Commons announces new head of upper school

Laura Ross. Photography for Greenhill School web site and publications.

Tom Kates

Laura Ross. Photography for Greenhill School web site and publications.

Sammi Handler

Effective July 1, Laura D. Ross will become the new head of upper school, leaving her position as head of upper school at the Greenhill School in Dallas, President Rick Commons announced in an email to students, parents and faculty this morning.

“Mrs. Ross stood apart for her inspiring educational vision, broad experience in secondary and higher education, and notable ability to engage faculty, staff, students and parents in meaningful dialogue,” Commons said in the email.

Ross first came to Greenhill in 2012 where she was “lauded for her impact on the climate and culture of the school,” Commons said. Head of Greenhill School Scott Griggs accredits Ross with improving the student-school relationship.

“This impact is visible when our students have completed the High School Survey of Student Engagement and responded to the statement:  ‘I care about my school,'” Griggs said in an announcement to Greenhill students and parents. “Sixty percent of Greenhill US students who took the survey in 2015 said ‘strongly agree’ compared to 35 percent of our students who took the survey in 2007. Laura’s care and concern for each of our students is evident through the personal relationships she has established and through the leadership and support she has provided through our Social and Emotional Learning initiatives.”

Griggs also said that Ross led Greenhill’s plan to start school at 9 a.m.

“Laura’s intentional focus on the well-being of our students and faculty has helped to create a climate in the Upper School that is extraordinarily productive, but also fun,” Griggs said in the announcement.

Before Greenhill, Ross was the director of college counseling at Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin. She also served as the senior associate director of undergraduate admission and director of transfer admission at Columbia University and “served as a primary reader for the many applications each year from Harvard-Westlake,” Commons said.

Ross grew up in Santa Barbara and graduated from Wesleyan University. She also received a Master’s in Education from Stanford University.

Commons said that faculty and students who met with Ross had high praise for her.

“After having lunch with Mrs. Ross on the quad, one of our prefects wrote, ‘She was absolutely incredible. I was so impressed with how well she aligned with the values of the school and how prepared she seemed to be to address so many of the pressing issues of Harvard-Westlake,'” Commons said.