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The Hill School Announces Next Associate Head of School

The Hill School is pleased to announce the appointment of Ariel L. Baum as Associate Head of School effective July 1, 2024. Mr. Baum currently serves the School as Assistant Head of School for Community Life and Dean of Students.

“Mr. Baum’s depth and breadth of experience in the work of schools as a teacher, coach, dorm faculty, and administrator; his support of and belief in centering the student experience in all facets of boarding school life; his humor, candor, and seemingly indefatigable level of energy to serve Hill, makes him the ideal person to take on this job,” said Meigs Family Head of School Kathleen Devaney, who shared the news with the School community earlier in the day.

Mr. Baum will replace Dr. Sylvia Rodríguez Vargas who was appointed head of school at The TASIS School in Dorado, Puerto Rico. She will depart The Hill at the end of this academic year. Dr. Rodríguez Vargas joined The Hill faculty as Associate Head in the fall of 2019 and served as Interim Head of School last year from December through June.

Mr. Baum’s appointment comes after an extensive search process, led by an appointed search committee of nine faculty and staff members, representing a variety of areas of Hill life, and one Hill trustee, that culminated with on-campus finalist visits last week.

In his role as Associate Head of School, Mr. Baum’s primary responsibilities will include advising Ms. Devaney on School policies, programs, and activities and representing the School when she is not able to be present. He also will provide oversight of all programs impacting the student experience, including academics, college counseling, co-curriculars, discipline, wellness, technology, auxiliary programs, and sustainability. In addition, he will facilitate the School’s Middle States accreditation process as well as its future strategic planning initiatives. He will also work closely with the Dean of Faculty in managing faculty retention, recruitment, professional growth opportunities and serve on a number of Board Committees including Admission and College Counseling, Community Life; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and Campus Planning.

“The Associate Head position is vital for the smooth daily operation of the School and for implementing strategic growth, and Mr. Baum’s acceptance of this role puts The Hill in a strong position for all that lies ahead, both in terms of sustaining excellence and overcoming unforeseen challenges,” noted Ms. Devaney. “We are thrilled that he will serve the School in this new capacity.”

Mr. Baum has served on the faculty at The Hill School since 2012. In addition to his current role as Assistant Head and Dean of Students, throughout his time at The Hill, he has been the Carl Knobloch Instructor of Economics, and in 2020 was selected for the John Woodward Master Teacher Award. He has been the head coach of girls’ ice hockey since his arrival and previously served as a dorm parent in Wendell and Upper School West Dormitories for nine years.   

A native of Ithaca, N.Y., Mr. Baum attended public schools until attending The Gunnery in Washington, Conn. for three years, graduating cum laude in 2003. Mr. Baum graduated from Cornell University in 2007, earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations. He later earned his master’s degree in independent school leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University in 2012.

Prior to The Hill, Mr. Baum served on the faculty at The Gunnery for four years where he served as a teacher, coach, and dorm parent, and was selected in 2010 as the Class of 1955 Distinguished Teaching Award. Ari also spent 25 summers at Camp Seneca Lake where he served as program director and associate director from 2009 to 2016.

Mr. Baum lives on campus in East Faculty Village with his fiancé, Jenny McKee, a nurse practitioner in Neuro Critical Care; the couple will marry this summer.

I am grateful for this opportunity to continue serving The Hill as Associate Head of School. In many ways, I have grown up in this community over these last 12 years, and it has been a privilege to learn from so many caring teachers and motivated students. I feel fortunate to have learned and taught many important lessons as an economics teacher, a hockey coach, dorm parent, and Dean of Students. The Hill School is a special place, and I look forward to providing support to students and their families as well as employees in feeling a genuine sense of belonging that we aspire for all to have. Ariel L. Baum, on his appointment as the next Associate Head of School