New Head of School Announcement

Rio Grande New Head of School Announcement
February 21, 2019
Dear Rio Grande School Community:
I am pleased to announce that Ahlum Scarola has been appointed to be the next Head of School, effective July 1, 2019. Ahlum succeeds Nigel, who will retire June 30, 2019, after skillfully leading the RGS community for five years. Nigel and the rest of the administration will work closely with Ahlum in the months ahead to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.
Ahlum comes to us from the Mandela International Magnet School here in Santa Fe where he has been the Principal since December 2017. Before that, Ahlum was the Principal of Acequia Madre Elementary School for three years. Ahlum’s first job after coming to Santa Fe was at RGS as a teacher and then Administrative Associate for five years. Ahlum received his Master of Arts in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College in 2003 and his Educational Leadership Licensure in 2011. Ahlum and his wife, Cara, have two children, Ryder (11) who is a 6th grader at RGS and Sylvie (7).
Ahlum is a proven leader and looks forward to supporting the mission, core values and culture of the school and is excited to move RGS forward. Ahlum is eager to begin building, expanding and deepening his relationships at RGS and understands the importance of building community both within the school and in the larger community. Ahlum fully embraces RGS’ balance of academic rigor and social-emotional learning and will tackle the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for RGS. Ahlum’s professionalism, affability and enthusiasm were felt by all the constituencies at RGS. Ahlum had the most widespread support from the community during his two-day visit in early February.
This appointment is the result of a long and thoughtful search that began last September when the Search Committee began a national effort to recruit the strongest and best matched candidates to our school. From an initial pool of more than thirty candidates who expressed interest in the position, the Search Committee eventually reduced the pool to eight candidates who were invited to confidential interviews over the weekend of January 18th. Following these interviews, three candidates and their spouses were invited to visit the school where they met with students, faculty, staff members, parents, administrators and trustees. On February 9th, the Search Committee unanimously selected Ahlum as its nominee to the Board of Trustees and on February 11th, the trustees unanimously accepted the recommendation.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I extend my deep gratitude to all members of the Rio Grande School community for your commitment to this search process and for your invaluable and thoughtful feedback. I am especially grateful to Search Committee Chair Bob Kirkpatrick and Vice-Chair Ned Walpin, and fellow Committee members Audrey Abeyta, Daisy Dominguez, Dave Ritzmann, Wilson Scanlan, Jessica Smucker, Whitney Walker and Rachel White for their countless hours of dedicated service to this search and our school. We are also grateful for the guidance and support of Marcus Hurlbut and Joan Beauregard of Educators’ Collaborative.
The selection of the Head of School is one of the greatest responsibilities of trusteeship, and all of us in the RGS family can be proud not only that Ahlum and Cara and their children have accepted the appointment, but also that the scope of the search was so extensive and the qualities of the interested candidates were so outstanding. 
Please join me in celebrating and welcoming (back) Ahlum, Cara, Ryder and Sylvie to RGS. We are delighted they are joining us and look forward to a bright future with Ahlum as our next Head of School.
Ocean Munds-Dry
Chair, Board of Trustees
Dear Rio Grande School Community,
I am deeply honored by the selection of the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees, and humbled by the opportunity to join RGS as the next Head of School. As a former educator and a current parent at RGS, I am aware of and excited by the school’s strong reputation and commitment to excellence. The school’s mission to challenge each child’s intellect, to inspire each child’s imagination, and to nurture each child’s desire to learn resonates with my own educational philosophy.
During the interview process, I spoke with members of each school constituency. I engaged with thoughtful and endearing students, talented educators, supportive parents, and dedicated board members. Through these conversations, it was clear to see that all members share a deep pride in their community and a united vision of providing broad opportunities that allow students to explore their interests and cultivate a lifelong love of learning.
I look forward to working with the Transition Committee in scheduling several visits to campus this spring in preparation for the 2019-2020 school year. Their support and guidance will be invaluable as I deepen my knowledge of RGS and continue to develop important relationships within the school. I am grateful for the hard work and dedication with which Nigel Taplin has led the school over the last five years. I will work closely with him to ensure a smooth transition.
I look forward to knowing and working with each of you over the coming months and years and am eager to collaboratively build on the school’s mission and the future vision for RGS. I cannot wait to see the halls filled with the life and sounds of students next fall. In the meantime, my office door will be open throughout the summer – please feel free to stop by to say hello and share your thoughts.  
Ahlum Scarola,
Head of School Designate, 2019-2020