and French, and with reading knowledge of Russian, Pilar has a unique insight and views on diversity, as well as a deep appreciation of the importance of inclusion in today’s society.

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

Education

  • Seattle Pacific University – Washington 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)

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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

Education

  • 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