David O. Frantz ’60, President of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents, announced December 1 that the Board has ratified Katherine M. Titus
as the new Head of School starting July 1, 2016
, following a thorough and competitive search over the last year. She will succeed Douglas Hale, who will retire at the end of the 2015–2016 school year after 19 years of service as Head of School. Click here to see a gallery of photos from the announcement day.
to read the text of Titus’ address to the school community, which she delivered in the Irvine Memorial Chapel.
Titus will be just the seventh head of school in Mercersburg’s 123 years as a college preparatory school and the first woman to hold the office of head of school. Currently she is the Associate Head for School Life at St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I., a position she has held since 2013.
Titus received her B.A. in mathematics with a minor in secondary education from Middlebury College, where she was a standout on the women’s basketball team, scoring more than 1,000 points in her four-year career and serving as a two-year team captain. She received her M.A. in educational leadership from Columbia University in 2011.
Titus has been at St. George’s since 2005, serving in a variety of leadership roles, including dean of students and assistant head for student life before assuming duties of associate head. In her current role, Titus oversees the day-to-day running of the school in conjunction with the head of school. She also continues as an active member of the math faculty. Prior to St. George’s, Katie was the director of college counseling at Pingree School in South Hamilton, Mass., where she also taught math, served as an adviser, and coached.
Frantz said enthusiastically, “The search committee was immediately attracted to Katie’s drive, intelligence, and warmth. These important characteristics combined with her deep and varied experiences in the boarding-school world all bode well for her success as the next head of our great school.
“The committee was impressed as much by her ability to listen carefully as it was by her ability to articulate forcefully a telling set of core values consistent with the most treasured ideals of Mercersburg Academy.”
Commenting on her appointment, Titus said, “From my first conversations with the search committee to visiting campus and meeting faculty, staff, parents, and students serving on the advisory committee, I have been impressed and inspired by the strong sense of community and identity at Mercersburg.
“Mercersburg is a place where individual humility is valued and a strong sense of collective pride is alive, two elements that are important to me as an educator. The opportunity to take the helm, following the visionary leadership of Doug Hale, is a true privilege. My family and I are eager to join the Mercersburg community and look forward to meeting the people who contribute to such a strong sense of tradition and spirit.”
Stacie Rice Lissette ’85, co-chair of the search committee, said, “We know that Katie will value the traditions that Mercersburg holds dear, while working with all constituents of the school to continue the incredible, forward-thinking trajectory we are on. It was also clear to us that she cares deeply about the students, and that they are an important factor in so much of her decision-making.”
Founded in 1896, St. George’s School is an exceedingly well-respected New England boarding school with a diverse student body of 371 (of which 88 percent of students board). As associate head for school life at St. George’s, Titus is the chair of the internal administrative team, which includes the dean of academics, dean of faculty, and dean of students, and she is responsible for the implementation of innovative initiatives and programs at the school.
Katie lives on campus with her husband, Stuart, who is an English teacher and college counselor, and her daughters, Natalie and Samantha. As a family they enjoy the boarding-school life, whether it’s living and working in the dorms or attending community events.
The search for a new head of school began in earnest in January 2015. The Board of Regents hired Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates to assist with the search. Co-chaired by Frantz and Lissette, the formal search committee of the Board also included select faculty and administrative representatives. In addition, a separate Head of School’s Search Advisory Committee—comprised of Mercersburg faculty, staff, and alumni—played an active and vital role in the vetting and interviewing of finalists.
Mercersburg’s founding head of school was Dr. William Mann Irvine, who served from 1893 to 1928. Succeeding heads of school were Boyd Edwards (1928 to 1941), Charles Tippetts ’12 (1941 to 1961), William C. Fowle (1961 to 1972), Walter H. Burgin Jr. ’53 (1972 to 1997), and Douglas Hale (1997 to the present).