Interim Head of School Appointed and Monthly Update from Board Chairs
Dear Members of the Allendale Columbia Community.
In September we launched a search for an Interim Head of School for the 2020-2021 academic year, and we were impressed with the response we received from qualified internal and external candidates. The Interim Head will serve for one year while we conduct a more traditional search for a long-term Head of School who will lead the school into the future and begin serving on July 1st, 2021. As Co-Chairs of the Allendale Columbia School Board of Trustees, we are pleased to announce that the Interim Head of School for the 2020-2021 academic year will be AC’s current Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid, Shannon Baudo.
Shannon was chosen unanimously from a competitive field of more than 20 other qualified candidates. This decision was reached based on the Board’s strong conviction that AC needs a leader who demonstrates expertise in bringing the school community together and playing to its strengths. That leader is Shannon. We are fortunate to have an Interim Head in place who has worked collaboratively on an exceptional Leadership Team, and has benefitted from exposure to both the academic and operational parts of AC. Her multifaceted skill set will only enhance our momentum moving the school forward.
Shannon is a graduate of Hamilton College and has 18 years of progressively responsible experience working in prestigious independent schools, including Canterbury School and The Gunnery in Connecticut. She has been at AC since 2015 where she has served as a key member of the Leadership Team and is responsible for increasing Net Tuition Revenue per student by 17.5% over a four-year period while bringing down the discount rate from 38% to 32.3% in 2019. During a three-year period of Shannon’s tenure, overall enrollment increased by 6%, despite the declining demographics of school-aged children in Rochester. Shannon also serves as a liaison between the Parent Association (PACK) and the school’s leadership team, and she has created a parent referral program based on the research of the “Jobs to be Done” Theory. Shannon has also significantly improved AC’s visibility worldwide by developing new partnerships with international agencies.
In consultation with the Head of School, the AC Board has decided to name Shannon Assistant Head of School, effective immediately, as she works together with Mick Gee through June 30th, 2020. Shannon will remain an integral part of the Admissions Office through the spring, and plans are being made to augment the current admissions team with additional expertise.
Please join us in congratulating Shannon Baudo.
In addition to this exciting news, we want to provide a brief update on our progress in moving AC forward:
On November 1st, 170 guests celebrated AC at our Friday Night Fiesta. During the event, we announced that we received one of the largest donations in the school’s history: a gift of $1 million from current parents who wish to remain anonymous. In addition to their transformational gift, we were able to raise $29,300 the night of the event.
The response to our StandWithAC campaign has been inspiring and impressive. We have four times as many donors as we did at this time last year, and our overall giving participation has increased. In a few short months, we have raised an impressive $1,679,594, but we aren’t finished yet, and we still need your help! It is our hope that you will consider making AC your primary philanthropic priority to help us reach our $3 million goal by December 31st. Please keep an eye out for our progress report and Winter Appeal that will arrive in the mail and/or email later this week.
As we shared in October, we are examining a variety of multi-year financial models that reflect a sustainable future for AC. We will send a separate email with greater detail about our financial plan and fundraising efforts in December, as promised in previous communications.
Our first Open House was on October 24th, and we welcomed some wonderful potential AC families to campus to learn about our program.
Our admissions team has been focused on community outreach and partnerships as part of our recruitment efforts. This past month, they attended the Rochester Children’s Book Festival, welcomed teachers from the Rochester Museum and Science Center’s Preschool to campus, visited some of our feeder schools, and met with local realtors to teach them about AC’s programs so they are well-informed of our offerings when working with their clients. The admissions team is currently gearing up for Preschool Fairs at three public libraries, and AC will also have a presence as a sponsor at the Maker Faire showcasing our exemplary STEM program.
Word of mouth is how many families become interested in AC. Please talk about the school with your friends, and encourage anyone who might be interested in learning more about other educational opportunities in Rochester to contact our enrollment office.
We appreciate all of you who have asked how you can help and have extended your support to AC. We encourage you to StandWithAC, and consider making a donation at allendalecolumbia.org/give.
It’s hard to believe we’re already nearing the later part of November. As Thanksgiving approaches, we reflect on how thankful and fortunate we are to have the support of so many in the AC community. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends, and we truly appreciate all of you who are helping Allendale Columbia thrive.
Ann Balderston P’04, P’07, P’10 Richard Yates P’15
Co-Chair, Board of Trustees Co-Chair, Board of Trustees