Ms. Swainson has over 20 years’ experience as an administrator in K-12 Independent Schools. She currently serves as the Head of School for San Francisco Schoolhouse, where she has doubled enrollment and increased student retention.
In her prior leadership positions, Ms. Swainson has established herself as a leading administrator and educator, championing educational excellence, innovation and sustainability.
As an accomplished educational leader, Ms. Swainson has promoted faculty development and leadership within her schools, served on the Community, Teaching, Learning, Primary and Secondary Committees for evaluation and accreditation teams for independent schools, and facilitated presentations and workshops at national conferences. She has taught nearly every discipline from grades three to adult.
As an administrator, she updated grading practices and improved standardized test results at the University of Chicago Laboratory School, and developed a comprehensive DEI structure and strategic plan at Sidwell Friends School that won the NAIS Leading Edge Award for diversity. After leadership transitions at St. James’ Episcopal School, Ms. Swainson established faculty teams to foster dialogue about curriculum and student achievement, along with rebuilding trust and effective team collaboration, and she implemented an extensive evaluation system adopted for K-12 at the Bentley School.
Ms. Swainson holds a Masters of Education in Social Foundations in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish Languages from the University of Virginia. With a background in the arts, Ms. Swainson is an amateur oboist, composer and filmmaker. She has also served on the board of two independent schools.
Ms. Swainson says: “I am pleased to serve as BHS’s 16th Head of School, and I look forward to getting to know the BHS family and greater community even better. The opportunity to positively impact and empower young people through the full arc of their primary and secondary education makes possible magnificent results. BHS’s alumni are evidence of its success.
Empowering girls resonates on personal and professional levels. When I met with BHS students, I was struck by their thoughtful communication, analytical thinking, and courageous spirit. In our lively exchange in the Innovation Centre, these savvy young women proposed many clever ideas to strengthen the already amazing school that they love. Collaborating with them along with the outstanding faculty that nurtures and educates them will present a wonderful occasion to co-create innovations and fulfill BHS’s mission and strategic goals. Not to mention, I look forward to taking my oboe and sitting in on a music ensemble to experience BHS from the student perspective.
I relish this opportunity to build on a 128-year foundation of excellence and continue to execute on the Strategic Plan, which contains objectives that I have effectively addressed in my professional experience at other prominent independent schools.”
In the upcoming year, Head of School, Linda Parker, and Trustees will work with the Senior Leadership Team to ensure a smooth and seamless transition with Ms. Swainson.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank the entire BHS community for its engagement, support and guidance in this search process. I also wish to express our gratitude to each of the members of the Search Committee for engaging in a rigorous process, along with consultants at Carney Sandoe & Associates.
As our Head of School search concludes, please join me in welcoming Ms. Carol A. Swainson to our BHS community.