BREAKING: Head of School Elizabeth English will remain at Archer next year


Photo credit: Elizabeth English

The sixth grade class sang to Head of School Elizabeth English on her birthday. English provided this photo to encapsulate the school’s culture, which she said was the primary reason she decided to remain at Archer.

On Wednesday, Oct. 31, Archer parents received an email stating that Head of School Elizabeth English will remain at Archer next year after taking a six-month sabbatical starting in July. This email provided an update on a communication that students and parents received in August, which stated that English would assume the headship at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. for the 2019-2020 school year.

English emphasized that the National Cathedral School is “extraordinary,” but that the “incredible” school culture at Archer — specifically, the quality of instruction and the professional community — was ultimately what prompted her decision to stay.

“It’s been clear, over the past few weeks, that this is a community and a school that was almost impossible for me to leave. I love this place, and I just had a very, very heavy heart,” she said in a phone interview. “That was just very difficult for me to walk away from.”

Elizabeth English has been the Head of School at Archer for the past eleven years. Though she had announced her intent to leave the school earlier this year, she said that her “love” for the community prompted her to stay. Photo courtesy of English.

Over the past decade, English created the Archer Forward construction plan, which was met with opposition from many of the school’s neighbors. She emphasized that the “contentious” process drew her focus away from education and towards more administrative tasks.

“The last four years of mine and my team’s work has been dominated by a lot of opposition [and] litigation — a lot of difficulty that was not about teaching and learning,” she said. “I came here to focus on empowering girls, and creating a learning environment that was relevant, engaging and healthy, and that’s the work I want to continue to do here. I think the board has created an opportunity for me to get back to that.”

English said that the opening of the new Academic Center will provide her with an opportunity to oversee such educational initiatives.

“We can see in what the IdeaLab and the MediaSpace did for our programs, and for teaching and learning, and for student outcomes, that the spaces do matter, and they do transform the learning,” she said. “The first thing we’re going to be focused on is really using the academic center to take our teaching and learning to the next level.”