Head of School
Welcome to Milton Academy’s Head of School search page. Here, you can stay informed about the progress of our search for Milton’s 13th head, who will begin leading the School in the 2023–2024 academic year. Please continue to visit this page for updates on the committee’s timeline, process, and progress. We appreciate your support of this critical endeavor for the future of Milton Academy.
Board of Trustees’ Charge to Head of School Dr. Alixe Callen ’88
Dear Members of the Milton Community,
I am thrilled that Dr. Alixe Callen has begun her tenure as Milton’s 13th head of school!
As the Board of Trustees, we seek to align with the head of school on her priorities and also to perform our primary role—which is to partner with her as the leader of the institution—by offering guidance and support as we ultimately hold her accountable for achieving the school’s goals. During a leadership change, it is considered a best practice for a governing board to communicate its “charge” to a new head, setting expectations on both sides for the start of her tenure.
In the interest of transparency—and recognizing that an excellent school is the product of collaboration and effort by all members of the faculty and staff, students, families, and alumni—we share our letter to Dr. Callen, as well as her response to the Board, with the full community.
Alixe has exceptional qualifications as an educator and school leader and I hope you will join me and the Board in the warmest of welcomes as we continue to make Milton Academy the best possible community for our students.
Claire Hughes Johnson ’90
President, Milton Academy Board of Trustees
August 14, 2023
Alixe Callen ’88 Appointed 13th Head of Milton Academy
We are thrilled to announce that 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.
Dr. 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 also 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.
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.
“During our conversations with Dr. Callen, it was clear that building community and fostering positive cultural change are hallmarks of her leadership. Her natural curiosity and impressive listening skills help her craft highly intentional and extremely thoughtful tactics to support meaningful progress. She speaks eloquently and in detail about the pursuit of excellence in teaching and, more broadly, she is deeply immersed in current thinking about educational practices and the future of education. With her sound judgment and inclusive style, Alixe’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.”
– Claire Hughes Johnson ’90, P’24 ’27; Chair, Head of School Search Committee; Incoming President, Milton Academy Board of Trustees
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 hand in hand with Callen and our 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. She has proven to be a decisive administrator who values collaboration and 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.”
– Lisa Donohue ’83, President, Milton Academy Board of Trustees
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. She and her husband, James Bailey, have two sons, Zander and Miles.
We look forward to working with Alixe and Todd as Milton embarks on this exciting new chapter, and we thank the members of our engaged, dedicated, and broadly representative Head of School Search Committee for their diligent and successful effort to recommend our new leader.
Lisa Donohue ’83
President, Milton Academy Board of Trustees
Claire Hughes Johnson ’90, P’24 ’27
Chair, Head of School Search Committee
Incoming President, Milton Academy Board of Trustees
Posted June 8, 2022
Head of School Position Description
Head of School Search Committee
Following Head of School Todd Bland’s announcement that the 2022–2023 school year will be his 14th and final year at Milton Academy, the School is pleased to announce the members of the Head of School Search Committee.
Claire Hughes Johnson ’90 P’24 ’27
Search Committee Chair
Middle School Principal
Upper School Faculty
Yeng Felipe Butler ’92
P ’25 ’33
Lisa Donahue ’83
Board of Trustees President
Office of Admission
Upper School Faculty
Tabi Haller-Jorden ’75
Peter Kagan ’86
Lower School Faculty
Ronnell Wilson ’93
Claire Hughes Johnson ‘90 P ‘24 ‘27 (Chair)
Claire Hughes Johnson ’90, P’24 ’27 (Chair) is the chief corporate officer and advisor at Stripe, Inc., a billing and payments platform for internet businesses. She was Stripe’s chief operating officer from 2014 to April 2021. Prior to joining Stripe, Johnson was an executive at Google for 10 years. In addition to serving on the Milton Academy Board of Trustees since 2012, Claire serves on the board of The Atlantic and Ameresco. She moved back in 2020 from California to live in Milton with her husband and two children.
Steven Bertozzi, Middle School Principal
Steven Bertozzi serves as the Middle School principal at Milton Academy. Prior to becoming principal, Bertozzi taught Grade 7 social studies, served as a representative on the Faculty Council, coached soccer, co-led cultural clubs and affinity spaces, and served as a member of the Middle School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leadership team. He currently teaches Grade 6 Common Ground in the Middle School. Steven has 13 years of teaching experience at independent schools, including work as a class dean at Hawken School in Lyndhurst, Ohio, and as a department chair at Hyde School in Woodstock, Connecticut. He lives in Boston with his husband and son.
Alisa Braithwaite, Upper School English Department
Alisa Braithwaite joined Milton Academy’s English Department in 2012 and has taught Class IV English, The Craft of Nonfiction, Themes in Contemporary World Literature, and Reading Consciousness, a co-taught interdisciplinary course. Alisa has served on the Teaching and Learning Team, the Curriculum Committee, the BIPOC Committee, and as a sponsor for Sister Bonding. She is also the coordinator for Upper School faculty mentoring and a co-founder/director of the Humanities Workshop. Although still a New Yorker at heart, Alisa lives in Cambridge with her husband, who also teaches literature.
Yeng Felipe Butler ‘92 P ‘25 ‘33
Yeng Felipe Butler ’92, P’25 ’33 is the head of Wells Fargo Asset Management’s Liquidity Client Group, managing the short-duration and cash management business. Butler served on the board of the Esperanza Academy for Girls until 2018, when she was replaced by her husband. She also helped found Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), a nonprofit that helps increase the number and quality of new business ventures in developing countries. Butler joined Milton’s Board of Trustees in 2020, and lives in Milton with her husband and two children.
Lisa Donohue ‘83, Board of Trustees President
Lisa Donohue ’83 has extensive experience as a president, CEO, and global marketing executive, and currently acts as a corporate board director and nonprofit board leader for several organizations, including NRG Energy, Brown Jordan Inc., She Runs It, and AcuityAds Inc. Donohue served for more than 10 years as an executive at Starcom Worldwide and then at the parent company, Publicis Groupe. Most recently, before shifting to corporate board work, she was CEO of Publicis Spine until February 2020. Lisa joined Milton’s Board of Trustees in 2008 and has served as president of the board since 2015.
Lori Dow, Office of Admission
Lori Dow joined Milton in 2003. She is the Associate Director of Admission and also serves as a student advisor. She is the co-founder and director of the Milton Academy Gospel Choir, an advisor to Amnesty International, a DEIJ Team Member, a member of the BIPOC Steering Committee, and a member of the International Student Advisory Team. Dow was born in Boston and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts and currently lives in Easton.
Michael Edgar, Upper School Science Department
Michael Edgar joined Milton Academy in 1999 as a faculty member in the Science Department, where he has taught Advanced Biology, Honors Biology and Molecular Genetics. During his time at Milton, Edgar was Science Department chair for 13 years, class dean for nine years, and he has served as a residential faculty member in Goodwin House for nine years.
Tabi Haller-Jorden ‘75 P ‘09
Eleanor “Tabi” Haller-Jorden ’75, P’09, President and CEO of the Paradigm Forum GmbH, is a recognized voice in the fields of women’s leadership, workplace design, talent innovation and social justice within the organizational context. Haller-Jorden has more than three decades of high-level experience in the public, private, and academic sectors, most recently at Catalyst as senior vice president of global learning and general manager of Catalyst Europe. Among her numerous board and advisory roles, Haller-Jorden is a global fellow emeritus, Wilson Center; CEO of the Langer Institute Europe; a global ambassador to the Vital Voices Global Partnership; and an executive-in-residence at the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership. In April 2013, she was appointed visiting scholar at IMD. Haller-Jorden joined Milton’s board in 2015; she has two sons and lives in Zürich, Switzerland.
Peter Kagan ‘86
Peter Kagan ’86 is the managing director of energy at Warburg Pincus, LLC, a private equity and venture capital firm. Prior to joining Warburg Pincus, Kagan worked in investment banking; he currently serves as director of a number of companies and organizations, including Delonex Energy, Navitas Midstream Partners, Resources for the Future, and Street Squash. Kagan joined Milton’s board in 2013 and currently lives in New York with his wife and two children.
Shannon Kilduff, Lower School Faculty
Shannon Kilduff has been a first-grade teacher in the Lower School since 2018. Before coming to Milton, she spent 15 years on the Shady Hill School faculty in Cambridge. While there, she served on the TTC Strategic Planning Committee and the Teaching and Learning Planning Committee, and she held the Bruce Shaw Chair. Kilduff enjoys collaborating with others, sharing her deep understanding of early childhood education, and designing project-based units of study through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Beyond her professional life, Kilduff is a life partner and mother of two who spends time reading, cooking, and creating mixed-media arts.
Ronnell Wilson ‘93
Ronnell Wilson ’93 is an assistant United States attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Prior to working in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Wilson worked at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York specializing in corporate mergers and acquisitions. Wilson joined Milton’s board in 2013.
Posted November 1, 2021
A Message From Todd
In June, I will grant diplomas to members of the Class of 2022 who began their Milton careers as kindergartners when I started my own as head of school. These years have afforded me the great privilege of watching them grow from curious new learners into the wonderful young adults who make up our senior class.
As I think of sending them off on their journey beyond our community, I reflect on my own Milton experience—and think about the future for myself, Nancy, and our family. I have decided that the 2022–2023 academic year will be my final year as Milton’s head of school.
Serving Milton Academy has been one of the greatest honors of my life. Milton is the alma mater of my parents and my children. Our family has been blessed to be a part of this community for the past 12 years, helping to shepherd and evolve this extraordinary school in important ways. We’re a family of educators and Milton has been a powerful symbol of both our home and our vocation.
The rewards of leadership are invaluable and none is greater than helping to prepare students to do incredible things for themselves and in the world. This has been, and will continue to be, Milton’s greatest accomplishment. Few things have brought me greater joy than my time spent with students and every opportunity I’ve been given to have a positive impact on the life of a child. This is what draws us to education: the gift and joy of growing young minds. Throughout my career, I have found that the best ways to lead a classroom—recognizing and celebrating every person’s humanity and making decisions guided by respect and care—are also the best ways to lead an institution. Our greatest success stories are those students who carry that empathy and compassion beyond Milton.
It is healthy and necessary for leaders and institutions to undergo change, and Milton is no exception. I know that the next head of Milton Academy, with the support of our employees, students, alumni, and families, will usher in the next great chapter in our School’s history. We are poised to take hold of incredible opportunities while harnessing our community’s dedication, innovation, and creativity. Because of its people, Milton is, indeed, exceptional.
Although much has changed since the Class of 2022 entered kindergarten, one thing remains strong: how much I love working alongside the dedicated faculty, staff, and administrators who educate and care for our students, and serving the extraordinary students, inspiring Board of Trustees, amazing alumni, devoted families, and all those who consider Milton their school.
I know that the School will continue to thrive in so many intricate and transformative ways long after I step away from campus. I will always treasure my time at Milton and will forever remain dedicated to its people and mission.
With deep appreciation and commitment,
Todd B. Bland
Head of School
Posted October 12, 2021
From the President of the Board of Trustees
Thirteen years ago, as a new trustee, my first official vote was to approve the appointment of Todd Bland as head of school for Milton Academy. In many ways, we came to our Milton leadership roles together. In the ensuing years, our School has evolved, positioning it for a bright and successful future. Consequently, it was a bittersweet moment for me when Todd shared that the next academic year, 2022–2023, will be his last at Milton.
As a head of school, educator, colleague, and friend, Todd has led Milton Academy with optimism and a recognition of the importance of change. Since his arrival in 2009, he has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to the students in our School’s care and to his colleagues on the faculty and staff. Supporting academic excellence through smart investments in faculty development and classroom resources, Todd has also broadened Milton’s reach, encouraging all of us to find purpose in compassion and service to others. He possesses the boldness required to lead a 21st-century school, as well as an openness to differing perspectives and the rare ability to acknowledge the inevitable obstacles that come with leadership today. Central to his philosophy is a foundational understanding of the humanity involved not only in a school like Milton but in the world around us.
Todd’s tenure has seen several milestones: Milton completed its Dare campaign—the most ambitious and successful capital campaign in School history. The campaign raised $48 million for student financial aid, including the establishment of 44 new scholarship funds; supported an increase to faculty salaries and a more robust professional development program; and upgraded academic and residential spaces across campus. We implemented an institution-wide strategic plan to maintain and nurture the best and strongest faculty; have consistently and rigorously renewed our curriculum; and continue to enroll a diverse, multi-dimensional student body. Most recently, we adopted a new diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice strategic plan and vision to ensure that every member of our community knows and feels that they belong at Milton.
Our campus has changed, too, thanks to pragmatic investments that make Milton more functional and comfortable for the community while emphasizing important areas of pedagogy. We built and opened the Pritzker Science Center, providing state-of-the-art science classroom and laboratory facilities; redesigned and enhanced the Arts and Media Center, responding to evolving student interests and improving spaces for computer science, robotics, and visual arts; built the Berylson turf field; renovated and added residential spaces for students and faculty; and modernized Ware Hall. Projects are underway for the completion of our Cox Library relocation to Wigglesworth Hall in 2023 and a new home for math in 2024.
During Todd’s leadership, Milton’s endowment has grown by more than 180 percent. In addition, through his 12 years as head, our School’s strong financial health has been achieved by responsible fiscal management and sound investments that will allow Milton to meet any moment, evolve for years to come, and serve a diverse range of the best and brightest students from around the world.
Leadership is incredibly rewarding. It can also be challenging, school leadership especially so—these past two years in particular have not been for the faint of heart. Even on the most difficult days, Todd’s optimism, kindness, empathy, and sincere compassion help to build cooperation and maintain a focus on solutions. His genuine love for Milton’s people has fortified our community as we have navigated complicated issues. In times of crisis—times that could fundamentally harm many institutions—he thinks globally while attending to individuals’ needs, listens intently, and changes course when necessary with humility and grace. I am hard-pressed to recall a single moment in our countless conversations where Todd’s positive spirit and sense of purpose did not make even the most difficult circumstances easier to handle. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
Todd will stay on through the next full academic year. This commitment provides continuity of leadership as the Board of Trustees engages in a comprehensive, global search for Milton’s next head of school; it also maintains momentum on our key initiatives. I am thankful for the dedication that Todd and his wife, Nancy, continue to demonstrate toward Milton. In addition to the deep warmth and positive outlook she shares with everyone she encounters, Nancy Bland has faithfully served Milton in a number of capacities: five years in the Admission Office, and as an advisor, substitute teacher, and caregiver of many. With their children, Nick ’13, Emily ’14, and Maggie ’14, the Bland family has created a welcoming atmosphere for students, employees, families, and alumni. They will remain members of the Milton community long after their departure.
The search for Milton’s next head of school will be led by Trustee Claire Hughes Johnson ’90. She will chair a diverse search committee with members from across our community. To help guide our efforts, we have retained Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm with an experienced independent-school and higher-education leadership recruitment practice. In addition to the search committee, opportunities will be provided for members of our community—faculty and staff, students, families, and alumni—to participate in the process. We will continue to provide updates as the search process unfolds and will share details on our Head of School Search Committee members by the end of October.
We will all have many moments to connect with Todd as he continues his day-to-day leadership of Milton through June 2023. For today, please join me in gratitude for his service and dedication, and for guiding all of us with his positive, warm, and caring spirit.
Lisa Donohue ’83
President, Board of Trustees
Posted October 12, 2021
“Few things have brought me greater joy than my time spent with students and every opportunity I’ve been given to have a positive impact on the life of a child. This is what draws us to education: the gift and joy of growing young minds. “
– Todd Bland