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PHS Veteran Lisa Jeli Appointed Head of School

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce that Lisa Jeli has been selected to be the next Head of School for Presidio Hill School, effective today, October 3rd, 2019. We are confident that Lisa’s experience, commitment, character and passion will lead our school forward for years to come. 

Lisa has served as the Interim Head of School since October 2018. Prior to this role, Lisa was Presidio Hill School’s Assistant Head of School and Middle School Director from 2007-2018.  With over 30 years of experience as an educator and administrator, Lisa first joined Presidio Hill in 1990 teaching grades 3, 4 and 5, and has realized many accomplishments during her tenure. Her early accomplishments include founding the PHS library and establishing a role as the first Lower School Dean. Recent accomplishments reflect Lisa’s dedication to progressive education and her leadership as an administrator: founding the PHS Multicultural Leadership team, co-leadership on the math curriculum committee, leading the school-wide curriculum mapping project, improving the progress report process, and successfully establishing both the middle school electives as well as the middle school challenge days programs.  In 2019, Lisa completed the Leadership Fellows Program through the California Teacher Development Collaborative, and she is currently pursuing a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from the Harvard Business School/Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Through this intensive process, it has become clear that Lisa is the right person to be our next Head of School. Lisa demonstrates an innate and tenured understanding of progressive education and how it applies to the students, culture and community of PHS. She is a proven leader, with a combination of substantial classroom and administrative experience who has earned the trust and support of the PHS administration, faculty, staff and family community. She demonstrates a passionate commitment to equity and inclusion, resulting in a desire to “graduate better citizens,” as she has described it. Lisa has partnered enthusiastically with our Director of Development and the entire development committee to further our culture of giving at PHS. She demonstrates both a natural affinity for, and strong commitment to, fundraising as evidenced by two notable giving milestones: the $1 million seed gift for the endowment for teacher retention, and the historic 2018-2019 community participation and dollars raised through our Annual Fund. Lisa has the qualifications, history, dedication and compassion to steward the mission, values and culture of PHS. She also has the leadership skills, passion and drive to lead as we look forward to the next 100 years. We are confident in Lisa and look forward to her service as Presidio Hill School’s Head of School. 

In her cover letter to the search committee, Lisa said, “I can think of nothing else professionally I would rather do than to lead Presidio Hill School on a positive trajectory of continued improvement, in partnership with so many others who care deeply about young people and their educational experiences. I want to lead so our PHS graduates will go out into the world with optimism, strong skills and knowledge, and a deep understanding of their responsibility to others and their own creativity and potential.” 

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Lisa to her new role as Head of School. We look forward to celebrating what our PHS community has accomplished together and embracing the exciting work still ahead. 

-------- Letter from Lisa Jeli-------

Dear Presidio Hill Community,

I am thrilled and humbled. As I often described to some of you when I took over as Interim Head of School just about one year ago today, I feel the weight of this huge responsibility but it is a weight in the very best sense of the word––incredibly grounding and focusing. I write to thank you all, especially the search committee and the PHS board of trustees, for your faith in me and for conducting a process that ensured that Presidio Hill School would put in place a leader who can move us steadily and successfully into our future, our next 100 years, committed to the very best progressive education possible for each and every one of our students, those students who are present now and also those still to come. 

I have learned so much through this process, about myself and about leadership and about PHS, and I am just beginning to sort through my feelings and thoughts about this exciting new step for my deep learning journey. I discovered long ago that listening to others––truly listening––and inviting different ideas, observations, and suggestions enables me to make thoughtful and wise decisions that bring our community forward together. And as this particularly intensive process generated no shortage of observations and feedback, I look forward to guiding PHS into a future informed by your thoughtful ideas!

Taking on the role of interim Head of School and participating in a full search enabled me to get a much wider view of our entire community and I really love what I have discovered: happy and engaged students, amazing and committed teachers, dedicated and talented administrators and staff, deeply invested and passionate parents and guardians––all of whom work very hard for PHS so that our school and our community can thrive. I know I am incredibly fortunate to have this new leadership opportunity from which I can build skillfully and creatively on the work that has been done by so many, over so many decades, and I’m excited to envision the future with all of you and make it happen.

With deep gratitude, appreciation, and commitment,