News Archive

RE announces new Head of Upper School

Penny Townsend
Dear Members of the Ransom Everglades Community,

I am pleased to introduce Patricia Sasser, who will assume the role of Head of the Upper School at the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year. Patricia will replace Kenneth S. Mills, who is departing Ransom Everglades to become Head of School at the Gifft Hill School in St. John, V.I. We will miss Ken’s contributions as a scientist, teacher and administrator, but we are very excited to welcome Patricia to our team.
Patricia has most recently served at The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Conn., where she is dean of the senior class overseeing the academic, extracurricular and social experiences of more than 200 students. She also worked at The Madeira School, an all-girls school in McLean, Va., that includes students from 14 countries, where she was assistant dean of students for residential life and student activities. Her colleagues applaud her work ethic, collegiality and principled and thoughtful engagement with the full range of constituents.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Ransom Everglades community,” Patriciawrote to me this week. “From the moment I stepped on campus, I felt welcomed. I was struck by the warmth of the community and inspired by the faculty’s dedication to the students. I immediately knew that Ransom Everglades was a match not only because of its commitment to academic excellence, but also because of how it truly embraces its mission of producing graduates who will leave the world a better place. It’s an honor to be invited to serve as the next Head of the Upper School and I look forward to getting to know each member of the community."
A daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service officer, Patricia grew up in Washington, D.C., Nigeria, Haiti, Niger and other U.S. cities where she learned adaptability and cultural competence, and developed passions for meeting new people and taking on new challenges. RE students took to her immediately when she visited our campus; she exudes energy, curiosity and compassion.
In recent weeks, I have gotten to know Patricia very well, and she has shared with me her educational philosophy. Her vision aligns beautifully with ours. “We must continue to provide students with opportunities not only to apply their learning in the classroom, but also to turn their experiences into action in this ever-changing world,” she explained. “In the pursuit of excellence and one’s personal best, students should continue to develop a greater understanding of how they learn, their strengths, their vulnerabilities, and realize that a misstep does not have to be a complete derailment, but can be a path to a deeper learning experience.”
At Loomis Chaffee, Patricia led the development of the school’s first Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan. She has taught freshman seminars on the common good, public speaking and diversity, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. She also has served on the board of Grace Academy, an independent, inter-faith, tuition-free middle school for girls from underserved families in Hartford, Conn., and on the editorial board of DiversityIS magazine, a publication highlighting the efforts of independent schools to increase diversity equity, inclusion and access for students and employees.
Patricia previously worked as major gifts officer at The Madeira School, a job that honed her relational skills; a special assistant to the head at Madeira on diversity; and an associate producer at ESPN in Bristol, Conn. She attended The Madeira School before earning two undergraduate degrees in English and African-American Studies at the University of Virginia and her master of arts in Education and Human Development at The George Washington University.
I want to thank our diligent search committee members Jean Duty, Rachel Rodriguez, John King and Doug Heller '80, whose work throughout this process has been invaluable.
Please join me in offering a warm welcome to Patricia, her husband Wyatt and their 10-year-old son Pierce to Ransom Everglades. I can’t wait for her to join our team in July.
Best Regards,

Penny Townsend
Head of School
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Middle School2045 South Bayshore DriveTel: 305-250-6850
Upper School3575 Main HighwayTel: 305-460-8800
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.