October 30, 2018
To the Shipley community,
I am both excited and humbled to have been named as Shipley’s next head of school. Thank you for the warmth and energy I felt from everyone throughout the search. These will serve as a touchstone for me as I aspire to build upon Steve’s legacy and Shipley’s 125 years of success.
The search for a head of school is a search for someone who will not only lead, but join you in loving the school you hold dear. Often, we do not see what we love as others see it. Born and raised in the Philadelphia region, but living elsewhere for the past thirteen years, I have the benefit of knowing Shipley while seeing it with new eyes. So I would like to take this opportunity to share with you what I see and already love at Shipley.
It is rare for a school of Shipley’s caliber also to possess so much potential. Long renowned for educational excellence, love of learning, and compassionate participation in the world, Shipley has taken bold new strides to ensure students are prepared to thrive in a dynamic and frequently challenging world. Shipley’s strategic plan, Vision 20/26, recognizes that we cannot predict with certainty everything our students will need to learn, do, and be. So it positions the School to pursue sustained and sustainable progress while remaining grounded in the values that have defined Shipley for well over a century. Never content to merely adapt to change, Shipley is poised to help shape a global shift in how schools educate students’ hearts and minds. Positive Education’s evidenced-based approach has the potential to secure for years to come Shipley’s belief that its unique combination of academic excellence and attention to personal wellbeing best prepares students for college – and for life. These initiatives align with my personal and pedagogical philosophies, and are among the principal reasons I am eager to begin exploring Shipley’s promise.
I love that at Shipley “smart” is not enough. Here there is a commitment to inspiring and preparing students to live lives of purpose and embrace serving their communities. I saw this firsthand in the extraordinary teaching and learning on campus. It is a message, a mission, a school I am inspired to lead. This culture of compassion is one in which Meredith and I know our own children will thrive, largely because Shipley pursues its mission through an embrace of the benefits afforded by diversity, equity, and inclusion. Shipley has demonstrated courage for the deed of leaning into discomfort inherent in the work necessary to form such a community. Just as intelligence must be coupled with compassion for students to positively impact those around them, courage must be combined with commitment to realizing authentic celebration of diversity as a pillar of strength. Vision 20/26 and Positive Education invest in the type of personal discovery which forms the foundation for profound and lasting growth in students’ appreciation of difference, awareness of bias, and pursuit of a place and time when not only Shipley students, but all people are able to be their full best selves. There is much more to do, as there will always be in this field. As someone whose drive to teach has been grounded in this work, I am energized to share my understandings and skills with similarly committed educators and the entire community.
Shipley boasts unsurpassed academics as well as vibrant arts and athletics programs. Yet, perhaps its most remarkable quality is its climate of palpable kindness and genuine humility. Many an independent school graduate is prepared to tackle the dynamic, demanding world described above. Shipley students, though, are also prepared to shape that same world for good because they know who they are, understand how they think and feel, and are able to admire and cultivate the same in others. Shipley has so much to offer, and a great story to tell. I’m excited to help you share it.
Finally, allow me again to express my gratitude to the Board of Trustees, the search committee, colleagues, families, alumni, and most importantly the students for the hospitality with which you welcomed Meredith and me throughout the search process. Moving back to the Philadelphia region represents a homecoming for our family. Meredith, Maggie, Fran, August and I could not be more thrilled to join the Shipley family. The care and thoughtfulness you have already shown us is a big part of that. We look forward enthusiastically to returning the favor.
With appreciation and anticipation,
Michael G. Turner
October 29, 2018
Dear Shipley Community,
On behalf of the Shipley Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Michael G. Turner as the tenth Head of The Shipley School. Following the robust search process, which included all members of the Shipley community, the Board overwhelmingly supportsthe Search Committee’s recommendation of Michael.
Michael is a lifelong learner. He is a graduate of Germantown Academy and the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts (cum laude). Having next earned a Master of Education from Arcadia University, he expects to complete a Doctorate of Education at The College of William & Mary in May 2019. Currently Head of School at St. Michael’s Episcopal School in Richmond, VA, Michael will join the Shipley community effective July 1, 2019.
Michael is also a forward-thinking, compassionate, and experienced Head of School. Building on an impressive range of administrative positions, Michael will bring outstanding leadership and management to the School, as well as a strong personal commitment to diversity and inclusion, educational excellence, and student well-being. The committee was impressed with Michael’s transformative leadership at St. Michael’s, where he laid out a clear and innovative vision for the School, developed a comprehensive strategic plan to advance that vision, and successfully executed against the strategic plan. The committee was also impressed by the strong rapport he enjoys with St. Michael’s administrators, faculty, families, and students. Michael’s demonstrated commitment to the student and family experience at St. Michael’s, as well as his personal warmth and engagement, make him an excellent fit at Shipley.
Looking ahead, Michael is excited to continue to get to know our community and to advance our work in both Positive Education and the strategic plan. Michael said, "My recent trips to campus have reaffirmed what I’ve always known about Shipley, that it is a diverse and welcoming community that cherishes learning and the relationships which enrich that learning."
I want to take a moment to thank the Search Committee and its co-chairs, Lisa Schoenberg and Adam Spector. With their guidance, the Search Committee led a thorough, inclusive, and transparent process focused on the mission, vision, and needs of the School. I have also appreciated the engagement and enthusiasm that the entire Shipley community—our trustees, colleagues, families, students, and alumni—has brought to this important process.
I also want to thank Steve Piltch for his remarkable leadership over the past 27 years. Shipley has so much to be proud of: a rigorous and highly competitive college-preparatory program; talented and committed colleagues; beautifully renovated and newly built facilities designed to enhance our programs and community experience; groundbreaking work in Positive Education; and a strong reputation in both local and national communities. Michael’s deep experience in independent school leadership, outstanding personal characteristics, and commitment to Shipley’s mission have prepared him to guide Shipley into the future. I am confident that under his leadership, and with the support of our diverse and inclusive community, Shipley will continue to enhance its reputation as a premier academic institution that advances both achievement and student wellbeing, and thrive for the next 125 years.
Please join me in welcoming Michael, his wife Meredith, and their three children – Maggie, Fran, and August. We look forward to each of you having a chance to meet Michael and his family as they begin this wonderful new adventure here at Shipley.
Chair, Shipley Board of Trustees
Head of School Search
In January 2018, Shipley’s Board of Trustees announced the search for Shipley’s tenth Head of School, due to the retirement of Steve Piltch in June 2019. Please find below details about the process, the search committee, the intended timeline, and letters to the community.
Since 1894, Shipley has been dedicated to educational excellence, love of learning, and compassionate participation in the world. Our graduates leave Shipley uniquely prepared for college and for life.