PITTSFIELD -- A new Head of School for Miss Hall's School in Pittsfield has been selected. Julia Nakano Heaton will take charge of the private girl's boarding school on July 1.
Heaton will replace Mary Grant, who took over as interim Head of School last July after former Head of School Margaret A. "Peggy" Jablonski left due to a family emergency.
Heaton is presently employed as the director of admissions at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City. She previously worked at The Chapin School, Manhattan Country School and Prep for Prep.
Barbara Cooperman, a past graduate of Miss Hall's School, who headed the search committee, said Heaton would help the school in a time of growth, while transitioning into "21st century learning."
Heaton, she said, reflected the school's four values of respect, honor, growth and authenticity, and its mission of living life with a purpose.
"She has a very deep and very strong academic experience," Cooperman said. "She has a personal commitment to diversity and global community."
A native of Massachusetts, Heaton began her teaching career in rural Kenya before moving to New York.
She will also be looked to during a potential time of expansion at the school, with new facilities being planned. The school's enrollment has grown in recent years, Cooperman said.
"I am incredibly thrilled and honored to have been chosen as the next head of Miss Hall's School," Ms. Heaton was quoted as saying in a prepared statement. "I have had the privilege of attending and working in schools with rich and rigorous curricula, students who strive to excel, and dedicated faculty who are scholars in their fields. It is my firm belief that school should not be simply informative; it must be transformative. I see my role as fostering a culture where every student is inspired to extend her inquiry far beyond the classroom walls, where each assembly and co-curricular activity is relevant to her future as a global citizen, and where every individual feels valued, heard, and instrumental to the present and future of the school."
Heaton holds a bachelor's degree in American Studies, with a concentration in African-American History, from Yale University. She also has a master's degree in Educational Leadership from Columbia University Teachers College.
Before being named as Head of School, Grant served for one year as academic dean. That followed her retirement as an administrator from the Ellis School in Pittsburgh.
"The school is wonderful. It's been a fabulous place to be," Grant said. She said the school was constantly innovating, embarking on programs like Horizons, which sends students on internships to 40 sites around Berkshire County.
The school, Grant said, also has an international flavor. Of the school's 206 students, 23 are from other countries. A boarding school, approximately 75 percent of the students at Miss Hall's School stay in dorms.
The other quarter live in the county.
"I am confident that Julia will enjoy herself here," Grant said.
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