BREAKING: Upper School Director Gretchen Warner appointed Head of Madeira School


Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

After hearing that Upper School Director Gretchen Warner had received the headship at The Madeira School, Head of School Elizabeth English and Warner’s mother sent her flowers, which currently decorate Warner’s office. “It’s been a lot of ’sorry to see you go, but we’re so excited for you’ [from the Archer community],” Warner said.

Upper School Director Gretchen Warner will become the Head of The Madeira School, an all-girls school in Maclean, Virginia, starting next year, according to a school-wide email from Head of School Elizabeth English sent Friday morning. The appointment was the culmination of a six to seventh month application process.

“When I first heard, I actually was stunned speechless, and that’s saying something for me,” she said. “I felt really joyful.”

Warner has held a variety of positions in her 15 years at Archer, including STEM Coordinator, Class Dean, Dean of Academic Affairs and her most recent director title. She has been one of the faculty members who built many of Archer’s signature programs, including the partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School and the STEM Symposium.

“I have poured my heart and soul into everything that I do,” she said. “I’m going to miss being here, but I feel like our two schools are sister schools across the country from one another.”

Mallory Bernstein, a junior at The Madeira School, heard Warner speak to the student body a few weeks ago. Earlier today, she was the first one in her class to check her email after the school had announced Warner’s appointment.

“Everyone in the class cheered,” she said. “Everyone wanted her to be chosen. We just thought that she was way more eloquent and kind and she was genuinely more interesting than any of the candidates that we heard.”

Karen Pavliscak, the Assistant Head of School, works closely with Warner as a member of senior administration and admires her organizational skills.

“I feel like I’ve grown alongside her as a leader, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done together,” she said.

Hailey Adams (’20) was “shocked” when she heard the news because she considers Warner a symbol of Archer, but she is “really excited for her.”

“I know this is a great, amazing opportunity for her to share her knowledge and experience she’s had at Archer at a completely different place,” Adams said.

Warner said the response from both Archer and Madeira has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s a very surreal day,” she said, “and I know that feeling is going to be there for a while.”

According to English’s email, the senior administrative team will consider the current leadership structure and “launch a search accordingly” in the coming weeks.