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November 6, 2017

Ashley Harper named head of school at Wakefield

Ashley Harper will move from Pittsburgh and start her new job at Wakefield School in July.
Wakefield School in The Plains has hired Ashley Harper as its next head of school.

“Based on an extensive and highly competitive six-month search process, we are ecstatic that Ashley will be joining our community and build upon the momentum that David Colón has created as our current head of school,” said John Neff, who chairs Wakefield’s board of trustees.

Ms. Harper will start July 1, 2018.

Her career in education includes teaching, college admissions, lower and middle-school division leadership and development.

Mr. Neff cited her “combination of vision, intelligence, thoughtfulness, energy and dedication to the intellectual and character development of children . . . .

“She has a wonderful personal presence and ability to engage which will serve the Wakefield community well as she strives to spread our message and attract new families,” he added.  

Ms. Harper serves as director of advancement at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh. The independent school has 650 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. She worked Winchester lower school director from 2012 to 2016. Before joining Winchester Thurston, Ms. Harper worked as middle school director at the Brookwood School in Thomasville, Ga., where she also taught algebra and fifth grade.  

She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Florida State University and a master’s in teaching and learning/curriculum and instruction from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  She was a National Association of Independent Schools Aspiring School Heads Fellow in 2011-12.  

“From the first moments on campus, I was struck by the deep engagement of everyone in the Wakefield community and the commitment to building the future together,” she said. “Students poised to take on the challenges of the 21st century; expert, dedicated faculty investing in students both in and out of the classroom; trustees giving time and talent; and parents and alumni who are 'all in' are testaments to the strength and promise of the school. There is a unique story to be told at Wakefield and the potential for the future is great.”

She and her husband, Doug, have two sons. Jack attends college in the Pittsburgh area and Riley attends sixth grade at Winchester Thurston; he will attend Wakefield.

“My husband Doug, our son Riley and I are so excited to join the Wakefield community,” Ms. Harper said. “I look forward to leading our mission as Wakefield's next head of school and to helping our students seek the challenge, make a difference and live extraordinary lives.”
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