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Happy New Year, Ravenscroft!

Incoming Head of School Derrick D. Willard shares warm wishes and transition planning updates with our community.

Dear Ravenscroft Community,

Derrick Willard

Happy New Year! As 2024 dawns, my excitement is rising to step into the role of Head of School on July 1. I feel so fortunate to have the next six months to learn as much as possible about the Ravenscroft community, culture, people and traditions before officially beginning work.

I was drawn to Ravenscroft’s mission and values, particularly the focus on leadership development in preparing students “to thrive in a complex and interdependent world.” One of my first opportunities to prepare to lead this great community, and to aid in growing future leaders at Ravenscroft, will be to attend a weeklong leadership training at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro later this month.

It is no small choice that Ravenscroft, the oldest day school in North Carolina, begins its mission statement with the words, “Guided by our legacy of excellence …” Rest assured that as we change leaders at Ravenscroft, one thing will remain the same — our shared commitment to excellence. Over the last 27 years, I have been fortunate to serve at two other independent schools with traditions of academic excellence, and I am focused on keeping the commitment to excellence thriving at Ravenscroft.

Much thoughtful planning has gone into this leadership transition thanks to the collaboration of current Head of School Doreen Kelly and Board Chair Laura Helton Kalorin ’92.

In November, Doreen and I began having weekly video calls and we will continue to do so. I was in Raleigh over the Thanksgiving break and had the opportunity to meet with the Welcome and Transition Task Force of the Board of Trustees and members of the senior leadership team. One of the outcomes of these conversations is the planning of more visits this spring so that I have the opportunity to learn from faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni.

I am reminded of the ending of the Walt Whitman poem, “O Me! O Life!” —“That the powerful play goes on, and you may but contribute a verse.” As the next Head of School, I will be humbled and honored to follow Doreen Kelly and to work with the dedicated and talented team of professionals employed at Ravenscroft — the many faculty and staff who dutifully serve the Ravenscroft community daily and are the key to our success. I join the community with full recognition that this is a powerful group of professionals who have been serving and soaring for years.

Thank you — thank you to the entire community and the Board of Trustees for entrusting me with this tremendous responsibility and opportunity. I look forward to returning to campus this spring and getting to know each of you.

Yours in service,
Derrick D. Willard
Incoming Head of School