On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Search Committee, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Jody Reilly Soja as Indian Mountain School’s ninth Head of School. The Search Committee and the full Board were unanimous in our decision and belief that Jody’s experience, skills and leadership style make her the ideal person to honor the culture and traditions of IMS with an eye toward the future. Currently the Head of the Middle School and Director of Faculty Development at National Cathedral School in Washington, DC, Jody will succeed Mark Devey on July 1, 2015.
This is a return to “the Mountain” for Jody, who began her teaching career at IMS, where she lived, taught, coached, and served in various administrative roles from 1999 through 2009. Raised in a family of educators in Middlebury, VT, she is a 1998 graduate of Bates College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, and Harvard University, where she received a Master’s degree in Education in 2003.
While at IMS, Jody began as a history and ESL humanities teacher, coached varsity soccer and lacrosse, and ran Doolittle dormitory. After a one-year leave to earn her master’s degree, she returned to IMS as the Assistant Director of Studies, becoming Head of the Upper School in 2004, and Dean of Faculty in 2007. In 2009, she left IMS to join her husband Kevin at Millbrook School, where she taught history. In 2010, she and her family moved to Washington, DC, where she joined National Cathedral School. The family lived on the campus of Episcopal School in Alexandria, VA, where Kevin was Dean of Students. Jody and Kevin have two young sons, Russell (8) and William (5).
Throughout the process Jody consistently impressed the Search Committee and members of our community with her deep knowledge of education and her commitment not only to the excellence of our program but also to the soul and culture of IMS. Jody’s colleagues at National Cathedral School confirmed our estimation that Jody’s talents and passions are broad, deep, and well-suited to this moment in our school’s history. A skilled team-builder from her early days at IMS, Jody’s professional expertise and joyful engagement in teacher evaluation, professional development, strategic planning, and current thinking on pedagogy and the science of learning equip her well to lead IMS into its next chapter.
Jody’s appointment concludes an intensive six-month search process. Many members of the IMS community – staff, faculty, administrators, students, parents, alums, trustees and friends – participated in and supported the process, giving generously of their time and sharing perspective and expertise on the opportunities and challenges facing the School. We particularly want to thank all the members of the Search Committee and JoAnne Tuncy, who coordinated countless schedules and logistics to make the process work smoothly. Our search consultants, Bob Fricker and Chuck Burdick of Carney Sandoe and Associates, guided us in a process that was thoughtful, thorough and inclusive, and provided invaluable advice at every juncture.
We are also deeply thankful for the leadership of Mark Devey, whose nine years of outstanding service to IMS have brought us to a new level of stability and enriched the campus and program enormously. The strength of the foundation he has built was apparent throughout the search.
This is an extraordinary moment in the history of IMS and we ask you to join us in enthusiastically welcoming Jody, Kevin, Russell and William to the IMS community.
President of the Board of Trustees
Search Committee Chair
Acceptance Letter from Jody R. Soja
Dear Indian Mountain School Community,
I am honored and thrilled to accept the position as Indian Mountain School’s ninth Head of School. As many of you know, I will be returning to Indian Mountain, having worked there from 1999 – 2009.
Over the past five years, the School has improved physically and the program has continued to develop in progressive and innovative ways. When I returned to campus to interview in December, I was heartened to discover that along with the growth both in number of students and richness of program, I found the same warmth and joy that characterized my time “on the Mountain.” I witnessed the same high level of faculty engagement and commitment to educating the whole child that inspired me during my earlier tenure at IMS. I reconnected with former colleagues and met new faculty who delight in working with young students in the classroom, on the fields, in the dorms, and in various other settings every day. Teachers continue to prepare students to be successful in secondary schools around the country. Their genuine interest in helping young students grow and learn is a gift, and I look forward to supporting their work and professional development in the years to come. Likewise, it was a pleasure to see the same level of enthusiasm and spirit in students on both campuses. Their joyful approach to school and community permeates.
There is exciting and important work ahead with the ten-year self-study and reaccreditation. I feel fortunate to arrive at the moment the School is engaged in self-assessment, beginning to imagine the changes and growth necessary and appropriate for the next ten years. Through this work, the School will be well positioned for a new strategic vision, which will shape our work together moving forward. What an exciting and opportune time to be returning to a place I love.
On a personal level, Kevin and I are delighted to be returning to Indian Mountain to raise and educate our two boys. We can’t imagine a better setting than the 600 acres Indian Mountain calls home to play and learn. Russell and William will benefit from the attention and care of growing up in a loving, family-centered community where they will engage with nature and develop relationships based on trust and affection. I am humbled and excited to be returning to lead Indian Mountain School. I am also eager to reconnect with old colleagues and develop relationships with new colleagues, families, and students with an eye toward the future.
Thank you to all members of the community who engaged in the Search process. I appreciated the opportunities I had to meet with parents, trustees, students, faculty and staff, and other administrators during my visit. I am especially grateful for the care and support of the Search Committee, led by Anna Traggio and Maria Horn. I look forward to getting to know you all as my family settles in Lakeville this summer.