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Dr. Catherine J. Hall Installed as Seventh Head of Nobles

Dr. Catherine J. Hall was officially installed as head of Noble and Greenough School on October 2, 2017, in the Rappaport Gymnasium in the Morrison Athletic Center on campus.

Participants in the celebration included Beth Reilly ’87, president of the Nobles Board of Trustees; T.J. Locke, head of school at Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia; School Life Council co-presidents Emma Majernik and Uche Ndukwe, both ’18; Madi Shaer and Arnav Harve, both ’23, and representing Nobles’ youngest students in Class VI; faculty members Nick Nickerson and Deb Harrison; former Nobles heads of school Dick Baker and Bob Henderson; Greensleeves and Nobleonians singers, under the direction of Michael Turner; and Bobby Strzetelski ’21, who performed “Hail to Nobles.”

Reilly welcomed guests and shared her excitement for Hall’s leadership. She traced the school’s history to the present, noting the hallmarks of each headship. “Dr. Hall’s chapter has yet to be written,” Reilly said. “A hallmark of Nobles' history has been that at each key moment in transition, Nobles has always chosen the right person at the right time. The board of trustees knows that to be true in the appointment of you, Dr. Hall, as Nobles' seventh head of school.

“Your winning combination of smarts, character, intuition, humility, compassion and humor has been evident to all who have met you.” (Read Reilly’s full remarks here.)

Locke, who is head of school at Episcopal Academy, where Hall formerly served as assistant head, delivered the keynote, honoring his friend and former colleague.

“If you have ever read the position description for the head of a prestigious independent school, you know that we are searching far and wide for superheroes,” said Locke. “I am honored to share with you that I think you have found one of those rare leaders in your new head of school, Dr. Cathy Hall.

“As her friend, I am just so proud of her. As an educator, I am giddy with excitement to see what she will accomplish here." (Read Locke's full remarks here.)

Hall also addressed the audience, sharing the story of another new head, Charles Wiggins, who optimistically assumed the role, then soon after approached the board with a bold option for the future: the purchase of land with a Castle in Dedham, Massachusetts—the property that since 1922 has remained the home of Nobles.

“This turning point would set the tone for Nobles’ story over the next hundred years,” Hall said in her remarks to the assembled students, faculty, staff, and members of the Nobles Board of Trustees, “and it would serve as an important moment in our school’s inspiring history book.

“As I begin my headship, and as we look ahead to Nobles’ next hundred years, I am mindful of three guiding principles I believe we need to keep very clearly in our sights.” The three principles that she identified are: remember, embrace and aspire.

“Aspiration embodies the essence of our mission. Leadership for the public good is deeply dependent upon an aspirational approach to learning and living. Our mission speaks of ‘motivating students to achieve their highest potential and to lead lives characterized by service to others.’ Leading and serving in this increasingly complex world necessitates a growth mindset, one that is agile, empathetic, resilient, inquisitive and relentlessly focused on improvement. “ (Read Hall's full remarks here.)

Hall was named as Nobles’ seventh head of school and officially assumed the role in July 2017, upon the retirement of Robert P. Henderson, Jr. ’76.

She brings more than 20 years of experience in education to her work at Nobles. She served as assistant head of school at The Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, where she was part of the leadership team since 2004. At Episcopal, her leadership 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 was a classroom teacher of upper school English courses and coached the varsity girls’ soccer team. Hall earned a bachelor’s in economics from Princeton University. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Virginia. Hall lives on campus in Summe House on campus with her children Evelyn, Thomas and Matthew. In addition to her children, members of Hall’s family in attendance at the installation included her siblings and parents. Seven area heads of school also joined Nobles for the celebration.

Also attending the installation were current and former members of the board, including past presidents Bob Lawrence ’44, Bob Morrison ’49, Bob Bland ’58, Fred Clifford ’54 and Jeff Grogan ’74.

As head of school, Hall succeeds Henderson, who retired after 17 years. Previous heads of school at Nobles also include Richard "Dick" H. Baker (1987–2000), Edward "Ted" S. Gleason (1971–1987), Eliot T. Putnam (1943–1971), Charles Wiggins 2nd (1920–1943) and George Washington Copp Noble (1866–1920). The installation service was held as Nobles began its 152nd school year. Hall is the first female head of school in the history of Nobles.

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Dr. Catherine J. Hall Installed as Seventh Head of Nobles