Appointment of New Headmistress
From the Chairman of Governors, Mr Simon Knight
I am very pleased to write and inform you that the Governors of the School have appointed Dr Felicia Kirk to succeed Dr Helen Wright as Headmistress of St Mary’s from 1st January 2013 when Helen moves to Australia to take up the Headship of Ascham School, Sydney.
Felicia is currently a member of the Senior Leadership Team of Ipswich High School for Girls where she has been Head of Sixth Form for the last four years. She has seventeen years’ experience of teaching and managing at a senior level in independent day and boarding schools in the UK and prior to joining Ipswich High School she was Director of Higher Education at Wycombe Abbey School. She is an American citizen and was brought up in Maryland, where she graduated with a BA, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Maryland in French and Latin. She obtained an MA in French Studies with Latin from Brown University, Rhode Island, where she held the University Scholarship for academic excellence. She then continued her studies at Brown University, gaining a PhD in Romance Languages and Literature while also studying at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and working as a lectrice at the Universities of Paris and Burgundy. She became an Academic Researcher for Chadwyck-Healey in Cambridge before starting her teaching career in this country. Her first full teaching post was at the Royal Hospital School in Suffolk where she became Head of Modern Languages within two years of the start of her teaching career.
Felicia comes to St Mary’s as a passionate advocate for girls’ education and especially for innovative teaching and learning in a boarding environment. Her global reach and in particular her knowledge of both European and American educational systems will ensure that St Mary’s remains at the forefront of academic excellence in this country. She has strong leadership credentials and comes with a very strong recommendation from the Head and Chairman of Governors of her current school.
Felicia is married to John Patterson, a Chartered Accountant, who works for PricewaterhouseCoopers in London, and they will live at Lansdowne House from the beginning of January 2013. She is a keen rider and will bring her horse to a local livery. She enjoys eventing and is an active sportswoman who regularly runs and cycles as well.
I am sure that Felicia will continue the excellent and distinguished work of Helen and that St Mary’s will continue its upwards curve under its new leadership from 2013. We look forward to welcoming her to the school.
Mr Simon Knight
Chairman of Governors
Comment from Dr Felicia Kirk
‘I am delighted to be appointed by the Governors as the next Headmistress of St Mary’s and regard it as an honour to succeed the distinguished work done by Dr Helen Wright. St Mary’s is clearly a school which has high expectations and ambitions and I will do all I can to continue to develop the excellent education and the broader extra-curricular activities in the school.
We can all be optimistic for the future of this remarkable school because of the foundations which have been laid by previous generations of leaders, and I intend to use my European and American experience to bring a global perspective to each and every girl. I am extremely passionate about educating girls and my goal is to foster a love of learning and an ability to think critically and creatively that will allow our extraordinary young women to take the full range of opportunities that are opening up to them in the twenty-first century.
I know St Mary’s has a thriving community and I look forward to meeting you all.’