Head of School Search

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April 22, 2021

Dear Members of the Westridge Community,

Andrea Kassar

We are excited to inform you that the Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the appointment of Andrea Kassar, current head of Upper School at The Nightingale-Bamford School in Manhattan, as our new head of school, effective upon Elizabeth McGregor’s retirement on July 1, 2022.
 
When the Search Committee embarked on the mission of finding a worthy successor to Liz, we canvassed the Westridge community for your views on what makes Westridge special, the areas where we need to focus in the years ahead, and the personal and professional characteristics you believe are most important in our next head of school. The most remarkable aspect of your responses was the alignment across our community. Students, parents, faculty, staff, alumnae, and trustees all stressed the same priorities—we all want a visionary thought leader who will sustain academic excellence while promoting social-emotional wellbeing, who will be a strong and committed advocate for DEI and anti-racism work, an inspirational communicator, and an effective fundraiser. These common goals energized and directed the work of our search consultants and the Search Committee over these past several months. We are delighted, and grateful, to have found in Andrea Kassar a leader who exemplifies these characteristics and whose experience and personal vision perfectly aligns with Westridge’s priorities.
 
The feedback from the community after meeting with Andrea overwhelmingly reflects the commonality of our vision for Westridge and the conclusion that Andrea is the person to lead our school. The outpouring of support for Andrea—across all constituencies that make up our community—was remarkable. So many of you shared deep and thoughtful responses to our survey, praising Andrea’s intellect, compassion, sense of joy, vision, and strength. Among the most moving were comments from current students, who captured with passion not only Andrea’s compelling attributes, but also the essence of Westridge: 

  • From our student interview with Andrea Kassar, I believe that she is exactly what Westridge's future needs to accomplish its goal as the thought-leader of girls' schools and an institution that fosters growth, intelligence, passion, and impact in our students.
  • She is clearly a very intentional listener, and her full response to my question was so meaningful to me that I almost started crying because I had been heard so clearly by her.
  • Westridge has a wonderful opportunity to embrace not only progress and equality, but a person with a vibrant passion for instilling students with knowledge, confidence, and conviction.
  • Kassar is perfect. ... She answered every part of every question thoughtfully and honestly. She clearly prioritizes student voices, DEI work, and self-growth. She is charismatic and kind and didn't sound scripted/rehearsed. I loved her so much!

Westridge faculty and staff were equally impressed by Andrea:

  • I found Andrea to be smart, genuine, sharp, thoughtful, and forward-thinking. She conveys both confidence and humility, and I observed her to be just solid—both grounded and optimistic.
  • This is a candidate who appreciates and values girls' education. She is going to bring experience and vision to Westridge.
  • Andrea has a calm, warm and welcoming demeanor. She navigates fluidly through hard topics while maintaining a fundamental posture of care for the individual. She feels like someone who can garner support from and develop relationships across all community groups. Her idea of "no difference between academics and pastoral care" is spot on for our strategic DEI goals. She brings a global perspective from personal history. She had pertinent and logical responses to every question, there were no wasted words.
  • She has the intellect, the experience, and the understanding of how girls' schools work. She has the charisma, and flair to be a Head of School. Also, she was REAL.… [S]he answered ALL of the questions FROM THE HEART.

We received dozens of similar comments from parents, alumnae, administrators, and trustees. Viewed together, the Search Committee was left with no doubt that Andrea connected in a deep way with our community during the selection process and is the right person to lead us into the future.
 
Pledging her unequivocal support, Liz will be working with Andrea and members of the Westridge Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees over the next 14 months to ensure a seamless transition so that Andrea can hit the ground running in July 2022.
 
Thank you for the tremendous community participation in this important process for Westridge. In case you were not able to take part, you may read Andrea’s biography here. We would like to acknowledge the outsized efforts and contribution of fellow members of the Search Committee—Darrell Banta ’77, Holly Bowyer, Akila Gibbs, and Don Morgan—and express our sincere gratitude to the entire community for your engagement and support in making this mission a success for Westridge.
 
Very truly yours,


Richard Fung
Chair, Board of Trustees


Marc Harris
Chair, Search Committee 

Andrea Kassar's Full Bio

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