“I’ve tried hard to cultivate an environment where diverse perspectives are as welcome as diverse characteristics. ”

Nancy O. Starmer, Eighth Head of School

The first female head of school, Nancy graduates from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, in 1970. Following college, she receives a master’s degree from Boston University Graduate School of Education. She spends the next twenty-seven years as a faculty member and administrator at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. In 2000, Nancy comes to George School ready to take on exciting new challenges. She moves into Sunnybanke with her husband Jack and son Daniel In August.

Although not a member of the Society of Friends, before even completing the interview process at George School, Nancy realizes that many Quaker values are already present in her life. She describes her leadership style at Milton Academy as “cooperative analysis and open conversation about hard issues,” a process akin to Quaker consensus building.

In 2003 she tells a Georgian reporter, “I have been very much aware, in my role as head of school, of how different and how powerful the Quaker decision-making process is.” Nancy’s account of the tangible ways in which these values shape the nature of discourse at George School become part of the Friends Council on Education publication Readings on Quaker Pedagogy, a volume that Friends schools use to orient new faculty. In 2005 Nancy would become a member of Newtown Friends Meeting.

In the fall of 2002, Nancy initiates a major curriculum review, which spans five years and results in changes that include a new core curriculum, new graduation requirements, significant additions to the school’s International Baccalaureate offerings, the introduction of Mandarin Chinese, and a half dozen other new courses. The school focuses on development for faculty around new research into learning and the brain and twenty-first century pedagogies, changes in the ways that the school groups students in classes, and even a new daily schedule.

In September of 2007, Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 donates a record-breaking $128.5 million gift. In press conferences and interviews, Nancy emphasizes that the donation will go to strengthen the school’s commitment to socioeconomic diversity and an outstanding faculty. In spring of the following year, the school embarks on a strategic planning process to determine how to use Barbara’s gift over the next twenty years.

In her sixteen years at George School, Nancy oversees an increase in school diversity and the formation of a new campus mater plan. New initiatives affirm sustainability and environmental stewardship and include the construction and completion of a new library, athletics center, and the green renovation of the McFeely Library into a history classroom building.

Nancy’s leadership places George School in an exceptionally good position to fulfill its mission “to develop citizen scholars cheerfully committed to openness in the pursuit of truth, to service and peace, and to the faithful stewardship of the earth.”