SPS Today: Rector, Interim Rector Named
School names Kathleen Carroll Giles as Fourteenth Rector; Amy C. Richards to serve as Interim Rector for 2018-19 school year
On July 30, Board President Archibald Cox, Jr. ’58 announced the appointment of Kathleen Carroll Giles as the Fourteenth Rector of St. Paul’s School.
Since January, the Search Committee has worked hard to identify the best possible candidate to lead the School at this important time and, in Giles, St. Paul’s has selected a woman of impeccable credentials who will lead and inspire the School in the next chapter of its history. The announcement came one week after Cox shared the July 23 news that the Board of Trustees has chosen Amy C. Richards to serve as Interim Rector for the 2018-19 academic year. In appointing Richards to the post, the board recognized her distinct skill set and outstanding leadership qualities. Giles, who has served as head of Middlesex School since 2003, is passionate about boarding school life. She was previously a longtime faculty member at Groton School, serving in a range of administrative and educational roles, including dean of academic affairs, college adviser, English teacher, coach, and dorm parent. She holds her M.Ed., J.D., and undergraduate degrees from Harvard.
Throughout her administrative career, Giles has taught English, and her connection to the classroom has informed her student-centered leadership. During her tenure, Giles has overseen the launch of new curricular initiatives and shepherded the building of a new center for the visual arts and a renovated theater complex. Middlesex also has completed a successful capital campaign under her leadership. Giles is, above all, a thoughtful educator and a student of schools, noting that academic institutions should “stretch and learn and grow, just as we ask of our students when they come to us.” Active in a number of professional associations and organizations, Giles brings a welcome combination of experience and perspective to St. Paul’s that will be of great benefit to us all.
“Our schools,” she said, “create extraordinary opportunities for young people to grow up surrounded by people who are talented, courageous, from different backgrounds and different parts of the country and the world, and there has never been a better time to grow up learning to respect, value, and, indeed, learn from people with different perspectives and stories. The healthy-culture work we are doing throughout our society is long overdue; it is both difficult and critically important work to do well. I look forward to being part of the ongoing effort to create and sustain a safe, stimulating environment in which superb teaching, learning, and growing thrive at St. Paul’s.” Giles will join the SPS community in July 2019 with her husband, Ralph, a career teacher and administrator, who most recently served as head of the Mathematics Department at the Fenn School. They have three grown children, Kaitlyn, Daniel, and Eileen. Giles is also devoted to her dogs, who will join her for early morning walks through Millville. A lifelong athlete and an avid sports fan, Giles played basketball and ice hockey at Harvard and has coached girls ice hockey, basketball, field hockey, and crew. Her other interests and hobbies include music, theater, gardening, and reading, with a particular interest in child and adolescent development, organizational psychology, curriculum and learning styles, poetry, and fiction.
“It is the unanimous view of the board that Kathy is exactly the leader St. Paul’s needs at this moment in our history,” Cox wrote in a letter to the School community. “She has the skills and experience to continue developing our educational model, with a focus on building an inclusive, strong living and learning community for everyone.” Cox noted that Giles has a solid foundation on which to build and will work closely with Interim Rector Amy Richards to ensure that work continues through this transition year.
Richards, who was most recently head of the Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, Calif., an independent school for children in grades six through 12, assumes the interim role, following the June 30, 2018, retirement of Thirteenth Rector Michael G. Hirschfeld ’85. Her term begins on August 1, 2018, and runs through June 30, 2019, when Giles will take over in her permanent role. “I look forward to returning to an area of the country I know well and to serving a school community that I love and respect in this capacity,” said Richards, who previously served on the SPS faculty from 1984 to 1994. “Although this is a temporary assignment, I recognize this is an important time for St. Paul’s School and will work to provide steady and transparent leadership for the school year. My priority will be on ensuring that our current students receive the best possible education while continuing the excellent progress the School has made in strengthening its residential life and academic curricula in recent years.”
Richards’s qualifications include a distinguished career outside the region and deep roots in both New Hampshire and St. Paul’s School. She attended Concord High School and earned both her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of New Hampshire in science and in mathematics for teachers, respectively. She rejoins the School community following 14 years as head of the Crystal Springs Uplands School. Her multi-faceted career in education includes administrative responsibilities as dean of students at Riverdale Country School in Riverdale, N.Y., and as head of the upper school at The Spence School in New York, N.Y. Richards is a current member of the Headmasters Association and is a former member of the board at the Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School and the Sea Crest School. She also served on the editorial board of Independent School magazine.
At St. Paul’s, Richards was a member of the mathematics faculty for a decade (1984-94). She also served for a year (1994) as director of the School’s Advanced Studies Program, the five-and-a-half-week summer educational intensive for promising public and parochial New Hampshire high school students. “We are delighted that Amy will serve in this important role, helping us to steward St. Paul’s through this transition while continuing to move the School forward,” said Cox, the board president. “Her leadership and knowledge of the School will ensure that she hits the ground running as we begin the new academic year.”
In the coming months, there will be opportunities to welcome both Giles and Richards to the School.