Huybrechts to retire at the end of year

By Jessa Glassman ’20 and Lindsay Wu ’20
Left: Huybrechts, Center: Resnick, Right: Commons  Credit: Nathanson’s//Spectrum

Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts will retire at the end of the year after 28 years of teaching and involvement in the academic community.  During her time at the school, she has developed and introduced various topics for study and improvement, including information technology integration through the one-to-one laptop program, the debate program, faculty growth, global education and interdisciplinary studies, along with serving as Head of Harvard-Westlake and holding many other positions.

“As Head of Harvard-Westlake I am principally responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school.  The President of the School and I divide the work of managing the school between us, and work to our strengths.  In addition to managing the school, I have taken on several projects that have particular interest to me, and have led in those areas,” Huybrechts said.

Prior to being Head of Harvard-Westlake, Huybrechts was the Head of Middle School for five years.  She first began teaching at Westlake School for Girls before the merger with Harvard School for Boys.  Before the merger, Huybrechts also taught primarily math and science at both the middle and upper school campuses. After the merger, she was a ninth grade dean for one year.  Huybrechts has also served as the equivalent to the Director of Studies.

“Dr. Huybrechts really cares about the learning experience. For me, math has never been my most preferable subject but last year Algebra II and Analysis was definitely my favorite class of the year. Dr. Huybrechts has incredible patience and care and aided everybody in the class. She made math fun. Dr. Huybrechts is such a sweet lady, teacher and mentor and I think a big role model at school. Everybody looks up to her.” Student of Huybrechts Dylan Wan ’18 said.

After Huybrechts’ retirement, current President of School Rick Commons will become President and Head of School. Interim Head of Upper School and former Director of Studies Liz Resnick will become the Associate Head of School. They will each assume some aspect of Huybrechts’s current responsibilities next year.

Both Commons and Resnick said that two main people are needed to run the school and to unite the two campuses.  Since Commons was named President of School, he and Huybrechts have worked together and shared responsibilities.  Next year, Commons and Resnick will work in conjunction and identify which of their skills and interests will best suit the school.

Though his title will change, Commons’ said that his role as President of School will not change significantly, as he has worked with Huybrechts in the same position in the past and is planning to share many duties with Resnick.

“There’s so much to miss about Dr. Huybrechts.  She’s such an extraordinary person, as well as school leader.  She knows this place inside and out so deeply, and knows how to work and make for the best Harvard-Westlake experience.  I will miss, and the school will miss, someone who knows as much, cares as much, and works as hard as Dr. Huybrechts.  Dr. Huybrechts shaped this place, and there will be echoes of what she’s done in years to come,” Commons said.

However, Resnick’s responsibilities next year will differ from those of her current position, as she steps up as the Associate Head of School.

“I think that next year in its entirety will be an enormous transition for me and an eye-opening experience for me in a way I haven’t experienced before,” Resnick said.

Huybrechts said she currently does not have any immediate plans for after her retirement. She said that she would eventually like to explore other areas of teaching and become involved with education in some way.

“Perhaps being appointed Head of Harvard-Westlake was my most favorite memory of the school.  I was so honored to take on that position, and the announcement was truly memorable and lovely for me.  Being associated with a school that’s this wonderful, that’s my favorite part.  I’m so proud to have been with this school.  It would be very hard to say I like only the students or only teachers, because I like them both.  I like teaching, too.  Just the whole of Harvard-Westlake is wonderful.  But, the time is perfect right now for me to retire.  We’re at sort of a pivot point in the school’s history, and I think it’s a good idea to end one era and begin another,” Huybrechts said.

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