Our current Assistant Head for Academics, has accepted our invitation to succeed David Frankenberg and serve as our new Head of Drew School, effective July 1, 2024.
Read the full letter from Maija Muncy P’24, Chair, Board of Trustees below.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am thrilled to announce that Saya McKenna, our current Assistant Head for Academics, has accepted our invitation to succeed David Frankenberg and serve as our new Head of Drew School, effective July 1, 2024.
As you all know, beginning in August 2023, the Search Committee, co-chaired by Lisa Busby P’26 and Marjorie McMorris P’22, worked with search consultants Mary Seppala and Nat Conard of Educators Collaborative to identify our next Head of School. More than 60 candidates from throughout the U.S. and abroad received serious consideration by Mary and Nat, and the Search Committee reviewed the credentials of the 19 strongest candidates. The Committee narrowed that pool to 11 individuals who were invited for a confidential round of virtual interviews.
Subsequently, four finalists visited the campus for comprehensive two-day interviews.
In addition to observing and participating in interviews, the Search Committee conducted detailed reference checks and reviewed the survey feedback from parents/guardians, students, faculty and staff, and trustees. On December 3, the Search Committee unanimously and enthusiastically selected Saya as its nominee to the Board of Trustees to serve as the next Head of School, and the Trustees unanimously ratified this recommendation at a Board meeting on December 5.
A graduate of Stanford University, where she majored in international relations, Saya began her career in advertising but as the daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and wife of a teacher, it was her true calling that she would continue her family tradition as an educator. Over the course of 20 years at Head Royce School, Saya taught English and history, for which she was recognized with the Chao Family Chair Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Grannie J. Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching, and she consistently took on administrative responsibilities. She served as the Sophomore Class Dean, Director of Global Citizenship, Upper School Assistant Division Head, Interim Upper School Division Head, and Special Projects Administrator before coming to Drew as Assistant Head for Academics in 2022.
A committed progressive and experiential educator, along the way Saya additionally co-founded the Institute for Applied Learning at Head Royce and served as a founding Board Member and Secretary for the Global Education Benchmark Group.
Described by her references as a tireless advocate for students, families, and teachers, and a data-driven thinker and believer in best practice, Saya's passion for and deep understanding of progressive education also shined through in her time with our community. Those who know Saya remark on her warmth, empathy, approachability, and the clear alignment between her values and the values and mission of Drew. One of her fellow educators from Head-Royce observed that this past year, “It’s been fun watching Saya fall in love with Drew.”
Drew’s Search Committee Chairs, Marjorie McMorris and Lisa Busby, share these reflections on the search process:
“Saya’s deep understanding of school design, combined with her decades of experience refining and redesigning systems to meet the needs of all school constituencies, impressed the Search Committee from the start. In our four-month journey, which began with 60+ candidates and ended with four finalists, Saya’s professional and character strengths emerged as the ideal match for Drew. We are thrilled with this outcome.”
In accepting her appointment as Head of School, Saya stated:
"I am so honored and excited by the opportunity to serve in this leadership role and to further build upon the amazing work we are doing at Drew! Please know that this vote of confidence from the Drew community is deeply meaningful for me. I can’t wait to get started in the process of deepening and expanding the ways that we can positively shape our students' high school experiences to make them as fulfilling and impactful as possible. I look forward to working together with the entire Drew community to nurture and advance this very special school."
The selection of the Head of School is one of the greatest responsibilities of trusteeship, and the Board and all of us in the Drew community can be proud and excited not only that Saya has accepted the appointment, but also that the Drew community was so invested throughout an extensive national search process. We are delighted with the outcome of the search and look forward to working with Saya in her new role!
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to express my deep appreciation to our Search Co-Chairs Marjorie McMorris and Lisa Busby for their tireless efforts on behalf of Drew, as well to their fellow members of the Search Committee: Andrew Heath/Athletic Director; Joanna Lovett ’06/Director of Admission; Taylor Martin/English Department Chair; and Board Members Tracy Kirkham P’16, Tony Lopez P’24, Eric Schulkin ’09, and Arpana Vidyarthi P’23 who devoted countless hours and great care to the search process to ensure its successful outcome. They, along with every stakeholder who took the time to participate in the process, deserve our heartfelt gratitude.
More information about opportunities to meet and engage with Saya will come in the new year. With the prospect of exciting new leadership, the Board of Trustees looks forward to a bright future for Drew School!
Maija Muncy P’24
Chair, Board of Trustees