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Kelly Recognized with SAIS Service Award Oct. 23


Kelly, second from left, at the SAIS conference with her husband, Chris; mother, Patricia Casey; and son Sean ’11.

On Monday, Oct. 23, Head of School Doreen Kelly was honored with the 2023 SAIS Distinguished Service Award at the association’s annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

The award was presented to Kelly by her two brothers, who also serve in top leadership roles at independent schools: Ray Casey, President of Westminster Christian Academy, and Sean Casey, Head of School at Franklin Road Academy. Kelly was also joined by her mother, Patricia Casey; her husband, Chris; and her son Sean ’11, who is Ravenscroft’s Assistant Director of Enrollment Management.

Kelly and her brothers led a breakout session earlier in the day, “A Sibling Trio’s Reflections on Headship,” in which they shared insights gained from a collective 45+ years of experience as heads of school. 

Also attending the awards presentation was incoming Head of School Derrick Willard, who later that day led a session on “Questions to Ask the Head Search Committee.”

SAIS, the Southern Association of Independent Schools, is a professional organization that helps independent schools stretch their potential through accreditation, resources and professional programs. The award is given by the SAIS Board of Trustees to a head of school or senior administrator in recognition of a long and distinguished career in independent education as well as service to SAIS. 

Kelly has a long history of service to SAIS. She currently serves on the association’s board, as well as the board of the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools. Prior to that, she served as a faculty member for the NAIS Institute for New Heads for nine years. She is also a member of the Southern Headmasters’ Association and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women executive leadership team. 

In announcing this award, SAIS noted that Kelly’s work in the sphere of leadership development has had a significant impact on Ravenscroft, particularly in the development of Lead From Here in collaboration with the Center for Creative Leadership. In addition, she holds several certifications as a trained executive coach and assessment provider.

Kelly has been Ravenscroft’s Head of School since 2003. Prior to that, she served as Head of Lower School for four years, following a 10-year tenure at Trinity-Pawling School in Pawling, New York, that included teaching English, coaching volleyball and serving in leadership roles in their middle and upper school divisions. She expressed a deep sense of honor at being the recipient of this award.

“I am grateful to all our students and those whom I work with each and every day at Ravenscroft who have made it possible for me, as a leader, to keep growing and learning and ‘leading from here,’” she said. “I am also so grateful to my family and friends for their support over the years. I believe in the mission of the Southern Association of Independent Schools and am humbled and honored to be receiving this award.”