Entering Harvard-Westlake after a year of both difficult and important conversations, new Head of Upper School Laura Ross said she aims to spend her first year focusing on how to best support student needs on a day-to-day basis.
Ross said she plans to use her experience as Head of Upper School at Greenhill School in Dallas to do this most effectively. Referring to Greenhill as the most progressive school in Dallas, Ross said the school was founded with an equity, inclusion and social justice mission.
She said she looks forward to further incorporating these values into Harvard-Westlake culture.
Ross’s predecessor, Liz Resnick, will take on the role of Associate Head of School. Resnick is responsible for all teaching and learning, at both the Middle and Upper School, Ross said.
While Ross mentioned concerns about building relationships with the student body due to its size, she said she plans to immerse herself in the community as much as possible by sitting in on classes and attending student events.
“My overriding interest in schools is the experience of kids,” Ross said. “The education, teachers and everything everybody provides here is incredible, but if you don’t take care of the psycho-social needs of kids, there’s no point. If you’re not in a space to learn, it doesn’t matter what all of these incredible teachers are doing.”
Since officially taking her position July 1, Ross said she has been most impressed and surprised by the overwhelming sense of commitment and community at the school.
“Everyone I’ve met very much feels like it’s their responsibility to do what’s best for the school,” Ross said. “There’s a real sense of collective enterprise. Everyone wants to do their job to the fullest because of what it means for everybody involved.”