Fryeburg Academy Announces New Head of School | People

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Fryeburg Academy Announces New Head of School
People, Schools
Fryeburg Academy Announces New Head of School

FRYEBURG, Maine - Erin Mayo of Dallas, Texas has been selected as the new head of school for Fryeburg Academy, the school's board of trustees announced today.

"It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Ms. Mayo to the Fryeburg Academy family," said AO Pike, president of the board. "Her passion for education and extensive experience in the independent school culture made her the unanimous choice of the search committee."

Mayo is currently the assistant head of school for Academics at the Episcopal School of Dallas, one of the top coeducational college preparatory institutions in the nation. She will officially join Fryeburg Academy July 1, 2013.

With more than 20 years of experience in education, Mayo has been involved in all aspects of independent school operations, from curriculum development, faculty recruitment, and strategic development to budgeting, major capital campaigns, and student life. She was promoted to assistant head of school at Episcopal after serving five years as the head of the Upper School.

The trustees and search committee were impressed with the leadership and principles she demonstrated during a major crisis at her current school, involving an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student. Mayo was instrumental in addressing the crisis under very trying circumstances.

Prior to joining Episcopal, she was part of the staff at St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury, Vt., a town academy similar to Fryeburg Academy, for 15 years. Mayo joined the faculty as an English teacher, served three years as the English Department chairperson, and was ultimately promoted to assistant headmaster for Academic Affairs.

Mayo has a master's degree in English from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College and a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in economics from Georgetown University, where she graduated cum laude. Her educational philosophy is grounded in the belief that all students deserve to learn and have the ability to learn. To enable each student to reach their greatest potential, she feels school should serve as a place of respect, growth, achievement, and positive identity.

Mayo will succeed Daniel G. Lee, who is retiring after serving as Fryeburg Academy head of school for 20 years. She will reside in Fryeburg with her husband, English teacher Peter Gurnis, and their two children. Mayo is looking forward to returning to New England to be closer to family in Vermont and Maine.

About the Search Process

The Fryeburg Academy search committee convened for the first time in December 2011. It worked with Gregory Floyd & Associates, a nationally-renowned search firm based in Maine that focuses exclusively on placing senior administrators at secondary schools, to conduct a national search for candidates. The committee included members of the board of trustees, a parent representative, and a faculty representative. The process began with discussions with faculty, staff, students, the local school committee, and trustees about what the academy should be looking for in a new head of school, as well as public communication inviting alumni, parents, and the public to provide input. The committee broadly advertised the position and received applications from, or contacted, more than 30 candidates. Through the summer, the committee reviewed the applicants and identified a short list of candidates. This fall, it interviewed eight candidates and hosted extensive campus visits for four of those candidates. In October, the committee held a final round of visits and interviews with two finalists, including meetings with the local school committee, open houses with faculty and staff, meetings with students, visits to classes, and extensive structured interviews with the search committee. Both candidates also prepared in-depth papers outlining their thoughts for the future of the academy. In the end, the search committee voted unanimously to recommend Erin Mayo to the board of trustees as Fryeburg Academy's next head of school.

About Fryeburg Academy

Founded in 1792 with John Hancock signing its charter and statesman Daniel Webster serving as one of its early Headmasters, Fryeburg Academy is one of the nation's longest-operating schools. It was also one of the first secondary schools in the U.S. to educate women and men under the same roof.

This independent secondary school, one of 10 town academies in Maine, educates more than 450 students from western Maine and eastern New Hampshire as well as 160 boarding students from approximately 20 countries and six states. Both historic and modern, the 50-acre Fryeburg Academy blends the best of traditional and state-of-the-art facilities. Its eight historic buildings are complemented by the Eastman Science Center, Bion R. Cram Library, Ada Cram Wadsworth Arena, Harvey Dow Gibson Recreation Center, and Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center, all built within the last 20 years.

The academy offers more than 100 courses including 14 Advanced Placement and two college-level courses. They consist of more than 20 science-related courses; history; math; English; fine arts courses in photography, film, art, and a variety of music genres; four languages including Latin; technology and wellness; as well as industrial technology including woodworking, metalwork, and architecture/design.

In terms of athletics, the academy has 24 varsity athletic teams including alpine ski racing, baseball, basketball, cheering, cycling, cross-country running, golf, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, Nordic ski racing, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and wrestling. Students can also become involved in more than 15 other activities and clubs ranging from biking, Ultimate Frisbee, and fishing to community service groups, Future Business Leaders of America, and student ambassadors.

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