Pippa Rex Is in the Business of Making Memories

Pippa Porter Rex was honored for her years of service to George School.

The twenty-first of September is a cool day with crystal-blue skies. Students are hanging out on Red Square, talking in small groups. Suddenly, Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” is blasting from speakers, the dancing begins, and there is Pippa Rex P’13, Dean of Students, throwing up her hands and joining in the fun.

For Pippa, the purpose and meaning behind school traditions is student-centered. Whether it is a long-standing, official tradition like Commencement, or a more spontaneous one like playing “September” on September 21 on Red Square, traditions are meant to remind students and adults alike that part of the George School experience is about simple, shared fun and making memories together.

“Any time you can break down the barriers between teenagers and adults so they can see the grown-ups having fun and being silly, it helps give them license to do the same,” she said.

After 32 years of service to George School, Pippa will retire at the end of this academic year.

After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts and English from University of California at Davis, Pippa taught English for four years at Bishop Conaty High School in Los Angeles. She then moved east and into higher education to work at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Senior Admission Officer and Director of Diversity Recruitment. During her tenure at Penn, enrollment of students of color reached an all-time high, despite decreasing enrollment nationwide. Missing the work of building relationships with high school students, Pippa arrived at George School in 1991.

Hired as an English teacher, Clerk of the Diversity Steering Committee, and Hall Teacher in Orton Dormitory, Pippa went on to become the inaugural dorm head of Westwood Dormitory, acting Associate Director of Admission, and regular admission interviewer. In the classroom, Pippa was deeply appreciated for her enthusiasm, energy, and the way she conveyed the urgency of literature as it applied to students’ lives in contemporary society.

In 2001, Pippa moved into the Deans’ Office as the Associate Dean of Students and in 2009 became the Associate Dean of Students for Community Life and Student Leadership, then later the Senior Associate Dean of Students. She and her husband Dwayne raised their two boys (Christopher and Ian, Class of 2013) on George School’s campus. In 2020, Pippa took on her current role of Dean of Students.

Along the way, while regaling and enriching the community with her love of film and theater, particularly musical theater, Pippa has been a beloved advisor, teacher in the Religions department, a Class Sponsor of several classes, a sabbatical recipient, a co-leader of service-learning trips to India and South Africa, and clerked and served on committees too numerous to mention.

“If you know Pippa, you know that she is at turns funny and serious, jovial and professional, nurturing and prodding, easy-going and hard-working, helping to build an important sense of teamwork and camaraderie in the Deans’ Office and a valued partnership with dorm heads and other administrators,” said Associate Head of School Scott Spence. “Over the years she has delivered visionary and proactive leadership for our residential life and weekend programs, including important student leadership and diversity, equity, and inclusion training.”

Regardless of her role at George School, Pippa has always maintained a holistic focus on student growth and development. Her joyful commitment to the well-being of the community is evident to the students. “When Pippa stepped in as my advisor, I was able to see her dedication to all students,” said Nadia ’24. She has been such an incredible role model for me personally; I aspire to emulate her enthusiasm for helping others, her strong leadership capabilities, and her commitment to excellence in all of its forms.

“One of the most rewarding parts of this work for me has been to see students—who begin their George School career as young teenagers and sometimes make some silly mistakes while they are here—grow into responsible, successful adults who contribute to their community,” Pippa said, “They come back to visit, and we can laugh about our memories together.”

Relentlessly focused on student and community growth and well-being, a lifeline to seemingly all of our students, earning their trust for the way she cares about them, Pippa has enriched and strengthened life at George School.


More News