PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The board of trustees and the Head of School Search Committee of Miss Hall's School have selected Julia Nakano Heaton as the 11th head of chool, effective July 1, 2014.
Heaton is an educator that school officials say will bring considerable administrative experience and a passion for girls' education to her role at Miss Hall's. She is director of admissions at Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City and has been a member of the faculty and administration since 2004. Heaton has also previously held faculty positions at The Chapin School, Manhattan Country School and Prep for Prep.
She said she was "incredibly thrilled and honored" to be chosen.
"In my life, 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," she said. "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 holds a master's Educational Leadership from Columbia University Teachers College. Since being appointed director of admissions at the New York school in 2010, she has increased enrollment, expanded the school's communication and advertising efforts and served on the marketing and strategic planning committees of the school's board. In addition to her position as an English teacher, Heaton has served in several administrative roles, including 11th Grade dean, academic dean and acting high school principal. She also continues to teach one English elective each year, advise senior projects, and offer courses in the adult education extension program.
"Ms. Heaton's credentials, experience, and values make her the ideal candidate to build on Miss Hall's School's highly regarded foundation and to lead the school into its next era of strategic growth and educational innovation," said Stacey K. Sotirhos, president of the MHS Board of Trustees and a member of the class of 1989.
Trustee Barbara Cooperman, a member of the class of 1973 and chairman of the Head of School Search Committee, said Heaton's experience aligned with the school's mission and values.
"She is also particularly well positioned to lead our school at this time, while we increase our student body, further develop our academic and student life programs, and expand campus teaching and learning spaces," said Cooperman.
A native of Massachusetts, Heaton's career in education began in rural Kenya, where she taught in a two-room schoolhouse. After moving to New York City, she worked with children in a variety of independent educational settings — first as a kindergarten associate at Manhattan Country School, then as an upper school teacher, drama director, and class supervisor at the Chapin School. She also was a research and history instructor at Prep for Prep and was selected as a member of the inaugural cohort of the New York State Association of Independent Schools' Emerging Leadership Institute, a two-year leadership development program that she completed in August 2013.
Heaton is the third head of school for Miss Hall's in as many years. She replaces Margaret A. Jablonski, who left after one year because of personal matters. Previously, Head of School Jeannie Norris left in June 2012 after 16 years in the post.
The search committee was aided in its work by the executive search firm of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates.
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