On Monday, November 2, Sarah Yeh was named Concord Academy’s Interim Head of School after Rick Hardy stepped down from the position, effective immediately, for personal reasons. Yeh has been a part of the CA community since 2008, first joining the school as a part of the history department. Until Hardy’s resignation, she worked as Dean of Faculty and Assistant Head of School.
Yeh’s transition to head of school marked one of a number of administrative changes CA has undergone over the past year. Laura Twichell ’01 will now be serving in her second interim position of the past two years, replacing Sarah Yeh as Interim Dean of Faculty. Last month, Sally Zimmerli, Dean of Students, shared that she plans on stepping down from her current administrative role, although she will remain in the CA community as a history teacher. Rob Munro, Dean of Academic Program and Equity, only joined the administrative team this summer. Additionally, while the events behind Hardy’s resignation have not been shared, he will remain a part of the CA community as Emeritus Head of School until June of 2022.
To many, this change in leadership seems especially jarring in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Yeh is confident in CA’s approach to the pandemic, and is well aware of its impact on the CA community.
“The [school’s] focus right now is staying open through COVID, getting as many students on campus as possible, and supporting them safely through 2021. And then how can we have the most whole and true CA through 2022, even though we might have aspects of the pandemic and COVID that we’re still managing,” Yeh says. “It’s been hard but we’ve been reopening well, and my hope is that we come back in January with a strong return from break and that we have a safe, successful, and thriving school spring.”
Although safety, especially in regards to coronavirus, is her top priority, Yeh looks forward to other aspects of her new position as well. In particular, she stresses the importance of equity and says that she hopes to emphasize it in the school community. Especially since the start of HyFlex and hybrid learning, equity has come to the forefront of many issues, as there is often a divide between virtual and on-campus students’ experiences.
“We [the administration] have also really been thinking about how we are going to live our mission moving forward. How are we making sure that we are honoring all students’ experiences here, that we are making sure that there is full and equitable access to the CA program. … those [conversations] are really important to me.”
While the transition to Interim Head of School is still new to Yeh, she is excited for CA’s future. “I have such confidence in this team [of CA adults], the experience that we have, and the way we’ll finish the year. Our goal is to give you the strongest year we can make possible in a pandemic, but we know the transitions haven’t been easy.”
It is unclear for how long Yeh will hold this position. The board of trustees leads the search for CA’s next head of school, and considering the challenges created by COVID-19, the process could be as short as a few months or as long as a few years. Despite the uncertainty, Yeh is optimistic. “That search is a moment for the school to come together and consider where the school wants to go for the next decade.”