Wellington is pleased to announce Mr. Rishi Raghunathan as the next head of upper school and Dr. Rachel Althof as head of middle school, effective July 1, 2019. Raghunathan will succeed Dr. Jeff Terwin, the current associate head of school and head of upper school who will become head of school at Wellington this summer. Dr. Althof is currently the interim head of middle school. After drawing from a national pool of highly talented educators and administrators, we are delighted to welcome these two ideal candidates into their important leadership roles within our school community.
Raghunathan joins Wellington from the University School of Milwaukee, a prekindergarten through 12th grade school of 1100 students, where he has been the dean of students for eight years, supporting and leading a thriving student life program. Drawing on his political science degree from the University of Cincinnati, he has taught a wide range of courses in the history department. Raghunathan also serves on the ISACS Board of Trustees and is currently the chair of the ISACS Equity and Justice Committee. He is a faculty member at the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute (gcLi) in collaboration with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, the only program of its kind in the country in which teachers learn the pedagogy of leadership.
“Wellington has an academic and co-curricular model that puts students at the center of the process,” Terwin said, “and Mr. Raghunathan’s ability to provide thoughtful leadership training will be an outstanding addition to our approach. Throughout his career in education, Mr. Raghunathan has demonstrated a strong commitment to fostering positive learning environments in which both teachers and students thrive.”
During a recent upper school morning meeting, Raghunathan shared with students and faculty that upon his first visit to Wellington, he knew immediately he was someplace special. “I felt like I belonged here,” he said. “I am thrilled to take this next journey with you.”
Althof has distinguished herself as a true leader, innovator, and collaborator in the field of education. From her first teaching position in an urban middle school to serving as a student teaching coordinator and instructor while a doctoral student in education at Columbia University, her diverse background as an educator has provided her with valuable insight for driving Wellington’s middle school forward. She has provided crucial leadership as the assistant head of upper school and was instrumental in designing a new curricular paradigm that included greater focus on global connections, public speaking, creativity and design, and research. Most recently, Althof has served as the interim head of middle school and, during a very short time in the role, positioned a talented group of faculty and engaged students for an exciting new phase of growth and opportunity.
“Wellington will benefit as Dr. Althof leverages her vast expertise to ensure our middle school provides an extraordinary experience for the faculty and students, while also supporting thoughtful transitions into the upper school,” Terwin said.
Althof is eager to continue the impressive work she has already begun in the middle school, leading and inspiring those around her to do the same. “The impact you make on people in the world,” she told middle schoolers recently, “shows everyone Wellington students are the best.”
The additions of Raghunathan and Althof to the Wellington administration had an overwhelmingly positive response from our search committees and comprehensive support from all community members who were a part of the process. They are also a great complement to Head of Lower School Jill Webb and her own extensive work as director of professional development for ISACS.
“The head positions are so critical to Wellington because they not only provide leadership and direction within the grades they serve, but they also play an integral role in the growth and development of the entire school,” Terwin said. “As we combine the skill sets of Dr. Althof’s expertise and experience in curricular integration and pedagogy, alongside Mr. Raghunathan’s deep experience and passion in student leadership development, communication, and diversity and inclusion, as well as Head of Lower School Jill Webb’s dedication to professional development, Wellington has an outstanding team in place to build programs, support faculty development, and inspire and challenge our students in relevant and meaningful ways. I could not be more excited for the future of Wellington.”