Gretchen Warner ’97 Appointed Head of The Madeira School
Gretchen Warner ’97 has been named head of school at The Madeira School in McLean, VA, effective July 1. Warner is in her 15th year at The Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, where she serves as director of the upper school. She has taught chemistry and served as Archer’s dean of academic affairs, dean of students, and STEM coordinator during her tenure there.
Warner will become the 10th head of school at Madeira, an all-girls’ boarding and day school with an enrollment of 325 students.
“I love when people ask me, ‘What do you do for a living?’” Warner says. “While I will soon be the head of The Madeira School, I think of my principal occupation as building, shaping, and innovating a school that develops the future female leaders of the world. As a teacher and administrator, I know how critical it is to teach girls in the way they thrive—with hands-on learning and making the work relevant and applicable to relationships.”
Warner and her husband, Robin Laqui, are both originally from the eastern U.S., and met as undergraduates at Virginia Tech. (Warner grew up in Allentown, PA; after completing her bachelor’s degree, she earned a master’s from the University of Virginia.)
“As a classroom teacher and while taking on more significant leadership roles as an administrator, I have loved learning about the ways schools work and what makes them highly functional and collaborative, and I have continually sought out ways I can serve a school’s mission from multiple perspectives,” she says. “All of this has led me down the path to headship and ultimately to Madeira.”
As a student at Mercersburg, Warner was captain of the swim team, a declaimer for the Marshall Society, and a dormitory prefect in South Cottage.
Athletic teams from Mercersburg and Madeira meet each year in a number of sports as part of the M Cup competition, a yearlong multisport competition between the two schools. (Mercersburg won the inaugural competition in 2018-2019, and entering the winter athletic season, the Blue Storm leads the Snails, 9-4, in this year’s standings.) The event was established by Mercersburg’s director of athletics Rick Hendrickson (who, incidentally, served as Warner’s adviser while she was a student at Mercersburg) and Madeira athletic director Katie LaRue (who served as Mercersburg’s associate athletic director and head girls’ basketball coach from 2011 to 2016).