Upper School Dean Rose-Ellen Racanelli will retire this upcoming summer after 13 years of leading and guiding her students.
“I think deep down in my heart, I will miss the kids the most,” Racanelli said. “It is a terrific group of young people who attend Harvard Westlake. They’re interested in growing academically, they take risks in terms of exploring other areas of interest, they are immensely talented and I’ve so enjoyed going to games, athletic events, plays, choral productions and the vast variety of activities. It is such a stimulating and exciting place.”
Racanelli was a dean at Scarsdale High School for 25 years before she received a position at Harvard-Westlake.
“I came from another terrific school, and I felt very fortunate to be there, but coming here I didn’t know what to expect,” Racanelli said. “I have had such an amazing time and experience at Harvard-Westlake. The kids, the community, the striving for success and the support from parents have all contributed to why I feel so strongly about Harvard-Westlake.”
Racanelli was formerly the chairwoman of the legislative committee for the New York State Association for College Admissions Counseling and served on the Government Relations Committee in Washington for the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.
After visiting Los Angeles, Racanelli explored the opportunity of working at a private school, and when a position opened at Harvard- Westlake, she was able to move closer to her children and friends.
“[Racanelli] was persistent and always concerned about my academic well-being,” Talia Lefkowitz ’17 said. “She was always very curious about my life and extracurriculars and was always available and willing to help with any problems or questions that I had.”
According to Racanelli, college placement is getting trickier every day, but she believes she has worked with some of the most talented students and hopes they do well in the application process.
“I think we want kids to achieve and to develop their potential but be aware of the cost of that,” Racanelli said. “I hope [my replacement] is alert to some of the struggles and difficulties certain students may be having and that they take the time to address those issues. But I am confident in the person we hire, they will be very much involved in the student body and the faculty.”
During her retirement, Racanelli hopes to travel, give back to her community with volunteer work at local public schools.