By Judd Liebman
President Thomas C. Hudnut will be succeeded by Rick Commons, a former Harvard-Westlake teacher, coach and dean who is headmaster of Groton School in Massachusetts, it was announced Monday in 7:30 a.m. faculty meetings on both upper and middle school campuses.
“Groton is a wonderful school, and we would only want at Harvard-Westlake somebody who is familiar with top flight education and appreciates academic excellence which is at the core of what this school is all about,” Hudnut said.
Commons taught at Harvard-Westlake from 1992 to 1997 as an English teacher, college counselor, assistant dean and soccer coach. Commons’ wife, Lindsay McNiel graduated Harvard-Westlake in 1996. Commons attended the University of Virginia and received his Masters of Arts in Teaching from Stanford University and a Master of Arts from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
“After leaving Harvard-Westlake and prior to joining Groton, Rick was Dean of Students and Assistant Headmaster at McDonogh School, a K-12 day and boarding school near Baltimore, Md. He started his career at Woodberry Forest School, a boarding school in Central Virginia,” Hudnut wrote in a letter to the Harvard-Westlake community.
“I believe Rick is uniquely qualified to hold this position for the next generation,” Hudnut wrote.
The Board of Trustees has been searching for a successor for many years, said Chair of the Board of Trustees Christine Hazy. The Board chose to hire someone not currently employed by Harvard-Westlake because the trustees wanted the new President to have experience leading a top academic institution, Hudnut said.
“I’m tremendously excited,” Hudnut said. “He’s going to do a wonderful job. He’s the right person in the place at the right time.”
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