Dr. Susan R. Groesbeck has been named interim head of Girls Preparatory School effective July 1, officials announced Tuesday. Dr. Groesbeck’s 41-year career has included both public and private education, co-ed and single sex schools.
She replaces Randy Tucker, who will be interim head of school at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tn.
Her long career gives her an international perspective which spans cultures and continent, officials said. Currently, she is head of school/principal of Havergal College in Toronto, Ont., a girls’ K-12 day and boarding school. Her former appointments include Head of School at Hilton Head Preparatory School and Head of School at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta.
Dr. Groesbeck graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Skidmore College and received both a master’s in linguistics and doctorate in education from the University of Rochester. Her research focused on the work of Dr. Ted Sizer of Brown University, studying curriculum and program change. She was the recipient of two Fulbright grants to study in both Germany and Japan, where her work focused on schools and change. She was selected as a 2008 Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University, where she studied education theory.
At Havergal College, Dr. Groesbeck currently oversees a 22-acre historical day and boarding facility with a $30 million annual budget. She manages a faculty and staff of 214 employees. Under her leadership, the 2009-2014 Havergal Strategic Plan, “A Culture of Capability,” was researched, authored and implemented. She has worked with the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the Wellesley College Centers on gender issues.
On girls’ education and the work ahead at GPS, Dr. Groesbeck said, “I firmly believe that there are no limits for girls. Having dedicated my life’s work to education, I understand the ‘whole girl,’ not just academics. I love nothing more than attending a music concert, an athletic event or observing a stellar classroom presentation. I will ensure that GPS’s current operating structure and the school facilities support and enable the curricular goals with a focus on continuing to provide broad opportunities to the students. I view the interim position as an opportunity to move the school forward, not as a holding operation.”
Dr. Groesbeck was recently named the Whitty Ransome Educator of the Year by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. An enthusiastic teacher for 20 years, she was named New York State’s Teacher of the Year and one of ten teachers nationwide to receive an “A+ Award” from President Clinton. She has served as a consultant to the College Board, conducting AP seminars across the country. Dr. Groesbeck has been married to Mark Groesbeck for 38 years. They have two grown daughters and three young grandsons.
Dr. Steve Fry, head of middle school at Harrisburg Academy in Lemoyne, Pa., said, “Her strengths are that she is very much a CEO and can navigate the many necessary channels. However, she manages to keep in touch day to day with the academics. Another of her many strengths is that she excels at making people feel welcome.” Ann Kerwin, current Board Chair at Havergal, says, “Dr. Groesbeck’s purpose is to educate the whole girl in a global context. She is a forward thinker. Dr. Groesbeck demands a lot from her faculty and staff, but it is far less than she demands of herself.”
Nini Davenport, chairwoman of GPS board of trustees, said, "I am thrilled to welcome Sue to GPS and to Chattanooga. She is an extraordinary leader whose career reflects her passion for helping students develop a lifelong love of learning. We are privileged to have her wisdom, leadership and experience for the coming school year."