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Head of School Andy Vadnais to Step Down; Lawrence Smith '73 Named Interim Head

August 17th, 2018


After over 20 years of service, Head of School Andrew J. Vadnais will step down from South Kent effective August 27, 2018. He will take a yearlong sabbatical for the 2018-’19 academic year. Distinguished educator and SKS trustee Lawrence A. Smith ’73 will take the helm as Interim Head of School.

“Nancy and I feel South Kent School is now at a stage in its development where new leadership is needed. We have done our part. Now, it is time to hand the baton over to the next inspired leader who will take the School on the next exciting leg of its journey,” Vadnais says.

During their tenure at South Kent, Vadnais and wife Nancy Lyon developed the “Hero’s Journey” curriculum; significantly improved SAT and AP test scores; created a partnership with Syracuse University Project Advance; created elite athletic programs, including a national championship winning hockey team this year; pioneered one of the first one-to-one iPad programs in the U.S; established the Center for Innovation, a sustainability-focused experiential program; made extensive capital improvements with the help of generous donors including Stockdale Arena, Gilder Hall, Lawrence Faculty Village, Farr Field and the North Campus Farm and Culinary Center; and broadened international reach with enrollments from over 20 countries.

“This is a remarkable set of achievements. But more importantly, the impact that they have had on the young men who have passed through SKS during the past 20 years has been beyond measure,” says Chairman of the Board John P. Carey. “We thank Andy and Nancy both for their years of dedicated service to our School, for making it better and stronger and leading it in an innovative and inspiring way, while holding dear the traditions that have made South Kent so special.”

Those traditions are close to Smith’s heart as not only an alumnus, but a former South Kent faculty child; his parents, Art and Maggie Smith, served on the SKS faculty from 1954 until their retirement in the late 1970s. From 1978-1987, Lawrence himself also served as a teacher, coach, director of admissions and dean of students at South Kent. With nearly 40 years of experience in secondary education as a teacher, coach and academic administrator, Smith holds a B.A. from Princeton University and M.A. from University of New Hampshire, both in history. He served for 22 years at Phillips Exeter Academy, where he held the roles of history teacher and department chair, associate dean of faculty, varsity crew coach and dorm head. At Exeter, Smith was honored with the Brown Family Excellence in Teaching, David Swift Advising Awards, among others.

Most recently, Smith was the dean of teaching and learning as well as a teacher and coach at St. Paul’s School. There, he and wife Relinde de Greef served as co-directors of the Penn Residency Master’s in Teaching Residency program. Smith developed the School’s Integrated Curriculum and faculty professional development program.

Smith has served with distinction for four years on the SKS Board of Trustees, chairing the Education and Student Life Committee and Governance Committee and serving on the Executive Committee. He is respected throughout the School community and in secondary education nationally.

As Interim Head of School, Smith will work closely with South Kent’s trustees, faculty and staff. Carey adds: “Together, we will continue the great work that Andy has led and we will continue to drive the School to even greater heights. We are very fortunate to have someone like Smith, who is exceptionally qualified and knows our School so well, to rejoin the community and lead South Kent.”


Please direct any questions you may have to Gonzalo Garcia-Pedroso '95 at garciag@southkentschool.org (860) • 927-3539 ext 254

Posted in the categories General, Alumni.

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