August 21, 2013
To the Ransom Everglades Community:
I am thrilled to report that the Board of Trustees unanimously has appointed Stephanie (Penny) Townsend as our new Head of School, starting July 1, 2014. Penny has served as Head of The Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey, since 2006. Prior to that she established her distinguished career at The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, during a 23-year tenure in which she held several key positions. Penny impressed the Search Committee as a dynamic, thoughtful and strong leader, committed to carrying on Paul Ransom’s legacy and building on the foundation of greatness that Ellen Moceri has put in place. She is passionate about learning and shows a deep concern for every student as both an individual and part of a greater whole.
Penny grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1979 with a degree in History, specializing in Latin American studies, and a minor in Spanish Literature. She holds a Masters in Spanish Language and Literature from Middlebury College. Before heading to Taft, Penny returned to her high school alma mater, Northfield Mount Hermon School, in Mount Hermon, Massachusetts, as a Spanish teacher. While at Taft, she taught Spanish and coached the JV girls’ ice hockey and soccer teams. She later became Dean of the Upper Middle Class (juniors), Head of the Department of Modern Languages, Director of the Taft Summer School, and, finally, spent five years as Dean of the Faculty. Penny has made her mark at Pennington by focusing on academic improvements and putting together a master plan for a capital campaign to renovate and remake the campus. She also continues to teach Spanish 5. Penny is currently the Vice Chair of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools and recently completed the prestigious Klingenstein Head of School Fellowship at Columbia University. Penny and her husband Michael have two grown children and one grandson.
Penny’s appointment reflects the culmination of a process that started last winter with the appointment of an 11-member Search Committee representing all areas of our community. The Committee worked diligently with the assistance of the executive search firm Spencer Stuart, who identified more than 400 prospects both in the United States and overseas. Ultimately, the Committee invited seven candidates to Miami in June. After a second round of in-person interviews, the Committee resoundingly and unanimously agreed upon the decision to recommend Penny.
We are fortunate to proceed under Ellen Moceri’s expert leadership through the 2013-14 year. For more than a decade, she has guided us forward with an eye toward the public purpose of a private institution. Ransom Everglades has grown into a nationally recognized school with students who live out our mission to serve others each day, and the result is our ability to attract someone with Penny’s stature to continue that remarkable tradition.
We look forward to joining you in welcoming Penny and Mike Townsend to the Ransom Everglades community and to working with them to carry on our legacy of Honor and Excellence.
Jeffrey Miller '79
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
The Board also wants to recognize the work of the Search Committee whose dedication and effort produced such a great result. Please thank them when you see them.
|Eric Mendelson, Co Chair
||Jonathan Kislak, Co Chair
Carlos de la Cruz, Jr.
William Holly '86
John A. King, Jr.
Rudy Touzet '76