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    An Announcement for the Foxcroft Community: Head of School announces plans to retire in June 2014

    9/26/2012
    Her retirement date, which allows for a generous 22-month search and transition process, coincides with the celebration of Foxcroft’s Centennial and the conclusion of Leipheimer’s 25th year as Head.

    “Foxcroft is incredibly well positioned not only for a second century, but also for the vision of new leadership to address the omnipresent challenges of an ever changing world,” said Leipheimer in a letter to the Chair of the Board of Trustees. “From every corner of the Foxcroft world, that leader will find more talent, diversity, character, energy, creativity, and commitment than seem humanly imaginable. A new partner and a new century-- together, they will for certain be a winning combination.”

    In a letter to the community, Marco W. Hellman, the Chair of Foxcroft’s Board of Trustees, noted Leipheimer’s extraordinary leadership. “She led Foxcroft from a period of acute social and financial turmoil into a period of substantial growth and development at every level,” he said, “and when she departs, she will leave behind a stable, strong, and vibrant school.

    “She will always be a part of our Foxcroft family,” he added. “Embracing her legacy, let us move forward with the optimism, confidence, and deep resolve she has fostered in us.”

    Leipheimer will be spending the next two years continuing to lead the School and traveling the country celebrating with the entire community Foxcroft’s first 100 years.

    Please see below for Mary Lou’s letter to Hellman and his letter to the community, or click here to view a PDF of the announcement sent to the Foxcroft School community.

    Dear Mick,

    Forty-five years ago this very month, I arrived at Foxcroft to teach English. At the time I planned to stay for two years. Now, in what seems the blink of an eye, I plan to retire in two years, in June 2014. My decision heeds my mother’s advice given shortly after my first “second generationer” enrolled. A long-serving educator herself, she said “The second generation is a piece of cake; when the third one comes, move on!” As the third nears the horizon, the time seems right for me and, most importantly, right for the School.

    Indeed, Foxcroft is incredibly well positioned not only for a second century, but also for the vision of new leadership to address the omnipresent challenges of an ever changing world. From every corner of the Foxcroft world, that leader will find more talent, diversity, character, energy, creativity, and commitment than seem humanly imaginable. A new partner and a new century—together, they will for certain be a winning combination.

    I have loved my Foxcroft journey—all six responsibilities and all six residences. Whether the classroom English teacher or the Head of School, I have experienced the joy of living, working, and raising my son Brian in this beautiful place; I have witnessed the power of “everything we do is curriculum;” I have seen the transformational value of a mission that is truly student centered; and I have been sustained by the authentic relationships with students, faculty, alumnae, parents, and friends. Foxcroft’s family has been my family! Thank you; I have been humbled and honored to walk with you.

    Throughout, I have been blessed with a committed, wise, and supportive Board of Trustees and with ever available Board Chairs. I have never nor will I ever take that for granted.

    As the journey moves on, my dedication will be unwavering, and my call to all will be the same: Come home on April 25-27, 2014, to celebrate Foxcroft’s Centennial and to launch her new day.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Mary Louise Leipheimer
    Head of School

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Members of Our Beloved Foxcroft Community,

    Like so many in the Foxcroft family, I had my first memorable experience at the School sitting nervously in Mary Lou Leipheimer’s office awaiting the parent interview for my daughter’s potential admission. The conversation that ensued marked the beginning of a decade-long relationship that blossomed and deepened as my three Foxcroft daughters expanded their educational and behavioral foundations and grew confident with their voices. Adolescence is such a critical phase of life, and we step out onto its “ice” not knowing if the surface is thinner than paper or thicker than castle walls. Mary Lou has been our trusted guide, and with her help, we knew where to step safely. I have shared this journey with alumnae, faculty members, staff, fellow parents and the broader Middleburg community. What separates outstanding leaders is that they give us the confidence to navigate difficult terrain toward safe ground.

    As we grew to trust and then cherish Mary Lou, we knew there would come a time when she would choose to do something different with her life, and we have now reached that point, though it saddens us to confront this truth. Mary Lou has been part of our community for 45 years, first as an educator in the English department and then for 24 years as Head of School, the ninth in its history. She led Foxcroft from a period of acute social and financial turmoil into a period of substantial growth and development at every level; and when she departs, she will leave behind a stable, strong and vibrant school. Torn, I am reminded of the quote from Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

    From the strength of this foundation, your Trustees are launching a search for a new Head of School for the 2014-2015 school year. The search, led by Reggie Groves ’76 and Sally Bartholomay Downey ’78, will commence immediately with the formation of a search committee and engagement of alumnae, faculty, staff, parents and students to help determine the attributes we should seek in our next Head of School.

    Mary Lou will remain Head of School through June 2014. We are grateful for the transition time that Mary Lou has offered. With this time, we are confident that we can proceed with diligence to assure a successful search process. In addition, the new Head will have sufficient time with Mary Lou to ensure that our mission, history and time-tested traditions will successfully be passed to future generations.

    On behalf of the Trustees, let me thank Mary Lou with my whole heart. She will always be a part of our Foxcroft family. Embracing her legacy, let us move forward with the optimism, confidence and deep resolve she has fostered in us.

    Yours sincerely,
    Marco W. Hellman
    Chair, Board of Trustees