SPS Today: Hirschfeld to Leave the School

Rector Will Step Down After 2018-19 School Year

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In morning Chapel on January 4, 2018, Thirteenth Rector Mike Hirschfeld ’85 announced that the 2018-19 academic year will be his last at the School. 

“Liesbeth and I are grateful beyond words for our 23 years at the School,” Hirschfeld wrote in a message to alumni and parents that morning, saying his family will always consider St. Paul’s home. “We have found the work of helping young people learn and grow in this unique environment remarkably fulfilling and energizing. What we could never have anticipated was the warmth and strength of this community.” Board President Archibald Cox, Jr. ’58 also addressed alumni in an e-mail, praising Hirschfeld for his years of service in many capacities and sharing that he will “miss his wide and courageous leadership.” 

Hirschfeld, joined the St. Paul’s School faculty in 1994. He has taught history and humanities (1999-2003) and served as associate director of college advising (1999- 2003), director of admissions (2003-06), vice rector for enrollment and communications (2006-07), and vice rector for external affairs (2007-11). He began his career in education at the Kent School, where he taught history and was assistant director of admissions (1990-94). He also was a coach of the SPS crew program for many years. He was named to succeed William R. Matthews, Jr. ’61 as the School’s Thirteenth Rector on November 19, 2010, at which time he committed to an eight-year term. 

Mr. Hirschfeld is one of the most articulate and thoughtful human beings I have ever known. It’s going to be such a loss having him leave.
— Yebin Won ’18

During his years as Rector, Cox wrote, Hirschfeld has overseen major advancements in meeting the mission of the School, among them the expansion and integration of campus facilities, a transformation in academic professionalism, and very significant enhancement of the community culture, while at the same time having to deal with unprecedented challenges on numerous fronts. He added that the trustees will soon begin planning for the transition, with significant input from the School community. 

“Leaving the School would be more difficult if I did not know these truths,” Hirschfeld wrote. “The School is absolutely on the right trajectory in all things that relate to educating and caring for young people; there are extraordinary people here – talented students from across the globe and faculty and staff who are wholly devoted to advancing our mission; and the time is right for new leadership. A recurring lesson I have learned in my time at the School is that no one person is irreplaceable, including the Rector.” 

 “The School is absolutely on the right trajectory in all things that relate to educating and caring for young people; there are extraordinary people here – talented students from across the globe and faculty and staff who are wholly devoted to advancing our mission; and the time is right for new leadership. A recurring lesson I have learned in my time at the School is that no one person is irreplaceable, including the Rector.”   – Mike Hirschfeld ’85

“The School is absolutely on the right trajectory in all things that relate to educating and caring for young people; there are extraordinary people here – talented students from across the globe and faculty and staff who are wholly devoted to advancing our mission; and the time is right for new leadership. A recurring lesson I have learned in my time at the School is that no one person is irreplaceable, including the Rector.”

– Mike Hirschfeld ’85