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Alixe Callen ’88 Appointed 13th Head of Milton Academy

Alixe Callen ’88 Appointed 13th Head of Milton Academy

Alexandra (Alixe) H. Callen ’88 will begin service as our next Head of School on July 1, 2023. Below is the school’s June 8 announcement:

Alexandra (Alixe) H. Callen ’88 has been selected by the Board of Trustees to be Milton Academy’s 13th head of school, effective July 1, 2023.

Callen, a Milton graduate with extensive teaching and leadership experience in both public and independent schools, currently serves as the head of St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island, a position she has held since 2017.

During her time at St. George’s, Callen and her team undertook a full-scale effort to review and renew the school’s curriculum to support interdisciplinary and connected learning, prioritizing strong academics and reflecting the latest research in education. In collaboration with the school’s most veteran faculty, Callen formed the Senior Teaching Cadre and has energized pedagogical and professional development through dedicated programs for teaching and learning. She led the development of St. George’s current strategic plan, campus master plan, and the school’s first diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan. Her team also launched the Beloved Community Initiative, a program focused on the history of St. George’s and the experiences of students across diverse identities. Over the past five years, she has collaborated with the school’s advancement office to raise more than $20 million to support new capital projects, including two new turf fields and the restoration of the Memorial Schoolhouse. She has overseen all aspects of the school’s operation, including academics, student life, equity and inclusion, finance, advancement, admission, college counseling, and athletics.

“Alixe Callen is a leader and intellect who combines innate curiosity and careful listening with a strong desire for action and the courage to push for positive change,” said Claire Hughes Johnson ’90, chair of the Head of School Search Committee and incoming Board of Trustees president. “With her sound judgment and inclusive style, Dr. Callen’s enthusiasm for delivering a stellar environment for student learning will permeate all aspects of education and school life and will help her excel as the next leader of Milton Academy. She embraces the constantly developing advances in pedagogy and curriculum development and is unafraid to ask bold questions and seek positive change. As a Milton graduate, Alixe’s connection to and love for our school underpin her strong commitment to continuing our ongoing work to build the best community for Milton students today and in the future.”

“I am thrilled to be named Milton’s next head of school,” says Callen. “The opportunity to follow in the footsteps of my friend and mentor Todd Bland is a tremendous privilege. Thirty-five years ago, the Milton faculty challenged me to become a critical thinker, eloquent communicator, and inclusive and thoughtful leader. The lessons they imparted continue to inspire me every day. To be chosen as the School’s next leader is the highest professional honor I can imagine. Thank you to the search committee and the Board of Trustees for this incredible opportunity. I am humbled and delighted to be entrusted with the future of my alma mater.”

Milton Trustees unanimously supported the recommendation by the Head of School Search Committee to hire Callen, following a rigorous search that considered several highly qualified school leaders. Callen’s experience and ability to look into the future and navigate changes in pedagogy and education—along with her focus on student-centered curriculum development, collaborative approach to leadership, and enthusiasm for building community—were among the many positive attributes noted during the selection process. The Search Committee and Milton’s Trustees were additionally impressed with Callen’s motivation to champion Milton’s intentional, deeply held commitment to building a diverse and inclusive community that fosters an understanding of injustice and a common goal of fair, equitable practices for all.

As part of a long-planned succession strategy, Head of School Todd Bland will remain in his role at Milton through June 2023 and will work with Callen and Milton’s Board of Trustees to ensure a smooth transition of leadership as his tenure ends.

“Alixe is the right leader at the right time for Milton Academy,” said Board of Trustees President Lisa Donohue ’83. “She has proven to be a decisive administrator who values collaboration and she places students at the center of all her work. I have full confidence that Alixe will continue the excellent progress that Todd has made and continues to make at Milton and I look forward to a bright future for our school.”

“I have been delighted to know Alixe for the past 25 years and appreciate her as a tremendous friend and extraordinary fellow educator,” said Bland. “I could not imagine a better next head of school for Milton Academy than Alixe. She combines the very best qualities of heart and mind, and I am so excited to support her leadership at our wonderful institution. I look forward with great enthusiasm to working with Alixe over the next year to provide the smoothest transition possible for Milton.”

Callen received her bachelor’s degree in American civilization from Brown University, a master of arts in teaching degree from Brown, a master’s degree in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University, and her doctorate from Harvard, where she was elected to the Harvard Educational Review. Prior to St. George’s, Callen was the upper school director at Lakeside School in Seattle, the principal of Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, in Acton, Massachusetts—a 2,000-student public school consistently rated among the best in the state—and assistant principal of Needham High School, in Needham, Massachusetts. She has also held leadership, teaching, and research positions through the Harvard Graduate School of Education; the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School in Devens, Massachusetts; the Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School District in Sedona, Arizona; and the Coalition of Essential Schools.

The Community Issue

What do we owe to one another, our communities, and the world? In this issue, we take a look at what “community” means to Milton and the ways in which the school goes beyond the jargon to create genuine, mutually beneficial, lasting connections.