As you know, we have been working this spring to find a replacement for Rosita Fernandez-Rojo, who will be retiring. We opened a search process and interviewed many qualified candidates from all over the country, looking for the person with the best experience to match our needs in the College Counseling Office and who is best suited to move forward the functions and services provided by the counselors.
We actually needn’t have looked farther than our own building, and we are very pleased to announce that Eileen Cunningham Feikens emerged as our top candidate and has accepted the position of Dean of College Counseling. Eileen has worked in our office for the last eighteen years, and over that time has been involved in creating a highly functional and efficient office that first and foremost takes excellent care of students and their families in what can be a stressful and demanding process.
Besides a thorough knowledge of our school, of the college landscape, and with a vast repertoire of colleagues in both other high schools and colleges, Eileen brings with her some excellent ideas about how we can expand the work of the office in ways that are designed to lower the tension that this process can sometimes create. The key to these improvements lies in earlier and more substantive communication of information to students and families. We always try to balance the way we work with families so that thinking about college does not dominate the upper school experience. That can easily happen in today’s environment that places such huge significance on the college a student ultimately attends. Despite all the data that exists to demonstrate that what you do in college is much more important than where you go, there is enormous (and unhealthy) pressure placed on the outcome. We try to strike a balance so that pressure might be placed in perspective and perhaps therefore be lessened.
There are different strategies to ensure that balance, and we are working already to make sure we fine tune our messages to provide important and relevant information earlier. Eileen will be spearheading this effort, as well as ways for our counselors to spend more time earlier with students.
Eileen has begun her work already, and now leads the transition into the fall. She will be working on both very practical matters involving the office over the summer, and also starting to look ahead to improvements to be made during the new school year.
As a result of the search process this spring, we have also decided that we will add a fifth counselor for the 2020 – 2021 academic year, so that we can continue to provide the most individualized service in the search and application process. The search for a fifth counselor will begin in the winter.
Please join me in congratulating Eileen on her appointment, and know that the strong office that Rosita has worked so hard to build will continue to grow and flourish under Eileen’s leadership going forwards.