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A Message from Head of School Ann V. Klotz

Dear Laurel Community,

What a wonderful time I have had leading Laurel School. During my first visit in the fall of 2003, I knew this was the school I hoped to serve. Today, I write to tell you that I will retire in June 2025. It has been my privilege to lead the finest girls’ school in the nation over the past twenty years.

Laurel has an exceptional faculty and staff, wonderful parents, wise trustees, formidable alums, and girls and little boys who fill my heart with joy. We are a school that strives to live our mission and values. As I think back over my tenure, memories of beloved ceremonies and traditions swim up: all-school assemblies when we gather in the Tippit Gym, Junior Chapel, Song Contest, Green & White Day, and Commencement. I feel a thrill at the hush in the Chapel that precedes every Senior Speech, a surge of happiness when I watch our enthusiastic fans cheer on Gators in every sport. When the little ones come Trick or Treating to Lyman House or stop to admire Seth’s annual holiday lawn display, I smile. I recall, too, the difficult moments that our community has endured together with grace and resilience.

For me, school has always been about relationships and community. Learning is fundamental, of course, but so much that happens in and beyond the classroom is the result of connection and curiosity. I am glad to have been a teaching head, to have taught English and directed plays and advised a cohort of Seniors, to have shared in the day-to-day work of school with my colleagues on the faculty and staff. I love greeting children as they spill from their cars in the morning and visiting with our older girls, who come to my office for a piece of candy and a quick chat. To have  mentored men and women who have gone on to lead other schools has been an honor—their success is glory to Laurel. When colleagues from other schools visit to find out more about Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls or our programming at Butler, I feel enormous pride. And I am filled with gratitude for those whose generosity has allowed us to renovate and build and dream.
While our students’ public successes are cause for celebration—prizes won, publications, honors, awards and college placement—I am proud, too, of quiet triumphs: a Ninth Grader’s perseverance in a tough class; a Middle Schooler’s kindness to a peer; a Fifth Grader who faces her fears on the Adventure Course, supported by her classmates; an Early Learner who enters her classroom without tears. During my tenure, we have developed and refined many strategic initiatives. We have been on the cutting edge of girls’ school education with the establishment of Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls, One Schoolhouse, and the Environmental Justice Semester. We’ve learned, too, how restorative practice helps students listen and build bridges even when they are in conflict. LCRG has deepened our understanding about the relationship between wellbeing and achievement for girls, about what girls need to thrive. And we have leveraged our understanding of the value of the natural world as a teacher for children of all ages and are so fortunate to have the Butler Campus as a key component of every child’s Laurel experience.

Our school today has built on the work of those who came before us. We are not the school Jennie Prentiss founded, yet that which is essential endures. We value excellent teaching. We care enormously about our students and are committed to giving them an incomparable education. We are called to raise up generations who will claim their voices and use their gifts to better our complicated world. Our alums live lives of integrity, optimism, curiosity, compassion, and purpose, inspiring those students still with us at Lyman Circle and at Butler. I hope Jennie Prentiss, Sarah Lyman, Edna Lake, and all who came before me would be proud; I know those who follow me will continue the good work underway.

Over the next eighteen months, I will savor my time with our students and faculty, parents and alums, doing all I can to prepare for Laurel’s next head of school, who will be so lucky to lead this remarkable school.

Warmly,
Signature: Ann V. Klotz


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