Dr. Karen Warren Coleman Named Eugene McDermott Head of School


new-head-of-schoolOn Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, The Hockaday School officially announced Dr. Karen Warren Coleman as the Eugene McDermott Head of School. Coleman will commence her work as Hockaday’s 13th Head of School on July 1, 2017.

Coleman was the former Vice President for Campus and Student Life at the University of Chicago. At the University of Chicago, Coleman headed several campus departments and worked to create an inclusive campus community. Prior to this position, Coleman worked as the Associate Dean of Students at the University of California, Berkeley. There, she worked to develop policies in the area of student services.

In November 2015, Hockaday’s Head of School Search Committee announced its efforts to identify the next Head of School in conjunction with its announcement of Liza Lee’s continuation as Interim Eugene McDermott Head of School for the 2016 to 2017 school year. According to a letter published by the committee, Carney Sandoe & Associates, “the oldest and largest nationally-recognized search firm for independent schools,” was used to guide the Search Committee’s work.

Chair of the Search Committee Michelle Neuhoff Thomas ‘83 believes that Coleman’s extensive background in education will allow her to bring significant insight and experience to Hockaday. In the Head of School announcement posted on the Hockaday website, Thomas said, “Karen is uniquely qualified to lead our School to ensure it continues to provide the exceptional opportunities that define the Hockaday experience.”

Chair of the Board of Trustees David J. Haemisegger cited Coleman’s love of learning as an invaluable asset to the school. In the announcement statement, Haemisegger said, “Smart, articulate, warm, and caring, she will be a positive role model for our girls and a vibrant collaborator with our faculty.”

Coleman received her doctorate in education at the University of Pennsylvania, her master’s in education at the University of Vermont, and her bachelor of arts in psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband Andy who, like her, is an avid traveler.

On Friday, Nov. 11, Upper School students were given the chance to meet Coleman at the Daisies and Donuts event, which took place in the Biggs Dining Hall from 7:55 to 8:25 a.m. There, students ate sweet treats and spoke with Coleman on a variety of topics, ranging from the proactive culture at Hockaday to memorable traditions such as senior Halloween.

– Elizabeth Guo – Copy Editor –