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Stephanie "Penny" Townsend, Head of School

Penny Townsend has served as the Head of School at Ransom Everglades since July 2014, bringing a visionary and creative approach to RE's programs and facilities along with core beliefs that emphasize global education, service-driven leadership, environmental stewardship, faculty excellence and community engagement. In her years at RE, she has already made her mark on the City of Miami as she has presided over the largest capital campaign – REinventing Excellence – in the school's history.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez named Nov. 1, 2018, “Stephanie ‘Penny’ Townsend Day,” crediting her for helping to “pave the way for other women to scale in the educational field.” She also received the “Women Honoring Women” award from Babson College and the Women Honors Committee, which recognized her efforts to open doors for others with her professional achievements, contributions to women’s progress and community service.

Mrs. Townsend arrived from the Pennington School in Princeton, N.J., where she became the first female head in the school’s 167-year history.

Before her appointment at Pennington, she held faculty and administrative positions during her 23 years at The Taft School in Watertown, Conn., including dean of faculty. Mrs. Townsend began her career in independent schools as a Spanish teacher, dorm parent and coach at her alma mater, The Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Townsend earned a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in history from the University of Connecticut, and a master’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Middlebury (Vt.) College Spanish School. Mrs. Townsend has traveled extensively across the globe, including to Spain for her college study abroad program, Colombia and Israel for visits to high schools and Asia for numerous trips.

Mrs. Townsend  served on the board of Trinity Counseling Services in Princeton, N.J.; as vice chair of the board of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools; and as a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University (2013). She was elected to membership in The Headmasters Association, The Country Day Schools Headmasters Association, The Headmistresses Association of the East, and most recently, the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Independent Schools.

Mrs. Townsend is married to J. Michael Townsend III, a faculty member at Ransom Everglades who teaches English. They have two children, Emily and Charlie; two grandchildren, Cameron and Caroline; and one rescue dog, Buoy.


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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.