The Head of School for the New School announces retirement after the 2016-2017 school year

Worked on for Lancaster Newspaper, but it never got published. July 19.

The retirement of a prominent school figure can mark the end of an era, and the beginning of something new.

After a 27-year-long teaching career, Mary Cae Williams, the Head of School at the New School in Lancaster, announced her retirement for the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Mary Cae will be a tough act to follow, but she leaves the school in a position of strength and with plenty of time and support to ensure a thoughtful transition to the next Head,” said the Board of Trustees collectively in a statement.

“I just reached a point where I’m like, you know, things are going really good right now, things are going strong,” said 66-year-old Williams. “(I wanted) to pass it off and not wait until something happens and I have to go because my health goes, or I have to go because of my mother’s (health).”

Williams said she likes feeling in control of her decision to retire. “I’m not desperate and I’m not miserable and I’m not of poor health … So I can pass on the reins and it won’t be crazy,” she said. “It won’t be urgent, It’ll be calm, and it’ll be okay.”

The New School is currently looking for someone to take over as Head of School. To maintain objectivity, Williams said that the school hired a review agency to screen and interview qualifying applicants.

A few of the desired qualities of applicants include approachability, openness, a love of children and transparent leadership, according to Devon Liddell, Chair of the committee.

In November, the search committee will bring in the top two or three contenders to introduce to the students. “This is going to be a long process,” said Liddell. Applications will be accepted until Sept. 1.

“It’s hard to imagine The New School without Mary Cae,” said Liddell. “Her leadership embodies the heart of the school – its child-centered, respectful, and caring environment which celebrates individuality and a love of learning. We are searching for a next Head of School who can sustain and build from that core.”

Williams left her retirement open-ended, however, and agreed to stay on as the Head of School until the right person is found to head the school. She is not part of the replacement search process.

If all goes according to plan, Williams said she intends on spending an extended period in Italy, a place where she and her husband frequently vacation.

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