A brand-new year with a brand-new head of school

Ms. Katherine Bradley has become the 11th Head of Dana Hall School in its 135 years. She describes her present feeling as “figuring out a jigsaw puzzle but without all the pieces” because she has to learn everything starting from the bottom.

Ms. Bradley’s biggest goals for this year are “understand[ing] all the bits and pieces of this place and meet[ing] with each of the faculty one on one.” Last year, she met with former Head of School Ms. Caroline Erisman once a month to learn all she could, especially about the traditions, morning meetings, and fundraising. Mr. Rob Mather, Assistant Head of School, sees both women as people who are “really committed to Dana Hall.”

Ms. Bradley is putting a lot of effort into learning the teachers’, students’ and parents’ names. There are 484 students’ names to memorize. Schoology profile photos, walking in the hallways, and having people make ID cards are helping her to learn more about the students. She spends time on each individual and goes class by class. Caroline Cohen ’18 comments, “I feel her effort and friendliness when she walks on the hallway.”

When I sat down to talk with her, she treated me like a guest instead of a student and showed her friendliness the whole time. She was easy to talk to, and I did not feel the difference between her and me. It was just two people casually talking.

What Ms. Bradley wants to say to the entire school the most is “it is more important to be open- minded to other people’s points of view than it is to win an argument” as well as “your own point of view isn’t going to be as informed if you don’t listen carefully to the perspectives of the other people around you.”

This year, Ms. Bradley is preparing herself for challenges that she knows are coming — “rais[ing] money to support the school” and “prevent[ing] tuition [from] going up too fast.” This is not an easy task, however, for both Dana Hall and the other schools.

Ms. Bradley worked at the Groton School for the past 15 years. She was the Head of the Classics Department, the Assistant Head of School, a Dorm Head, and a Latin and Greek teacher.

Ms. Katherine Bradley is married to Mr. Matt McCracken and has two sons named Degefe and Ajaje, who live on campus with her and her husband. She loves her children a lot and has a big picture of them hanging in her office right where the door opens. Both of her children feel happy and proud that their mom is the Head of School, but are still “not 100 percent comfortable right now being around so many girls,” says Ms. Bradley.

Photo credit: Ms. Holly Bonder Congdon.

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