Head of School Ned Parsons to Conclude His Nine Years of Leadership in June 2023
Ned Parsons will complete his memorable run as the leader of The Rivers School at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Ned, eighth head of school, arrived in September 2014 and has overseen a school dramatically transformed on his watch—one that is poised to grow, innovate, and build a bright future on a foundation of past and present strengths.
“I was drawn to Rivers because of its emphasis on relationships, on academic rigor combined with a deep understanding of each student, on innovation and creativity in the classroom—in short, because of Excellence with Humanity,” said Ned, who joined Rivers after serving as dean of faculty at The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT. “The Rivers I came to know is even more committed to that approach and those values than I could have hoped. My time at Rivers has been immeasurably rewarding, and, with the support of this extraordinary community, I’ve accomplished all I set out to do here and more.”
But perhaps no one could have foreseen the extent of the institutional successes and the transformation that took place under Ned’s stewardship. As Board of Trustees President Harley Lank wrote in his letter to the community announcing Ned’s decision to depart, “Ned expertly guided the 2015 Strategic Plan focused on enhancing the core elements of our mission, including a new campus master planning process. Under Ned’s oversight, Rivers also raised a record $67 million through the successful execution of our first comprehensive fundraising strategy, FutureMakers: The Campaign for Rivers. This campaign supported numerous important initiatives in financial aid, faculty support, and program and curriculum development.”
The centerpiece of the FutureMakers campaign was The Revers Center for Science and Visual Arts, a state-of-the-art facility that serves as a unique campus hub for interdisciplinary synergy between science and the arts; insofar as a building can drive curricular innovation and creativity, The Revers Center does just that. But other physical upgrades have also raised the bar for the school’s programs: A new athletics complex, renovations to the Lewis, Haynes, and Prince buildings, and other projects still in the works have brought Rivers’s facilities in line with its longstanding programmatic excellence.
Ned’s legacy, however, is not confined to the new buildings and a more robust bottom line. Ned also oversaw the creation of the Center for Civic and Community Engagement, an innovative hub with the mission of equipping students to exert a positive influence in public life. The McCartney Scholars, a program of distinction in math commemorating the contributions of late math faculty member Dan McCartney, also bears Ned’s stamp.
The process of searching for Ned’s replacement will soon be underway, with the hiring of an external search firm and the naming of a search committee. Board President Lank emphasized in his letter that, “The Board will be guided by its goal of ensuring that all of the wonderfully diverse constituencies that make up our community are given a fair opportunity to have their voices heard, share their perspectives and their experiences at Rivers, and provide constructive input during the search and selection process.” He added that the Board and the entire community remain committed to Rivers’s core focus on innovation, relationships, and excellence, and that a new head will, first and foremost, continue to build on the school’s current forward momentum.
In joining the Board’s news to the community, Ned stressed that over the next 18 months he “will work tirelessly with the faculty, administration, students, and trustees to continue to move Rivers forward.” And he added, sounding the note that was heard so frequently during his time at Rivers, “The future is bright.”