Indian Springs School names new director

Published 4:05 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2016

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

INDIAN SPRINGS – A five-month nationwide search process has come to an end for Indian Springs School, as the institution’s Board of Directors voted in December to name the school’s first female director.



ISS hired Dr. Sharon Louise Howell to serve as Indian Springs’ sixth director, effective July 1. Howell, who is currently the associate head of school at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, Mass., will succeed current ISS Director Gareth Vaughan, who announced in August will conclude his tenure in June 2016 at the close of his eighth year as director.

The five-month national search process included input from alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students, Board members, and friends of the school.

Before serving at Northfield Mount Hernon in 2014, Howell spent 15 years at Harvard University studying, teaching history and literature and being resident dean of a Harvard College house. In her final three years, she served as senior resident dean, was an elected member of the faculty council, served on the academic integrity committee and helped to develop a Harvard edX online course called Poetry in America X. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College, a master’s from Villanova University, and a master’s and doctorate from Harvard University.

During her time at NMH she has been responsible for developing the school’s 2015-20 strategic plan, directing the process for designing and building a $33 million new Integrative Science and Math Center and academic hub, leading interdisciplinary curricular innovation in science and math, and launching initiatives in social entrepreneurship and learning through action.

She has served on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation committee for the Hotchkiss School (Lakeville, Conn.) in April 2015 and on the Economic Development Board for NMH’s region, Franklin County, Mass. She and her husband, Tom, a sculptor, have two children: Ethan, 13, and Maggie, 10.

“Indian Springs is clearly a special place,” Howell wrote in a statement. “I am honored beyond measure to be entrusted with leading this extraordinary school into its next era and helping ensure that it grows and thrives in accord with its inspiring mission.”

Indian Springs’ national search was assisted by Wickenden Associates of Princeton, N.J., and led by a 16-member search committee. Hundreds of other ISS community members, including current students, also provided important input by participating in a communitywide survey, semifinalist tours, finalist week meetings, and a finalist survey.

“Dr. Howell rose to the top of our extremely competitive candidate pool because of her singular skill set: Infectious optimism, deep concern about social justice, passion for collaborating, formidable intellect, ability to engage and inspire and commitment to transparency and forward thinking,” Libby Pantazis, ISS board chairman and search committee head, wrote in a statement.