Tarpley works for charity arm of Hollywood talent agency

Chronicle Staff

Two months ago, Ryan Tarpley’s work days were filled with prospective upper school students, calls from concerned parents and cafeteria lunches with Upper School Dean Sharon Cuseo. Tarpley, formerly the Assistant Head of Upper School, now spends his day working at the Foundation, what he calls the “philanthropic arm” of the Creative Artists Agency.

CAA is “arguably the most powerful talent agency in the business,” according to hoovers.com, a website that publishes profiles of prominent businesses. These days, Tarpley said, he is organizing a charity event for a public school in New Orleans’ ninth ward, working with Communities in Schools and First Book to promote literacy in Washington, D.C., schools and matching CAA clients wanting to do their part with charity organizations.

“It’s a big change, and it isn’t,” Tarpley said. One of Tarpley’s tasks as Assistant Head of Upper School was overseeing some of the outreach in which the school participates.
“It’s an opportunity for me to do what I did at Harvard-Westlake on a larger scale,” he said. His new job is made easier, he noted, because a number of parents he worked with while at school are involved with CAA.

“[Tarpley] brings great experience from his years at Harvard-Westlake,” said Michelle Kydd Lee. Kydd Lee runs CAA’s Foundation.

Tarpley took his new position in early June. The chance, he said, arose when he heard about CAA’s expansion from acquaintances. When opportunity knocked, the decision to leave was not a difficult one, he said. Tarpley’s position will not be filled.

“The only thing I know, and I wasn’t involved in the decision-making process for obvious reasons, is that a lot of the things I was doing were things I was particularly good at,” Tarpley said. “My departure from Harvard-Westlake gave [the administration] an opportunity to sit back and reflect on what will be good for the school in the long run.”
Cuseo has her own theory about why Tarpley’s position will not be filled.

“He’s going to be much missed,” she said, “but we joke that they couldn’t replace him, so, you know, they didn’t.”

Leaving for CAA won’t stop Tarpley from making frequent visits to the Upper School, he said.

“Are you kidding?,” he said. “In the short time that I’ve been gone, I’ve gone to lunch with old students and with Ms. Cuseo. Harvard-Westlake’s not getting rid of me that quickly.”