Ashley Hall Head of School Search | Charleston, South Carolina

Head of School Search

Ashley Hall's Mission | Charleston, South Carolina

Ashley Hall will soon begin a national search for a new Head of School to lead our 113-year institution, a preeminent school for girls in the region and the nation.  Please reference this page for all updates on this important and exciting transition for Ashley Hall.

Communication

Ashley Hall Board of Trustees Announces Anne T. Weston ’73 to Serve as Head of School through 2025

April 19, 2022
Dear Members of Our Ashley Hall Community,
The Board of Trustees is pleased to update you on our progress in Ashley Hall’s leadership transition as we prepare for an exciting new chapter for our School.
Over the past months, we have carefully assessed the market, scope, and process for a professional, national search for Head of School. As I shared in December, of paramount importance to us is a thoughtful approach that fully explores our possibilities and engages parents, families, supporters, alumnae, students, and faculty in imagining Ashley Hall’s remarkable future.

 

To ensure we have ample time for an ambitious and inclusive search, we are delighted to announce that Dr. Anne Thornhill Weston has been named Head of School through June 30, 2024. Our goal is to have the next long-term Head of School in place by July 1, 2024, with Anne continuing in an important leadership role through at least 2025. Should our search take longer, Anne will continue to lead to ensure that Ashley Hall attracts, finds, and seats the ideal candidate to take our School into the years ahead.
Those of you who know Anne understand how committed she is to our School, and how fortunate we are to have someone with her experience, stature, and humanity leading Ashley Hall. The Board is confident in her steady and strategic leadership to guide our community as we embrace the promise and potential of this moment and the years ahead.

 

Beyond her impressive credentials, Anne is a warm and accessible leader, alumna (Class of 1973), and spirited participant in the traditions of Ashley Hall. Whether sailing with students on the Offshore Leadership Program, running our flag up and down the volleyball court, or breaking into hits from the ‘80s with faculty at an impromptu dance party, she embodies the Ashley Hall spirit.

 

To be sure, Anne is also an educator of the highest order. She joined Ashley Hall as Assistant Head of School in July 2015 and was named Director of Upper School in 2018. Previously she served in a variety of posts at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, South Carolina, as teacher, Intermediate School and Upper School Principal, Assistant Head, Director of Advancement and Alumni Engagement, Provost, and Interim Head of School. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Duke University and a Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in Biology and a Doctorate in Public Health, both from the University of South Carolina. Together with colleagues, she has helped champion important curricular improvements and the strengthening of vital wellness programs in Ashley Hall’s Upper School, while celebrating an expanding record of student scholarship and college placements.

 

As we head into a busy spring season, we remain deeply grateful to Jill Muti for the host of transformative milestones she has orchestrated over 18 years as Head of School at Ashley Hall, and for her dedication to a successful transition, already underway, as she prepares for her new role as Head of School at St. Stephen’s School in Rome, Italy.

 

To appropriately honor Jill and support Ashley Hall during this transition, the Board has established a best-practice structure led by three teams of dedicated Trustees contributing complementary skills and experiences:
  • Our Celebration Committee, leading plans to honor Jill’s tremendous contributions to Ashley Hall;
  • Our Transition Committee, working closely with Jill and Anne to ensure a seamless transition to Anne’s new role on July 1, 2022; ongoing stability for our faculty, students and families; and, ultimately, the coordinated and successful on-boarding of our next long-term Head of School; and
  • Our Search Committee, beginning in the fall to conduct the due diligence and outreach to executive search firms foundational to a rigorous and inclusive process.
In closing, I want to thank both Jill and Anne for their leadership and dedication to Ashley Hall and congratulate Anne on the acknowledgment of her essential role in Ashley Hall’s past, present, and future.
Thank you for all you do to make our School and community a place of inspiration and achievement for girls and young women. We remain steadfast in our commitment to you as we lay the path for the next generation of Ashley Hall.
In dedication to the Ashley Hall community,
Anne Frances Bleecker ’76
Chair, Ashley Hall Board of Trustees

From Board of Trustees Chair Anne Frances Bleecker ’76 | December 15, 2021


December 15, 2021

Dear Members of Our Ashley Hall Community:

Jill Muti has long understood the importance of empowering girls to think independently, champion their own education at each stage of their development, and prepare to lead confident and ethically responsible lives. Because of her vision and leadership, the last two decades at our treasured, century-old institution have been a time of imaginative thinking, profound growth, and enduring strength.

I write to announce that Jill Muti will leave her position as Ashley Hall’s Head of School at the end of this school year. With the fulfillment of her strategic vision complete, Jill has decided, and we agreed, the time is right to move toward the next phase of her career. Toward that end, Jill will assume a new role as Head of School at St. Stephen’s School, an American day and boarding International Baccalaureate World School located in Rome, Italy.

We thank Jill for her dedication and the host of transformative milestones she has orchestrated, including:

•   The Ashley Hall Learning Spiral, a comprehensive curricular approach to education that features an intentional pattern of incremental learning from the pre-primary years through high school;

•  The custodianship, expansion, and improvement of our beautiful 10-acre urban campus for historic preservation, upgraded and reimagined for 21st century learning;

•   A global mindset and ethos that lives out through our Global Studies and International Programs which help students prepare to address the challenges of the next generation;

•  Educational partnerships with community non-profits such as the Medical University of South Carolina; Gibbes Museum, and Horizons, among others, inextricably linking our school community to Charleston in partnership, citizenship, and service;

•  A robust faculty professional development program that cultivates intellectual engagement, and academic growth for faculty and students alike;

•  A diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging commitment essential to achieving educational and academic excellence; and,

•  A healthy financial picture for the school, further strengthening our position for the future.

The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Dr. Anne Weston, Assistant Head of Ashley Hall and Director of Upper School, will serve as Interim Head of School, leading our school through this important time and helping ensure a smooth and successful transition. 

Dr. Weston, herself an alumna of Ashley Hall (‘73), joined Ashley Hall as Assistant Head of School in July 2015 and was named Director of Upper School in 2018. Previously she served in a variety of posts with Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, SC, including as teacher, Intermediate School and Upper School Principal, Assistant Head, Director of Advancement and Alumni Engagement, Provost and Interim Head of School. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Duke University and a Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in Biology and a Doctorate in Health Promotion and Education both from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Weston has worked together with her colleagues on important curricular improvements and the strengthening of vital wellness programs in Ashley Hall’s Upper School, while celebrating with them an expanding record of student scholarship and college placements. She is an outstanding communicator, a positive and confident leader and a strong advocate for women and girls.

The Board has assembled a Search Committee to lead what will be a thoughtful and rigorous search process with input from the widest possible range of voices. To ensure a comprehensive and successful search, the committee will engage an executive search firm with expertise in the field of education with a goal of welcoming our next Head of School on July 1, 2023. This process will include extensive efforts to understand the Ashley Hall community and our needs, including interviewing many members of our faculty, student body, parents, and alumnae communities. We will continue to keep you closely informed of our progress on this important work.

Today, generations of distinguished Ashley Hall alumnae are making their mark on the world. Our position as a preeminent school for girls and young women in the region remains strong, with record-high enrollment, vital community relationships and an outstanding and loyal faculty and parent body whose dedication to our children is truly matchless.

Over the next six months, in partnership with faculty and families, we will cheer our students as they celebrate milestones, stretch their ambitions, and prepare for their futures, all while living out Ashley Hall’s enduring values. At the same time, all of us in the extended Ashley Hall community pledge to support Jill, Dr. Weston, and the Board of Trustees as, together, we lay the path for the next generation of leadership and an even brighter future for our extraordinary school.

In Dedication to the Ashley Hall Community,


Anne Frances Bleecker ’76
Chair, Ashley Hall Board of Trustees

From Ashley Hall Head of School Jill Muti | December 15, 2021

Ashley Hall Head of School Jill Muti | Charleston, South Carolina
December 15, 2021

Dear Members of the Ashley Hall Community, 

It’s a gorgeous day on campus, and as I stand on the balcony of McBee House, I can’t help but think about the beautiful mission of our school and how it comes alive on our campus today: to produce educated women who are independent, ethically responsible and prepared to meet the challenges of society with confidence. When I joined the school 18 years ago, there was a palpable sense of promise, a desire to embrace new ideas and act boldly to realize the wonderful potential of Ashley Hall in the 21st century.

My favorite phrase that continues to lead every conversation is: “It’s all about the girls!” Every decision we have made collectively has been guided by our mission as we authentically thought about what an all girls’ education needed to look like for its second century. We have revitalized the School’s classical curriculum and executed several comprehensive strategic plans encompassing programmatic advances, 95,000 square feet of new and re-purposed facilities, impactful community engagement, and global immersion, from foreign language study to international travel opportunities.

Time has flown by so quickly, but the magic has really been in the collective will to create an authentic environment that honors our mission and hallmarks and in turn, the success of each and every student. We have created the Ashley Hall Learning Spiral, a curricular achievement unsurpassed in the School’s history. This comprehensive approach to education features the student prominently at the center and presents an intentional, consistent pattern of learning. We know that students who are exposed to our Learning Spiral approach are more confident, more independent, and more capable of championing their own education. From our Early Education Center students engaged in creative play with their popular water tables and Lower School’s dedicated work with the sea turtle rescue, to boat building by Intermediate Program STEAM students, to Upper School’s new Take Action Globally program centered on the UN Sustainable Development Goals of water conservation and preservation, the Spiral supports students at each stage of development. It is a beauty to behold.      

Our faculty are truly the heartbeat of our campus. Their tireless devotion and passion for their work is a testament to their commitment to our girls, as is their commitment to personal growth through professional development. With our investment in faculty professional development over the past 18 years, proposals put forward by individual teachers and cohorts of teachers have grown programs that have become distinctive to Ashley Hall. Examples include the Reggio Emilia Program in our Early Childhood Center; specialized learning environments for early adolescents: the Intermediate Program and the Nautilus Program; integration of technology throughout the school; use of the Oral Proficiency Interview as the terminal assessment practice in our foreign languages program; the introduction of Robotics and Advanced Placement Computer Science; the use of Harkness discussion methods in our humanities courses; and an innovative collaboration in neuroscience with the Medical University of South Carolina as one example of many strategic partnerships drawing upon the wealth of local resources. I am so very proud of their work.  

The physical transformation of Ashley Hall’s campus has been tremendous, a renaissance that is evidence of a more profound cultural transformation that has elevated the School to the place of prominence it holds today—locally, regionally, and nationally. One of the projects of which I am most proud is the building of the Rivers Library and Hoshall Science Center which was the first LEED certified secondary education building in South Carolina, a commitment to creating a healthy, sustainable, and livable learning space for our students. Many Upper School girls consider our campus similar to what they might expect of a small college, with the addition of the Warren Street House for Humanities on Smith Street and the Elizabeth Rivers Lewine ‘54 House for Global Studies on Rutledge Avenue.  

We have fostered global awareness and immersion not only by integrating international students and teachers into our campus community but also by greatly expanding opportunities for study abroad in ways that deeply connect students and faculty to new cultures, languages, and experiences. Ashley Hall has become a boarding school once again and the School now has a campus in Europe that can be used on an annual basis as it continues to innovate and create new programs.

When I think of all that we have accomplished together, the Board of Trustees, a seasoned administrative team and fabulous innovative faculty supported by loving parents and committed alumnae, it has been breathtaking. As I listen to peals of laughter on the lawn, I know that my work at Ashley Hall is coming to an end. Now in its second decade of its second century, the School is in a position to thrive as it embraces the new strategic initiative adopted by the Board of Trustees. It wonderfully intertwines the school’s goals regarding diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging essential to achieving educational and academic excellence. 

This year at Ashley Hall will be my last.  I am pleased to announce that beginning in the fall of 2022 I will take a new position as Head of School at St. Stephen’s School, an American day and boarding International Baccalaureate World School located in Rome, Italy. 

I treasure the memories I have of decades of students, faculty and families alike.  It has been an honor and privilege to serve this vibrant community, value its history and traditions, and lay the foundations for a bold future. 

I’d like to leave you with a stanza of our school anthem, A Dream is All it Is, written by former assistant head of school for academic affairs and current faculty member, Dr. Nick Bozanic in 2019.

“A dream is all it is, the end of all desire;

feed it with your hours as you would feed a fire, so that it burns more brightly every day

and warms the world around you on your way.”

Possunt Quae Volunt Always, 

Jill Swisher Muti

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Ashley Hall is a private school for girls located in Charleston, South Carolina enrolling students in pre-kindergarten-grade 12 with a boarding program for grades 9-12.
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