A Message from the Trustees of the Board of Education

Welcome to our new Superintendent

February 16, 2023

Your Board of Education is pleased to share that after a robust and thorough search process during these last 12 months, we have unanimously selected our own Dr. Rachel Kelly as the 12th permanent Superintendent of the Bronxville School. The Board plans to vote on Dr. Kelly’s appointment at tonight’s regular meeting, which will be held in the auditorium lobby beginning at 7pm.

The Search Process

The Board’s search process began in March of 2022 with a period of community input to develop the job specifications. An initial round of interviews was conducted in May 2022, after which a decision was made to extend the search to Fall of 2022 with another round of recruiting and more interviews in November and December of 2022. Over the two recruiting periods, our search consultants at School Leadership received 72 expressions of interest from a diverse pool in a nationwide search. After our consultants conducted an initial round of screening interviews with 25 candidates on our behalf, the Board conducted multiple rounds of interviews with the ten most highly qualified candidates. Six of these candidates were from high-performing districts in New York, three were from nationally-ranked districts out of state, and one was from an independent school.

We learned a lot about other districts, as well as our own, in this process. Candidates praised the forward thinking development of our “Bronxville Promise” and the uniqueness of our entire school community being housed in one building. Many candidates knew of and praised our leadership team. We learned that other districts are developing their own version of the “Bronxville Promise,” dealing with similar challenges in communication, working to create a culture of “belonging,” focusing on mental health and beginning to track post-graduate success - just as we are here through our high school and guidance offices. 

Despite her willingness to serve our District as Interim Superintendent, Dr. Kelly did not initially apply for the permanent job, expressing her enjoyment over the years in the Assistant Superintendent role of trusted advisor. In her role as Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Kelly has been an integral part of board meetings and committee meetings on finance, audit, facilities, curriculum, and countless other topics since 2014 - providing perspective and context as the longest-serving member of the administrative team. Although the Board respected her initial decision, the possibility of her candidacy was always a benchmark for other candidates that we considered. When Dr. Kelly expressed her interest late in our process, she was invited to interview. With the experience of having met so many other highly qualified candidates, the Board was eager to ask Dr. Kelly the same questions and objectively measure her responses against the others.

In sum - we came to realize that many of the issues of concern everywhere are being well addressed here at home by Dr. Kelly and the team that knows our community best, and that the candidate best qualified to lead our District was right in front of us. 

Dr. Rachel Kelly

Dr. Kelly is a 28 year veteran of The Bronxville School. She has long been a visible leader at our school who values communication, listening, and engagement with our community. She has developed collaborative relationships with the PTA and the Bronxville School Foundation, as well as our Village’s leadership and police department. Her deep institutional knowledge of the District is matched only by the energy she is excited to bring to her new role. She is committed to continuing to hire and develop great educators and administrators, strengthening academic excellence through innovation, improving communication, cultivating a culture of inclusion, and leading our educational community into the next decade.

Dr. Kelly joined the District in 1995 as our first Director of Special Education, taking on student support (“pupil personnel”) services in 2002 and assuming responsibility for human resources in 2014 when she was named Assistant Superintendent. As the District’s chief personnel officer, she has improved recruiting pipelines and standardized hiring processes across the schools. She has also been commended for her effectiveness in balancing fiscal responsibility and fairness during negotiations with all bargaining units. Dr. Kelly has emphasized early advising and counseling to new teachers, thereby improving the selectivity of the tenure process. Further, she was part of the team that developed the original 2014 Bronxville Promise “Dispositions” as well as the expanded 2019 Bronxville Promise “Outcomes.”

Her engagement and enthusiasm for our community has taken many directions over the years. Most recently - in anticipation of our District’s 100th anniversary year, Dr. Kelly commissioned the school’s alma mater from HS choral director Pam Simpson. She has also played clarinet with the band, and scored a three-pointer in a faculty-student basketball game in the late ‘90s. One December, Dr. Kelly was ‘inadvertently’ entered in the school’s annual “ugly sweater” contest when she arrived at work in what she felt was a festive sweater, reminding all of us of the importance of being able to laugh at one’s self.

Dr. Kelly was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, NY, attended public school there and graduated from SUNY Binghamton. She went on to earn three Masters degrees and her Ph.D from Columbia University. Education runs in her family - her mother was a 5th grade teacher and her husband, Dr. Tom Kelly, has been the Head of School at Horace Mann School in the Bronx for the past 18 years. Her daughter, Emma, is a first year law student at Columbia University Law School. Prior to joining the Bronxville School, Dr. Kelly worked at a private school in Westchester County as a teacher and Assistant Principal; she has also been a research assistant and a Hebrew School Teacher.

We are grateful for the community’s confidence and patience as we carried out one of the most important responsibilities of the Board, and we also acknowledge the contributions of our former colleagues, Jack Bierwith, Tom Curran, and Arleen Thomas, during the first phase of the search. We hope you will join us in congratulating Dr. Kelly in her new role, in this 100th anniversary year for our District, as the 12th and first female Superintendent of the Bronxville School. 

Susan Conniff, President

Michael Brandes, Vice President

Michael Finley

Miki Kapoor

Edward Lennon

Peter McSherry

Jennifer Russo

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