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Academic Vision

Dougherty Named Head of The Island School

Dear Derryfield Families,
I am proud to announce that Ben Dougherty, Upper School Head, has been named Head of School at the Island School in the Bahamas, starting July 1, 2020. While it is hard to see a dynamic, well-loved member of our community move on, I am delighted for Ben, who is realizing a dream he brought with him to Derryfield six years ago. When he was hired, I agreed to help prepare him for headship. For an independent school, it is considered a sign of strength to both promote talented colleagues to leadership and to launch them to lead other schools, shaped by the Derryfield way and culture. Ben’s success in this search reflects the experience he has had at Derryfield; a message from him appears below.
Ben will stay through the end of the school year, and a search committee has been formed to find his successor. I will chair the committee, which includes: Associate Head of School Susan Grodman, Dean of Faculty Peter Brandt, Performing Arts Department Chair Bill Westenberg, English Department Chair Laurie Byron, Science Department Chair Mary Ann Watt, math teacher Peter Talpey, and eleventh grade student leaders Christopher Lynch and Ellie Small. We have engaged a national search firm to identify candidates and assist us in this endeavor. 
Here are ways you can help. First, please share your thoughts and advice on the qualities and skills you would value in the next Upper School Head by replying to this message. Second, please spread the word to stellar candidates and direct them to the job posting, which will soon appear on the Derryfield website. 
Please join me in congratulating Ben on his new position. 
Mary Halpin Carter, Ph.D. P’13, P’16, P’18
Head of School
A Message From Ben Dougherty, Upper School Head
I had anticipated being at Derryfield for several more years and was excited about that prospect, but an opportunity arose that will allow my family and me to pursue one of our dreams. 
The year I started at Derryfield, I was in the middle of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Aspiring Heads fellowship, and right from the very beginning Dr. Carter committed to helping me grow as a school leader and to be prepared for whatever opportunity might lie ahead. I have worked with some of the most talented educators and school leaders I have ever known over the past six years here at Derryfield and have learned so much from each of them. I have always said that I would only be interested in being a Head of School someday if it was the right school. The Cape Eleuthera Island School (CEIS) is the right school! CEIS is a pre-k through post graduate educational ecosystem of sorts. It is on the remote end of an island in the Atlantic and it utilizes its unique position in the world to focus on education, research, and the environment. Throughout its divisions, there are about 250 students enrolled each year with an additional eight hundred or more students coming throughout the year for shorter programs like gap years, internships, summer programs, or short courses like the one that Derryfield students have participated in. 
This new challenge has in many ways been a long-term dream of my wife, Laura, and mine. We worked at the Island School in our mid twenties and have remained connected to the school, including bringing Derryfield students there as part of our global program. This chapter will be an incredible adventure for our family and, as science faculty member Chris Little inspired us to do at Monday’s community meeting, we are going to “hold fast” to our dreams and make this adventure happen for our family. 
I am proud of all that Derryfield has accomplished in these past six years and excited for what lies ahead. Leaving Derryfield in the midst of such an inspiring time and saying goodbye to my students, colleagues, and all of the incredible families that I have worked with makes this next step bittersweet. Thank you all for your kindness, your friendship, and for our collective commitment to raising and educating young people in such a genuine and heartfelt way. 
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