On October 4 and 5, Concord Academy welcomed Dr. Monica Palmer as the fourth and final candidate for the head of school position. Over the course of her two-day visit, Palmer met alumni, faculty, students, administrators, members of the student council, and social justice and affinity group co-heads.
Palmer is currently the Dean of Faculty at the Governor’s Academy in Byfield, MA, where she supported the faculty through the hiring and retention of talented personnel and their professional development. Prior to her arrival at Governor’s in 2017, Palmer held leadership positions in both independent boarding and day high schools: the Madeira School in McLean, VA, and Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, IL. She has also been in adjunct and administrative roles at Barnard College and American University among others.
When asked what first attracted her to CA, Palmer described how her story with CA actually began five years ago when she was interested in the Dean of Students position. Palmer said that one of the reasons she is drawn to CA is because of how authentic and real she found the school environment. She connected with CA’s fundamentals of love of learning and the ability to really be curious about education, the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and social justice, which aligned with her own personal mission.
Palmer introduced herself to the CA community as one with a dedication to leadership excellence, a commitment to interpersonal connection, and a grounded sense of purpose in the mission. She described that the energy, creativity and passion of young people energizes her into inspiring and impactful work in educational environments.
When asked about what skills she could bring to CA as head she highlighted her organizational tools and ability to lead in a way that is collaborative, through clear communication and transparency.
Palmer is a graduate of University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Dramatic Arts and Law & Society. In addition to earning two degrees at Columbia University, an M.F.A. in Theater and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, she holds a doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. With a dynamic interest in performing arts, Palmer has held positions as Director of Fine and Performing Arts, teacher of public speaking and acting, and director of mainstage productions at Lake Forest Academy. She brings a passion for theater and arts administration and projects herself as an active engaged member of the community.
Palmer hopes to welcome students into her life and home as a transparent leader and a trusted adult in the community. She sees the head of school’s house as “the people’s house” and wants her role as Head of School to be an integrated part of the student community. Palmer’s genuine enthusiasm for CA and its future was noted when she described that her strength lies in leading through the ability to love what she does. We thank Palmer and her husband for their thought, care and effort in engaging with our community for the past few days.