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Deerfield Academy head retiring in 2019

  • Margarita O’Byrne Curtis, Deerfield Academy’s first woman head of the school, announced she will be retiring from the position at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Deerfield Academy website photo



Recorder Staff
Friday, February 02, 2018

DEERFIELD — Margarita O’Byrne Curtis, Deerfield Academy’s first woman head of the school, announced she will be retiring from the position at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

“At Deerfield we have always understood that our tradition of excellence depends on a commitment to embrace renewal and ongoing discovery,” Curtis said in a letter to community members this week. “It is with this idea in mind that I have decided to retire as head of school.”

Curtis, who has served 12 years in her position, did not expand on what prompted her to step down at this time and said following her departure from the school, she will “continue the journey from the familiar to the unfamiliar, from comforting predictability to challenging, yet promising, newness.”

The head of the school was praised by the president and the president-elect of the board of trustees for her “unique focus on the future, while maintaining a steadfast commitment to Deerfield’s timeless values and ideals.”

“She led a dramatic investment in professional development, placed new emphasis on global citizenship and environmental sustainability, prioritized inclusion efforts, and facilitated major renovations across campus for the benefit of the entire program and community,” reads the letter from board President H. Rodgin Cohen and Brian Simmons, president-elect.

Cohen and Simmons highlighted Curtis’ creation of the first strategic plan in the school’s history. It led to a “period of rapid evolution.”

“The beating heart of the plan was a deep investment in our most valuable asset: our people,” Cohen and Simmons said.

The board also spoke about her skillful management of “significant challenges along the way, including an economic downturn of historic proportions.”

Curtis joined Deerfield Academy as the head of the school in 2006, after holding a position at the dean of studies at Phillips Academy in Andover School. She was the first woman headmaster in the school’s history, which dates back to 1797.

“The opportunity to collaborate with you in translating our founding values to a complex, modern world has been a gift for which I will remain forever grateful,” Curtis said.

Reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264