Kathleen McNamara becomes head of Tuxedo Park School

| 15 Feb 2012 | 08:36

Educator becomes just the eleventh person to lead the school in its 112-year-old history Tuxedo Park - Tuxedo Park School will start the school year under the leadership of new Head of School Kathleen McNamara. McNamara, began her term this July as the eleventh Head in the school’s 112 year old history. She and her family have taken up residence in the “Pink House,” reserved for the Head of School on campus. “We are confident that Kathleen possesses the skills and experience necessary to move our school forward with wisdom, warmth and energy,” said Pam van der Lee, vice President of the Tuxedo Park School Board of Trustees and head of the search committee. “We welcome her heartily to the Tuxedo Park School community and look forward to her leadership.” McNamara follows Jim Burger, who retired earlier this summer after 17 years as head of school. During his tenure, the school went from struggling to thriving. Since 1994 the school added 19,000 square-feet of facilities, a climbing wall and a solar panel array that provides the school with almost 30 percent of its annual electricity needs. During that same time enrollment increased from 135 students to 225 students and the percentage of identifiable minorities in the student population from less than 10 percent in 1994 to almost 40 percent in 2011. Financial aid improved dramatically to expand economic diversity as well. The number of faculty with masters’ degrees increased from less than half to over two-thirds and implementation of faculty evaluation and training has ensured quality teaching while maintaining top teachers without a system of tenure. Today the not-for-profit school is on solid financial ground and plans to open in September with record enrollment of 230 students coming from a 35-mile radius in Orange and Rockland counties in New York and Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey. In the press release announcing her selection, McNamara said she first plans to get thoroughly acquainted with the culture, traditions and the people of Tuxedo Park School and the surrounding communities. Having grown up in New Jersey and working in Westchester for 17 years, McNamara was familiar with the school long before the advertisement for a new head was made. Upon first arriving at Tuxedo Park School, McNamara said she “was impressed to discover that the 'Other Three Rs’ (rituals, relationships and rigor—academic, moral, and ethical rigor) —were alive and well at Tuxedo Park School.” McNamara also said she takes seriously her role to develop strong relationships between the school and parents. She began her administrative life by working in high school placement, which she explained, “shed light on the importance of working with parents, understanding their needs and managing the all-important school/home partnership.” Essential information Since 1900 Tuxedo Park School has specialized in pre-secondary education. Students in preschool through ninth grade engage in a traditional curriculum complemented by music, art, and athletic programs. For more information or to come for a tour, call 845-351-4737 or visit www.tuxedoparkschool.org. Curriculum vitae Kathleen McNamara is the eleventh head of school at Tuxedo Park School, which opened in 1900. Her experience includes: Most recently she served for five years as assistant head of school at Marin Country Day School, a K-8 school with 558 students, located in Corte Madera, California. Before that she headed up the 5th-9th grade division at the Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, where she functioned as the director of secondary school placement and as a 9th grade English teacher for three years before heading up the Middle School for seven years. Up until then she spent seven years at The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, teaching French and English.