October 11, 2016
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the unanimous selection of Clair Ward as the seventh Head of Shore Country Day School, effective July 1, 2017. An experienced teacher, administrator, and leader, Clair is well prepared to succeed Larry Griffin, and lead Shore into its next chapter.
(Please see below
for a letter from Clair to the Shore community.)
Clair has compiled a distinguished career as an educator over the past twenty-three years. Beginning as a classics teacher fresh out of graduate school, Clair rose rapidly in every school in which she has served. In 2000, she was appointed Associate Head of School at the Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park, California, where she served for eight years before being appointed Head of School of Valley School of Ligonier in Rector, Pennsylvania, in 2008. During her nine years at Valley, Clair worked tirelessly to forge successful partnerships with students, families, faculty, staff, and trustees. At Valley, Clair followed in the footsteps of a highly successful, long-tenured Head of School, so she knows firsthand the importance of balancing a respect for and appreciation of school history, tradition, and culture with a commitment to personal and professional growth and a keen awareness of the obligation to nurture and support a culture of continuous improvement.
Under Clair’s leadership, Valley School has continued to grow and prosper. Working closely with a cohesive and united team of administrators, staff, and trustees, Clair has successfully taken on a wide range of initiatives including curriculum and course development, increased funding for faculty professional development, and the creation of an effective strategy to make Valley better known and understood in the larger community. Importantly, Clair has managed to lead these numerous school initiatives while continuing to teach Latin and public speaking. In addition, she is widely respected beyond campus through her work as Commissioner of Accreditation for the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, which has kept her on the cutting edge of the field's best practices, and acutely aware of the thematic challenges with which independent schools must contend.
In addition to her strengths as an administrator, the Board was impressed by Clair’s dedication to community and children. The visit to Valley School showcased a close-knit community of administrators, faculty, students, and parents who repeatedly described their sense of family as the differentiator in their education. The President of the Board of Trustees at Valley told us,
“She is fabulous with our students – they adore her!”
Larry Griffin noted “Clair Ward is an insightful and experienced school leader whose perspective will guide Shore to new heights. Our personal conversations have revealed both her enthusiasm for the job and her uncanny insight into Shore. From my perspective, given the strengths of our current faculty, staff, and collaborative administrative team, I am confident that Clair inherits a community ready to embrace change in the best way possible.”
Clair Ward grew up on the North Shore and attended Danvers public schools. She graduated from Hamilton College, where she double-majored in English and Classics, and completed her M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Curriculum at Boston College. Clair enjoys spending time with her husband, Bryon Williams, a Ph.D. candidate at Duquesne University; their 6th-grade daughter, Ella; and their two golden retrievers, Marley and Hazel. Clair also enjoys singing and playing the violin.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I extend my sincere gratitude to all members of the Shore Country Day School community for their commitment to this search process and their invaluable and thoughtful feedback. I am particularly grateful to my fellow Search Committee members for their countless hours of dedicated service. I look forward to welcoming Clair, Bryon, and Ella when they officially arrive on July 1. In the meantime, we plan to invite Clair back with us soon for an introduction to the entire community. Watch for updates regarding this and other upcoming events.
Sincerely, Jennifer M. Borggaard '84
President, Board of Trustees