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Catherine J. Hall Appointed Seventh Head of School

On September 23, 2016, the Noble and Greenough School Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Dr. Catherine J. Hall as Nobles’ seventh head of school. The nearly yearlong international search culminated with unanimous recommendation of the search committee and unanimous vote of the board to appoint Hall, whose leadership will begin July 1, 2017.

Hall will succeed Robert P. Henderson, Jr. ’76, who announced in November 2015 that he would conclude his headship in June 2017. Upon retirement, Henderson will have served 17 years with distinction and presided over the graduation of nearly 2,000 alumni. The coming year will feature a number of occasions to celebrate Henderson’s extraordinary service to the school and express the community’s gratitude for his leadership.

Hall will assume leadership at the beginning of the school’s 152nd year. She brings more than 20 years of experience in education to her work at Nobles. She is currently assistant head of school at The Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, where she has been part of the leadership team since 2004. At Episcopal, her leadership has touched all areas of the school, including curriculum development, strategic planning, enrollment, technology, financial sustainability and professional development for faculty. She also coordinated the design and implementation of a two-week interdisciplinary program, JTerm, for upper school students and created a summer innovation institute, the Hirtle Summer Program for Innovative Schools, for educators. In addition, Hall has been a classroom teacher of upper school English courses and coached the varsity girls’ soccer team.

“Cathy Hall is a school person through and through,” says Scott Freeman ’81, board member and chair of the search committee. “The combination of skills and experience that she presents is exceptional.

“She understands finance, technology, innovation and complex strategic issues, and she also has a track record of being collaborative, inclusive and thorough in the full range of work she has done—everything from teaching English to bringing together educators from around the country.”

Hall earned a bachelor’s in economics from Princeton University. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Virginia. Beyond her contributions to Episcopal Academy, she has taught at the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies and presented regularly at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where she has also served as a mentor in the Master’s in Educational Leadership program for four years.

Hall has published numerous articles, including pieces on standardized testing, innovation and other topics in Independent School magazine and for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. She has presented at numerous National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conferences and consulted with schools on technology and program evaluation. She has also served on boards including the Chester (Pennsylvania) County Intermediate Unit and the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS).

“Nobles is uniquely poised to do unbelievable things,” says Hall. “Nobles has clarity of identity, but it also looks constantly for ways to reflect and improve. It’s aspirational. Nobles is also a place with excellent educators. That’s the ingredient you need to do almost anything else you want to do—you bring smart people around the table to think big and bold.”

Beth Reilly ‘87, president of the Board of Trustees, shares Hall’s optimism about the next chapter in the school’s history. “It’s incredibly exciting to think about Nobles’ future under Cathy’s leadership,” says Reilly. “We are well-positioned to build on our strengths and examine ways in which we can improve. In a deep pool of highly qualified candidates, it became crystal clear that Cathy is the right person to engage us in those discussions and lead our community.”

Hall speaks passionately about her connections with students and faculty members as central to her leadership and way of working. “The joyfulness of Nobles resonates for me and is something that is very palpable when you step on campus,” she says. “Anyone you talk to who has any connection at all to Nobles speaks about it joyfully. That speaks volumes for the passion the school inspires in people who know it. They’re passionate about it for a reason, and that’s something that’s really exciting for me.”

Hall will move to campus with her three children, Evelyn (5), Thomas (7) and Matthew (9), in July 2017. “I’m excited to be moving to Boston. As an East Coast native, I have a lot of family living in the Northeast, and I look forward to hosting them at Nobles. I’m also thrilled to introduce my children to this remarkable community that we will call home for years to come.”

 

 

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