Introducing Sequoyah's

New Head of School

Rebecca Hong

Head of School, Fall 2023
From the Search Committee

Dear Sequoyah Community,

The Board of Trustees is proud to announce the appointment of Rebecca Gale Hong as Sequoyah’s next Head of School. Supported by unanimous recommendation and approval by both the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees, Rebecca will join Sequoyah School in July 2023 and brings with her a deep understanding of progressive education and commitment to our school mission, a passion for student-centered teaching and hands-on learning, and a vision of stability and growth for Sequoyah that is thoughtful and measured, full of ambition, realism, and optimism.

In accepting the position, Rebecca shared, “From my first visit to Sequoyah School, I could tell this was a beloved home of many wonderful people, and throughout the search process I have been welcomed with warm greetings and open hearts. And so much laughter! In the three days of my finalist visit, I saw students giving speeches, cleaning up after themselves and each other, setting up for Morning Meeting, playing ball, and planning a musical in collaboration. While talking to 7th and 8th graders during lunch, sharing an evening with parents, and accepting the invitations into your classrooms on both campuses, I saw powerful challenges to the mind, great nurturing of the heart, delightful celebrations of human dignity. Many of you shared with me your dreams for the future of Sequoyah, as you shared with me stories of the past. This is an amazing place of diverse thought and experience, intentionality and ambition, deep purpose, and longstanding progressive values. I am honored and excited to accept the position of Head of Sequoyah School, and I look forward to serving in partnership with all of you!”

Currently the Director of Institutional Equity at Spence School in New York City, Rebecca’s background in enriching communities committed to equity, access, and inclusion resonates deeply with Sequoyah School’s founding values. Her role includes vision setting and strategic planning as well as the design, demonstration, and intersectional execution of DEI work throughout program and practices in every aspect of the school. With her oversight and collaboration throughout Spence’s administrative and academic structure, Rebecca’s work far surpasses her title and, as described by Bodie Brizendine, Spence’s long-standing Head of School, encompasses work akin to that of an assistant head of school.

Rebecca’s extensive experience over her 25-year career as an educator has included building learning environments for students spanning kindergarten to graduate school, as well as classroom teaching and administrative leadership, making her authentically positioned to lead Sequoyah into its next chapter. Her love for teaching is equally rooted in the cultivation of student success as well as educator development, maximizing each individual’s capacity in the community to feel joy and purpose in striving to reach their full potential. 

We are fortunate to welcome Rebecca to the Sequoyah School community to build on Josh Brody’s 19-year tenure and the current leadership of Mike McGill. We look forward to her arrival, to see her playing in classrooms with our little ones, dancing with our JH students on the upper, and backpacking with our high schoolers.

The success of this search would not have been possible without the thoughtful contributions of our students, parents/guardians, faculty, and staff. We appreciate the extensive community participation and feedback that has informed and enlightened each step of this process. Our gratitude is likewise shared for the diligent and collaborative work of search consultants Coreen Hester from RG175, and Mary Rose Fernandez and Orpheus Crutchfield from Strategenius.

Please join us in celebrating this milestone!

Sincerely,

The Head of School Search Committee

Michael Barak, Co-Chair
Renee Dake Wilson, Co-Chair
Rachel Countryman
DuVon Davis
Laura Gowen
Ann Liashkov
Luis Livingston-Gomez
Carolina Valle
Joyce Ybarra

Interim Head of School

Mike McGill

Interim Head of School
From Mike McGill

Dear Sequoyah School Community,

I am thrilled and honored to be joining you this coming January. Having spent my entire career in progressive independent schools, Sequoyah’s values, philosophy, programs, and decades-long commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion resonate deeply with me.

Indeed, as I’ve gotten to know the school over the past few months – albeit at a distance – it seems very much like the kind of place that my wife and I sought for our own children back in the day: one that shared our belief that kids are innately curious and eager to learn, and that recognized that a diverse student body was essential to ensure they would be ready to thrive in the heterogeneous world that awaited them upon graduation. Sequoyah’s mission, which celebrates human dignity and learning that is both active and joyful; its pedagogical intentionality, featuring mixed-age classrooms, the modular schedule, place- and project-based learning; and its special programs, including SIP, Talking Leaves, and Field Studies, all ensure that children’s learning, growth, and development are at the heart of everything the school does.

I am excited to immerse myself in all things Sequoyah. I love schools for the vibrant life that comes spilling out of classrooms, hallways, lunchrooms, and playgrounds; I look forward to theatrical and musical performances and to cheering wildly at soccer games. That is why, in whatever administrative position I’ve occupied, I have always found ways to stay formally engaged with students – as an advisor, for example, or, more recently, as an “Environment Team” member at the Northwest School here in Seattle. I don’t know yet what this engagement will look like at Sequoyah, but look forward to being an active, visible presence on both campuses.

In fact, as I reflect on Sequoyah’s Habits of Mind, it seems to me that stewardship may be the most crucial of the eight for an Interim Head of School to possess and model; specifically, during a time of significant change and transition, and despite the myriad projects that demand a head’s attention in any school, “[Taking] care of people, [taking] care of things, [taking] care of the environment, and [seeking] to make the community a better place for all” ought to come first. I’ll strive to embody that habit every day and work alongside all of you to help shepherd the school through the transition from Josh Brody’s long, successful headship to his permanent successor’s.

I look forward to meeting many of you in early December when I visit Sequoyah and try to absorb as much as I possibly can from Josh before his departure for Australia. In the meantime, I will do my best from Seattle to stay current with developments on campus in order to be able to hit the ground running in January.

Best wishes,
Mike McGill

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