Princeton Day School names new head of school for 2023

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Princeton Day School names new head of school after next school year.

Kelley Nicholson-Flynn will succeed Paul J. Stellato, who announced he would step down at the end of the 2022–2023 academic year after 15 years in the role.

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The school announced Nicholson-Flynn’s nomination in a press release on June 15.

Nicholson-Flynn is currently the assistant head of school for operations at Riverdale Country School, a pre-K through grade 12 independent school in the Bronx, N.Y.

She assumed the position in 2020 after serving for eight years as Head of Upper School at Riverdale. Previously, she taught at the Lawrenceville School, where she worked for 14 years in roles of increasing responsibility, including Chair of the Science Department, Chair of the Interdisciplinary Program and Coordinator of Teaching and Learning Programs.

“Throughout the search process, Kelley consistently demonstrated exceptional interpersonal skills, a genuine warmth and an openness to considering a wide range of views and perspectives,” said Rebecca W. Bushnell, chair of the Princeton Day School (PDS) Board of Trustees and a 1970 graduate of the school. “She is an experienced teacher, administrator and scholar who will bring a research-driven and evidence-based approach to her new role.”

Nicholson-Flynn will join Princeton Day School on July 1, 2023.

“I could not be any more excited to join PDS beginning in 2023 and am grateful to the Board of Trustees who have put their faith in me,” said Nicholson-Flynn. “This school has remarkable academic, art and athletics programs that encourage young people to flourish, and a steadfast commitment to being a diverse and equitable community where everyone feels seen, heard and valued. I will look to build on these strengths and ensure that PDS strives for excellence in all that we do and will continue to be a place where all members of our community thrive.”

Dominic Randolph, Riverdale’s Head of School said “Kelley has devoted her life to improving the learning and ethical decision-making of young people in all spheres of school life.”

“I know she will bring her wisdom, her excellence in all that she does, and her broad expertise to Princeton Day School as she continues her work making school environments the very best that they can be for our children,” he said.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bucknell University and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary science studies from Johns Hopkins University, Nicholson-Flynn earned her doctorate in a joint program in Cell and Developmental Biology at Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

She has published in peer-reviewed journals and instructed medical students in histology and cell biology. Nicholson-Flynn has also led multiple programs through the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, including the Klingenstein Summer Institute and the FORGE leadership development program.

Angharad Rebholz, who served on the search committee and is a middle school humanities faculty member and a sixth grade dean, said Nicholson-Flynn’s ability to make space for every voice in a school community is what struck her the most.

“She is a community builder who leads from the heart and brings warmth and compassion to every conversation. At each stage of the Search Committee’s process, we carried with us the charge outlined in the position statement, and Kelley exemplifies the precise characteristics we seek in our next school leader,” she said.

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