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The Harpeth Hall School

2018-2023 Strategic Plan

Mission Statement Harpeth Hall is an independent college preparatory school for young women where each student realizes her highest intellectual ability in the sciences, the humanities, and the arts, and discovers her creative and athletic talents. Harpeth Hall develops responsible citizens who have global perspectives and make meaningful contributions to their communities and the world. With a tradition of excellence and a commitment to life-long learning, Harpeth Hall educates young women to think critically, to lead confidently, and to live honorably.




For over 150 years, Harpeth Hall and its predecessor schools have been committed to educating young women at the highest level. Our position as a national leader in girls’ education is the result of continual self-evaluation and improvement, while embracing our rich history and traditions. In the summer of 2017, the Board of Trustees initiated the process to develop our next five-year strategic plan. With the guidance of Kathy Hanson, senior consultant at international consulting firm Marts & Lundy, the Board identified four strategic areas of focus: • What does it mean to be a college preparatory school for girls in the 21st century? • How do we remain on the leading edge amid the major changes in education today? • How can Harpeth Hall meet the challenge of creating an increasingly diverse, inclusive and supportive community? • How will Harpeth Hall maintain its financial strength as a leading independent school in the 21st century? Once these focus areas were identified, the Board appointed a Strategic Planning Committee composed of trustees, administration, faculty, and staff. The Strategic Planning Committee approached this work with a commitment to collaboration and inclusivity. With the Harpeth Hall mission statement at the center of every discussion, we engaged the entire Harpeth Hall community – parents, students, administration, faculty, staff, alumnae, and trustees – through committee meetings, surveys, task forces, and small group discussions during the 2017 - 2018 school year. Additionally, the strategic planning process was informed by the comprehensive self-study Harpeth Hall undertook from May 2015 to October 2016 as part of the school’s reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). The resulting strategic plan provides a clear vision for the future of Harpeth Hall and the priorities for how we should invest our resources and focus our efforts over the next three to five years. The Board of Trustees approved the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan on April 11, 2018. We believe this plan represents an important next chapter in Harpeth Hall’s long and storied history of helping young women realize their highest potential. Thank you to everyone who contributed time, thought, and enthusiasm to develop this truly aspirational vision for the future of Harpeth Hall. Sincerely,

Rachel Reeves Settle ’94 Chair, Strategic Planning Committee

Emily Cate Tidwell ’75 Chair, Board of Trustees


Preparing Girls to Lead in the 21st Century RATIONALE At Harpeth Hall, being a college preparatory school is much more than preparing students academically for the demands of college and gaining admission to selective schools. Our mission is to develop “responsible citizens who have global perspectives and make meaningful contributions to their communities and the world.” We educate our students “to think critically, to lead confidently, and to live honorably.” Our focus is to provide a strong academic foundation while developing the values, skills, and qualities that will serve them well at every stage of life. Students who are confident, problem-solvers, balanced, and resilient will not only thrive in college, but will also be equipped to lead and positively impact their communities throughout life.


College Preparatory GOAL


Continue to prepare our students to thrive in college, career, and life in a complex and ever-changing world.

STRATEGIES • Identify and cultivate the qualities that will allow our students to lead a productive, healthy life and equip them to make meaningful contributions to society. • Provide a curriculum that allows for a flexible, creative, collaborative, and joyful learning environment to instill a depth of understanding and love of learning that endures. • Intentionally teach the skills required to thoughtfully navigate and successfully engage in a complex, ever changing, and globalized society. • Continue our tradition of preparing students to seize the opportunities available to them in college, to take academic risk, and to maximize their experience. • Strengthen relationships among all constituents associated with Harpeth Hall to empower and support one another throughout life.


Embracing our Leadership in a Dynamic Environment RATIONALE Harpeth Hall has earned its position as a national leader in girls’ education by continually and objectively evaluating everything we do. Maintaining excellence amid the major changes occurring in education today requires us once again to take bold action. By capitalizing on our strengths and seizing our strategic opportunities, we ensure the fulfillment of our mission that each student realizes her highest potential in the sciences, the humanities, and the arts. The Centers of Excellence that result from execution of this plan will formalize the outstanding work already being done and provide the platform and resources to further elevate our program. Attracting, developing, and retaining faculty remains key to preserving our status as a leading edge institution. These Centers will support the faculty’s work in the classroom and offer them additional leadership opportunities.


Leading Edge GOAL


Secure Harpeth Hall’s position as a nationally recognized innovator in girls’ education through practices and programs that inspire and enable every girl to reach her potential.

STRATEGIES • Establish a Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning to generate and support interdisciplinary initiatives for critical thinking, creativity, and scholarship. • Establish a Center of Excellence in Writing and Communication to equip each student with the tools to discover and express her authentic voice. • Expand the Center for STEM Education for Girls to ensure each student is a confident STEM thinker and has the foundation and ability to pursue STEM pathways at the highest level. • Review and study our Performing Arts program and determine how to promote more student participation at all grade levels and fully incorporate it into our interdisciplinary curriculum. • Ensure that our facilities support our Leading Edge vision.


Cultivating Community RATIONALE The ability to engage in civil discourse is essential to navigating a world that is complex and rapidly changing. We must equip our faculty and students with the skills to explore challenging topics thoughtfully, respectfully and with an intent to listen and to learn. Doing so will provide an open, nurturing learning environment for all and prepare our girls for the world that awaits them beyond Harpeth Hall. Diversity within our school community is another important element to achieving our mission of developing responsible citizens with global perspectives. Diversity of thought and background within our faculty, staff, and students enhances the educational experience and are crucial ingredients for an institution seeking to develop tomorrow’s leaders. Harpeth Hall parents, students, and alumnae consistently praise the school’s nurturing and supportive community. Building on this foundation, we want to intentionally affirm each student’s unique role in our community and ensure that all families feel connected and integrated into the life of the school. 8

Community GOAL


Continue to cultivate and promote a school that is diverse, welcoming, and inclusive and that appreciates differences while fostering community.

STRATEGIES • Empower and equip the Harpeth Hall community with the knowledge and skills to successfully engage with one another and an ever-changing world. • Develop effective ways to attract and retain highly qualified faculty and staff that reflect an increasingly diverse school community. • Increase the applicant pool from underrepresented groups. • Expand initiatives to ensure all students and families are fully integrated into the Harpeth Hall experience. • Broaden our students’ educational opportunities to support our mission of developing global perspectives. • Ensure each girl is known and valued for her contributions to the Harpeth Hall community, affirming her sense of belonging.


Elevating our Financial Strength RATIONALE Harpeth Hall is fortunate to be planning from a position of financial strength. We have a healthy endowment as well as a history of full enrollment and disciplined financial management. Continuing to provide the educational experience our families rightly expect from an institution of our national standing requires that we grow our endowment while maintaining our financial discipline. We identified several areas where additional support from endowed resources would be of significant benefit. First, we recognize the significant financial investment our families are making in their daughters’ education and their need to plan for future tuition costs. We are committed to reducing volatility in tuition increases through a combination of prudent financial management, endowment support, and annual giving. Second, a student’s financial resources should not limit her access to any of the school’s offerings. We are committed to educating the Whole Girl and believe participation in Harpeth Hall’s full program is essential to achieving this commitment. Third, the Harpeth Hall community is enriched when students from a wide range of backgrounds are represented in our student body. It is important that Harpeth Hall is a viable option for qualified students regardless of socio-economic background. An endowed financial aid program will help us attract and enroll the best and the brightest girls in Nashville while lessening the impact on our annual operating budget. Finally, Harpeth Hall’s strength is built upon the foundation laid by those who came before us. By celebrating this legacy of generosity, we hope to instill within all our constituencies the genuine desire to support the school with their time, talents, and resources. Just as our Seniors pledge each year to “transmit this school not less, but greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted” to them, we want each graduate to leave Harpeth Hall grateful for her experience and eager to give back throughout her life. 10

Financial Strength GOAL


Sustain and develop financial resources that serve current and future generations in ways that amplify Harpeth Hall’s core values.

STRATEGIES • Build endowed resources to allow the school to fully fund financial aid. • Moderate tuition increases with sensitivity to the need of Harpeth Hall families to plan for the future. • Build endowed resources to ensure that all students can participate in the school’s full program. • Nurture the culture of philanthropy at Harpeth Hall to encourage support from all constituencies.



STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE Rachel Reeves Settle ’94, Committee Chair, Trustee

Jane Berry Jacques ’72, Board Vice Chair, Past Parent

Judi O’Brien, Director of the Middle School

Stephanie Balmer, Head of School, Ex-Officio

Armistead Lemon, Director of the Upper School

Carol Len Portis, Trustee, Past Parent

Elizabeth Dennis, Trustee, Current Parent

Anne Maradik, Trustee, Current Parent, President of HHPA

Barry Stowe, Trustee, Current Parent

Claire Gonzalez, Upper School World Languages

Jon Meacham, Trustee, Current Parent

Maureen Hill, Trustee, Middle School Math Department Chair

Susan Moll, Director of Advancement

Emily Cate Tidwell ’75, Board Chair and President, Past Parent, Ex-Officio

Collins Weaver Hooper ’88, Trustee, Current Parent, President-elect of HHPA

Tom Murphy, Director of Finance and Operations

Wellesley Wilson, Director of Admission and Financial Aid


Maureen Hill



Armistead Lemon


Rachel Reeves Settle ’94, Co-Chair

Susan Moll

Barry Stowe, Chair

Carol Len Portis, Co-Chair

Judi O’Brien

Mike Blackburn

Collins Weaver Hooper ’88

Mary Ellen Pethel

Patty Litton Delony ’66

Kathy Rolfe

Becky Smith

Bob Doolittle

Emily Cate Tidwell ’75, Ex Officio

Jennifer Webster

John T. Johnson


Tad Wert

Frank Majors

Christele Albright


Noni Nielsen ’93

Stephanie Balmer, Ex Officio

Martha Ivester

Jenny Byers


Armistead Lemon Kristen Meltesen Susan Moll Judi O’Brien Adam Wilsman

TRUSTEES Jane Berry Jacques ’72, Chair Didi Kaplan Biesman ’82 Amit Misra Frank Majors


Rachel Reeves Settle ’94


Emily Cate Tidwell ’75, Ex Officio

Elizabeth Dennis, Chair


Anne Maradik Rachel Reeves Settle ’94

Jennifer Adams Stephanie Balmer, Ex Officio

Emily Cate Tidwell ’75, Ex Officio

Claire Gonzalez


Susan Moll

Stephanie Balmer, Ex Officio Clark Harwell

Jessica Viner

Jay Sangervasi Rachel Reeves Settle ’94 Cathy Cate Sullivan ’73 Jackie Glover Thompson ’64 Emily Cate Tidwell ’75, Ex Officio David Vandewater Jack Wallace FACULTY & STAFF Stephanie Balmer, Ex Officio Laura Edwards Susan Moll Tom Murphy Wellesley Wilson ALUMNA REPRESENTATIVE Ellen Green Hoffman ’04

Wellesley Wilson Stephanie Zeiger



BOARD OF TRUSTEES Emily Cate Tidwell ’75 Chair and President

Elizabeth Dennis


John Ingram, Vice Chair

John T. Johnson Whitson Lowe

Stephanie Balmer Head of School

Jane Berry Jacques ’72 Vice Chair Cathy Cate Sullivan ’73 Treasurer

Frank Majors Tricia McDowell Jon Meacham Amit Misra

Jackie Glover Thompson ’64 Secretary

Katie Groos Nelson ’80

Didi Kaplan Biesman ’82

Brian Reames

Mike Blackburn

Kathy Rolfe

Brie Brown Buchanan ’99

Jay Sangervasi

Craig Buffkin

Rachel Reeves Settle ’94

Trudy Ward Carpenter ’76

Barry Stowe

Mary Britton Thompson Cummings ’93

David Vandewater

Adelaide Davis ’79

Jack Wallace

Patty Litton Delony ’66

Mandy Haynes Young ’85

Carol Len Portis

Noni Nielsen ’93, President of Alumnae Association Meredith McDonald Stewart ’96 President-Elect of Alumnae Association Anne Maradik President of Parents’ Association Collins Weaver Hooper ’88 President-Elect of Parents’ Association Marcie Allen Van Mol ’92 Co-Chair of National Advisory Council Alison Smith ’79 Co-Chair of National Advisory Council Maureen Hill, Faculty Representative



The Harpeth Hall School • 3801 Hobbs Road • Nashville, Tennessee 37215

Harpeth Hall Strategic Plan 2018-23  
Harpeth Hall Strategic Plan 2018-23