On Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, the Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Aaron Cooper as our next Head of School.
From the first moment we stepped foot on campus, we were taken by the warm and welcoming nature of the community and the energy and spirit of the students. NCCS is unquestionably one of the premier Beginners-9th grade schools in the country, and it possesses intentionality and direction in the child-centered journey it provides students supporting their academic, creative, moral, and physical development.  — Aaron Cooper

Read Aaron Cooper's letter to the community
Dear New Canaan Country School Community,
We are pleased to inform you that the New Canaan Country School Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the appointment of Aaron Cooper as our sixth Head of School, effective July 1, 2018.

This announcement is the culmination of a comprehensive effort led by the Head of School Search Committee and our consultants at Carney, Sandoe & Associates over the past seven months. Essential to the process was the information and input from numerous NCCS community forums and online surveys conducted during the search and for each of the three finalist candidates. We thank you all for your support of and contributions to this process. 

During the course of this search, the Search Committee reviewed dozens of dossiers from a deep and diverse pool of highly qualified candidates from across the U.S. and abroad. In-person introductory meetings and telephone conversations were conducted with numerous candidates, from which the six most promising candidates were invited to interview with the full Search Committee on campus. Based on these in-depth interviews, three finalists were selected to return to Country School in December for meetings with faculty, administration and other constituent groups in addition to open community forums and further interviews with the Search Committee. At this phase, the Search Committee also conducted an extensive reference checking process, which yielded further important input on each candidate. 

After considering all constituent feedback on each candidate, the Search Committee recommended the hiring of Aaron Cooper to the Board of Trustees, who voted unanimously in support of the recommendation. Aaron brings to NCCS an impressive record of experience and achievement as an educator, leader, administrator and visionary for early childhood education. Aaron is a strong believer in the foundational merits of the EC-8/9 independent school model, which he highlighted, in a recent letter:

“It is in childhood that individuals construct their orientation to the world and form the foundation for lifelong interests, for self-knowledge, for empathy, for character, and for how one thinks. Schools that start with students one step out of toddlerhood and graduate them as they are becoming young adults have the unique ability to nurture each child’s intellectual, emotional, and social growth in ways that schools serving older students cannot.” 

As Head of Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, N.J. for the past six years, Aaron has established a strong record as an effective EC-8/9 school leader. He is recognized by his faculty, staff and administrative team for both his pedagogical knowledge and his collaborative style. While serving as Head at EMS, Aaron guided the school through a successful capital campaign and long-range campus master plan, and the development of a sustainable financial model. He also developed and implemented a comprehensive integrated STEAM program, a renowned instrumental music initiative, and an interconnected diversity and inclusivity program. Prior to becoming Head of School, Aaron was actively involved in the school’s reaccreditation process and an initiative to expand the school to include grades seven and eight. Importantly, throughout his time at EMS Aaron demonstrated his ability to face challenges with creativity and confidence, steering the school through a revitalization that has bolstered financial sustainability and resulted in a 20-year high in applications and new enrollees as well as increased annual giving and engagement across all constituent groups.

During his 15 years at EMS, Aaron has also served as Assistant Head, Dean of Students, and he has coached and taught math, Latin, ethics and public speaking, and led middle school advisory groups. 

Aaron earned an Ed.M. in Private School Leadership and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University; he received his B.A. in the Growth and Structure of Cities from Haverford College, and a diploma from Groton School. He serves on the board of The Community Chest of Englewood, has served on five re-accreditation visiting committees and is a member of the Elementary School Heads Association. Aaron and his wife, Kara, have two daughters, Julia (11) and Charlotte (9), who are excited to join the Country School community this summer. 
On behalf of the Search Committee, we want to once again express our gratitude to the Country School community for its collective commitment to our beloved school. Your engagement in this process has been central to the successful outcome we have reached together in the appointment of Aaron Cooper, an extraordinary leader whom we believe is uniquely qualified to lead our school to a future of continued excellence. We leave you with a few words from Aaron  expressing his enthusiasm for his new position and we hope you will join us in welcoming him as New Canaan Country School’s next Head of School this summer!

Randy Salvatore  Lynne Byrne  John Lancaster
President Co-Chair Co-Chair
Board of Trustees      Search Committee Search Committee

Search Committee

Lynne Byrne, Trustee, HOS Search Chair, Parent
Yolanda Coffield, Trustee, Parent
Marisa DiBiasio, PA President, Parent
Gary Engle, Trustee, Parent
Bart Fredo, Upper School Faculty
Sarah Irwin, Trustee, Parent
John Lancaster, Trustee, HOS Search Chair, Parent
Barbara van der Kieft Latimer ’85, Upper School Faculty, Alumna, Parent
Randy Salvatore, Trustee, Board President, Parent
Gretchen Tapscott, Lower School Faculty, Director of Teacher & Apprentice Training, Past Parent

Head of School Updates

List of 2 news stories.

  • Leave it Better

    What a great first week of school it has been! In addition to welcoming 600 wonderful students and many of their parents to their first days of the 2018-2019 school year and officially dedicating the Susan Haigh Carver ‘51 Dining Hall and Commons, I had the opportunity to address each of the divisions at their weekly assemblies. I introduced myself, talked about my hopes and dreams, acknowledged the emotions of the first days of school, and, in the middle and upper schools, provided an exhortation for the year.  
    Read More
  • Shoshin or the Beginner's Mind

    Dear Country School Community, 

    As I sit here this Labor Day, I am reflecting as I do every year on the past summer and eagerly awaiting tomorrow morning when our students finally return to campus and it springs to life. The faculty, staff and I had a productive and inspiring time last week preparing for the opening of school and meeting many of our new students for their orientations. We have all enjoyed watching the reactions of joy, awe and excitement to the new Susan Haigh Carver ‘51 Dining Hall & Commons, along with the renovations in Grace House. It has already started to become a great community space and hub at the center of campus; we cannot wait to dedicate it on Thursday and officially open it to students.
    Read More