Dear Miami Country Day community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mariandl Hufford as Miami Country Day School’s seventh Head of School, effective July 1, 2019. Mariandl will join us from the Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, PA, where she currently serves as the Assistant Head of School and Director of the Center for the Advancement of Girls.
Following a comprehensive national search that involved all members of our community, the Search Committee was unanimous in their nomination of Mrs. Hufford as the person best suited to carry the institution forward:
“Mariandl is the perfect Head of School for Miami Country Day. Brilliant yet humble, a technician and academician, she has been on our radar for a long time and we are blessed to have her. She has an outstanding national reputation and will bring a special kindness and a love for independent education to our campus. When you start talking to her you don't want the conversation to end. She is so engaging and delightful,” said Chris Bellows, Board of Trustees President and Search Committee Co-Chair.
“The search committee vetted multiple exceptional candidates in its search for a new Head that would build on the school’s first 80 years while bringing along new ideas and renewed energy that would ideally be informed by extensive experience in independent schools. Mariandl Hufford is that candidate. Her pervasive authenticity and her discreet but authoritative leadership style is truly captivating. She will assuredly champion every student, every day. No one could do it better,” said Matthew Whitman Lazenby, trustee, parent, and Search Committee Co-Chair.
Mariandl grew up in Suriname and Belgium before moving to the United States to attend Bryn Mawr College, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies. She also holds three master’s degrees in Teaching and Curriculum, Educational Leadership, and Psychological Services, from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively.
A native speaker of Dutch with an affinity for learning new languages, Mariandl began her career as a Latin teacher and counselor at the Woodlynde School in Strafford, PA, an independent, co-educational K-12 school serving students with diverse learning styles. During her tenure at Woodlynde, Mariandl also directed Support Services and the Center for Learning, Teaching, and Professional Development.
At Agnes Irwin, Mariandl has led the Center for the Advancement of Girls, a development and research arm of the school. As Assistant Head of School she has assisted with the daily operations of the school, including supervising the directors of equity and inclusion, service learning, and special programs. She also led the Innovation Team and chaired the following committees: Program, Teaching, and Learning, Sabbatical, Speakers, and Transgender Student Task Force.
Over the course of her career, Mariandl has demonstrated a love for teaching and learning whether as a student, teacher, counselor, curriculum developer, or senior administrator. In her remarks to our faculty and staff, she shared her commitment to wanting to better the lives of children even from a young age and that she sees herself as a kind leader able to straddle the line between tradition and innovation, a quandary faced evermore by 21st century educators.
Upon receiving the news of her selection, Mariandl had the following words to share with our school community:
“I am humbled and thrilled to have been selected as your next Head of School. Joining a community that so firmly values every student, every day, is a dream come true. During my visit, the vitality of the School stood out for me in a myriad of ways. Adults greeted me and each other with genuine warmth. Students participated in joyful and deep learning. Parents spoke fondly of teachers and told of the many ways in which their children have thrived at MCDS. I am counting the days until I connect with you again, and we head into the school’s future together.
Mariandl and her husband Robert have three children – Liz, 29, Alex, 26, and Maddie, 18 – and two lively, charismatic dogs.
I look forward to partnering with Mariandl to provide the Miami Country Day community with the finest independent school experience possible, and hope you will join me in welcoming her to the Country Day family.
In closing, I would like to thank the members of the Head of School Search Committee as well as Peter Philip and Marlene Shaw at Carney, Sandoe & Associates, for all their work in helping us find the right fit for Miami Country Day. The Search Committee is also incredibly grateful for all of you who played a part in the search process. The involvement of our students, faculty and staff, administrators, parents, and alumni was immensely critical in this historic process, and we thank you for taking the time to meet and provide feedback on all of our candidates.
Gary T. Butts
President & COO