Big Fish: Garrison Forest School Starts the School Year Under New Leadership for the First Time in 20 Years
This fall, for the first time in two decades, the Garrison Forest School community welcomes a change in leadership. Dr. Kim Roberts, a California native with an impressive and varied background in education, will take the place of long-term head Peter O’Neill, who led the independent K-12 girls’ school in Owings Mills for 20 years before retiring at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.
Replacing the beloved O’Neill, who had become a fixture at the school during his lengthy tenure, will be a challenge. But Roberts, who exudes confidence, youthful energy, and a keen sharpness, appears more than prepared to greet the task head on. Also in her favor, Roberts is a firm believer in single-sex education, of which she herself is a product. Recently, Roberts broke from her busy start-of-the-year schedule to share a bit about herself, what drew her to Garrison Forest, and her vision for the school’s future.
You were living on the West Coast when you interviewed and accepted the position at Garrison Forest. How did you know this job, on the other side of the country, would be a good fit?
I had spent ten years in Charlottesville, Virginia, so I felt like the Mid-Atlantic was somewhat known to me. My husband is from Virginia. I also lived in Washington, D.C. for a couple years. But more than the city itself, the school felt like a good fit.
Peter O’Neill was head of the school at Garrison for 20 years. What’s it feel like to step into the position after him, given that he was a fixture here for so long?
He was incredibly supportive of me, and continues to be. That helps a lot. It’s a little daunting to follow a veteran. My feeling is that he was adored in the Garrison community, but they’re also excited for change. And, he always felt like a woman should be leading the school.
What’s at the top of your priority list as the new head of Garrison Forest?
This first year, I just need to get to know the people in the community. Schools are all about people anyway. So my top priority is to get to know the students, families, and people who work here. Beyond that, I’m really trying to look closely at our academic program, to make sure we’re delivering the best and most relevant program we can. Read More →