Brooks School is proud to share that Associate Head of School for Academic Affairs Susanna Waters has been named the next head of Fay School.
“Over the course of her 15 years at Brooks, Susanna Waters has done all one can do in boarding school life, and she has done all of it to the very highest standards,” said Brooks’ Head of School John Packard about the former history department chair, a George Frederick Vought Prize winner and Holcombe Faculty Chair recipient. “She has been and remains an extraordinary history teacher and her commitment to students through these years, in and out of the classroom, has always come from the heart.”
“Her journey as an administrator has been meteoric,” Packard added of the educator, who recently completed her M.Ed in Private School Leadership at Columbia University, as well as a fellowship with Leadership + Design.
“Susanna excelled at every turn and possesses a deep intellect, a remarkable work ethic, an insatiable appetite for growth, a commitment to equity and inclusion and a love for school and working with, and on behalf of, young people,” he said. “These many contributions have made Brooks School a better place for all of us to live and learn. We will miss her and all she has given to Brooks so selflessly, but know well that our loss is Fay School's gain.”
The Waters family: Susanna and Willie (who received Brooks School’s George Frederick Vought Prize together — the only time two new teachers have ever shared the honor) with Ainsley, age 10, Callum, age 6, and Camilla, age 2.
Waters and her family — husband Willie Waters ’02, associate director of admission and alumni gifts officer, and their three children, Ainsley, 10; Callum, 6; and Camilla, 2 — will finish the academic year at Brooks before departing Chace House to move to Southborough, Massachusetts for her appointment beginning July 1, 2024.
“I am thrilled to become a moose!” said Waters, praising Fay School’s “incredibly warm, vibrant and diverse community wholly dedicated to its mission that ‘nurtures each child’s potential through a broad, balanced and challenging program that establishes the foundation for a meaningful life.’”
“It is abundantly clear to me that the faculty and staff are best in class, as the generations of Fay students I have been fortunate to teach at Brooks rave about their alma mater,” she said.
Among what she’s looking forward to, Waters lists getting to know students and families, family-style meals, color-team competitions and signature Fay programs Vox Inventum and Creativity & Design. “I’m also excited for my own children to attend Fay and benefit from all of the above,” she said. “What lucky kids!”
In looking back at her leadership at Brooks for the past decade and a half, it’s clear that the Brooks community has been pretty lucky, too.
Teachers have benefitted from her role in building collaboration across the academic and department chair teams, while students have enjoyed the result of Waters’s work with colleagues to advance competency-based education; prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the curriculum; and expand the school’s elective offerings, signature programs and computer science program.
Thanks to Waters, everyone at Brooks experiences an All-Community Read each year, learns about the school’s Land Acknowledgement and commits to a Community Pledge and a Community Covenant.
“I’m proud of the research and planning that we’ve committed to renovating the academic building in line with mission and vision,” Waters shared. “I also wish to celebrate the increasing prioritization of sustainability across all areas of school life. These initiatives, along with the establishment of the Davis Fellows program, will hopefully be a part of my legacy at Brooks.”
Add to this the impact that Willie Waters has made during his 17 years working at the school as a dean of students, history teacher and championship-winning ice hockey and soccer coach (his boys 1st soccer team won three ISL titles and two New England championships) and it’s easy to see the family’s contributions to Brooks are significant.
“It has been so fun to watch this community come together and celebrate the best of Brooks … whether singing Hymn 711 in Chapel, hearing ‘B-R-O-O-K-S’ booming from the bleachers or witnessing Firetrail Theater productions that bring the house down,” said Susanna Waters. “I will miss the people, most of all, and the unique intensity of school spirit at Brooks. It’s electric!”
“Brooks School has been my home for 15 years and also gave me the gift of family. I will never be able to adequately express the depth of my gratitude,” she reflected, insisting that her departure at the end of this school year will be more, ‘See you later,’ than, ‘Farewell.’ “I am lucky to be married to an alum. I know we will come back to visit often.”
THE FULL TEXT OF FAY SCHOOL’S OCTOBER 2 ANNOUNCEMENT IS REPRINTED BELOW WITH PERMISSION.
Dear Members of the Fay School Community,
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Susanna Whitaker Waters as Head of Fay School beginning July 2024. This appointment was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees following the recommendation of the Search Committee. Susanna will be Fay’s ninth head of school and the first woman since our founder, Eliza B. Fay, to hold this position. We are thrilled to welcome Susanna and her family to Fay.
Susanna is currently Associate Head of School for Academic Affairs at Brooks School in North Andover. Since joining Brooks School in 2009, she has been a teacher, coach, dorm parent, advisor, history department chair, Diversity Leadership Council member, and Dean of Academic Affairs. Susanna won an award for outstanding contributions to the school early on in her time at Brooks, and she later held an endowed faculty chair for excellence in teaching and leadership. At Brooks and prior to her time there, Susanna has taught multiple grade levels and has rich and varied curricular experience. Susanna holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor of arts degree from St. Lawrence University, in addition to a master’s degree in education in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a graduate of Park School (K-8) and Concord Academy (9-12). She serves on the Board of Trustees at Park. She has also served as a trustee at The Village School, a private preschool in Boxford, MA, and as a consultant for Phillips Academy (Andover).
Next summer, Susanna will be moving to the Fay campus with her husband, Willie Waters, who currently serves as Associate Director of Admission and Alumni Gifts Officer at Brooks School, and her three children, Ainsley, age 10; Callum, age 6; and Camilla, age 2.
Susanna's appointment follows an international search. In a large pool of highly qualified candidates, Susanna truly stood out: the Committee was impressed with Susanna’s expertise in curriculum development, her extensive experience working with students and families, her thoughtful reflections on the future direction of Fay, and her enthusiasm, energy, and warmth.
As we move forward, the Board has created a transition plan and is in the process of convening a Transition Committee representing a broad cross-section of the Fay community. Susanna is looking forward to visiting campus in the coming weeks and spending time with students, families, faculty, and staff; we will share more information about these meetings shortly. In the next few days, Susanna will send an introductory email. She is eager to learn more about Fay and excited to engage with the whole community during the transition.
President, Board of Trustees