A Letter from Board Chair LeeAnn Black

March 12, 2019

Dear Chapin Community,

Who can describe Patricia Hayot the best? The extraordinary and talented Chapin students, of course. So I started there. As I walked the halls, asking students of all ages about their Head of School, Patricia’s profound and indelible connection to them was evident at every turn. To the Kindergartners who spilled out of the Lower Level Dining Room, Dr. Hayot was “a good storyteller” and “happy.” Other Lower School students declared that she was “smart,” “nice” and “busy.” Our Middle Schoolers used words like “caring,” “energetic” and “funny.” And those in the Upper School extolled Dr. Hayot as a role model—“compassionate,” “intelligent” and “capable of anything.” We heartily agree with this adoring chorus of student voices. As she prepares for retirement, we look forward to celebrating what will be Patricia’s 17 years of accomplishments and contributions to the school, and to honoring the incredible legacy she will leave behind.

Far too many extraordinary achievements to list have occurred under Patricia’s leadership. Many have transformed the school in ways that will be felt far into the future. These include:

  • the Focus Forward strategic plan, resulting in the development of a rigorous, innovative K–12 academic program that ensures students’ independence, creativity, resilience, strength of character, engagement and intellectual joyfulness;
  • the integration of diversity into all aspects of our curriculum and programs, with rich opportunities for candid conversations around race, equity, socioeconomic status and gender identity;
  • the implementation of a full K–12 World Languages program;
  • enhanced STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) offerings;
  • the creation of Chapin-designed advanced courses;
  • the FolioCollaborative, a more nimble system of goal-setting, feedback, mentorship and guidance in support of the Professional Community; and
  • a six-day schedule that provides greater flexibility and increased opportunities for collaboration, interdisciplinary work and reflection.

And, of course, there is Patricia’s truly heroic oversight of our current building project—perhaps the most visible representation of her tireless focus on the future. The joy in her face and excitement in her eyes as she oversees the building’s transformation—and plans the enhancements of our academic and health and wellness programs in these wonderful new spaces—are contagious.

Patricia has approached each of these initiatives and projects as she approaches everything she does—with tremendous compassion, extraordinary intellect, resolute determination, unwavering grace, endless energy and infectious humor.

We are incredibly grateful to have the continued benefit of Patricia’s leadership over the next 15 months. During this time, Patricia will continue to oversee the many initiatives and programs that are underway at the school.

The Board of Trustees has been entrusted with the significant responsibility of finding a successor who will not only build upon Patricia’s vision of outstanding academic performance, operational excellence and focus on the future, but who will also continue the culture of joy that has defined Patricia’s tenure: a culture in which Chapin students have developed strong confidence in themselves and a deep caring for one another, just as Patricia cares for them.

The Search Process

We have assembled a Succession Committee to lead what will be a rigorous process with input from the widest possible range of voices within our community. The Committee includes trustees with broad experience and expertise working with senior leaders in a range of organizations, and it will expand in the coming weeks to include a representative from the Professional Community and also the student body.

To ensure a comprehensive and successful search, we have engaged Spencer Stuart, a top global executive search firm with deep expertise in the field of education. With a goal of selecting our next Head of School by the end of 2019, Spencer Stuart will undertake extensive outreach efforts to get to know Chapin and our needs, including interviewing many members of our faculty, student body, parents and alumnae. Updates on the progress of this critical work will be provided on Chapin’s website.

Over the course of the next 15 months, there is much that Patricia plans to accomplish. We will leave her to do what she does best, as we take on the important work of finding her successor. There will be many opportunities to thank and honor Patricia, and to reflect together on all she has taught us—not just students and the professional community, but also those of us who have had the privilege of serving beside her on the Board of Trustees. Patricia inspires us to be curious, stretch our capabilities, expand our thinking and always, always live out Chapin’s highest values. We will continue to do so as we enter this time of transition, while maintaining excellence in shaping our students’ lives with an unwavering focus on an even brighter future.

LeeAnn Black
Chair, Board of Trustees of The Chapin School