Strategic Planning process takes shape

—Head of School John Palfrey has announced the members of Phillips Academy’s Strategic Planning Task Force and outlined overarching goals for the process that will begin next month and is expected to conclude with a draft report in June 2014. Chaired by Trustee Bob Campbell ’66 and Catherine Carter, instructor in classics, the group includes broad representation from faculty, staff, administrators and trustees:


Catherine Carter, instructor in classics
Stephanie Curci, instructor in English
Jeff Domina, instructor and chair in English
Lisa Joel, associate dean of admission
Christopher Jones, instructor in history and social science

Administrators and Staff

Patrick Farrell, dean of faculty
Rachel Skiffer, dean of policy and strategic planning
Chand Sripad, chemistry lab safety supervisor
Tracy Sweet, director of communications
Becky Sykes, associate head of school


Chris Auguste ’76
Bob Campbell ’66
Louis Elson ’80
Cori Field ’83

Ex Officio

Peter Currie ’74, president of the board of trustees
Nancy Jeton, special assistant to the head of school
John Palfrey, head of school

“I am very grateful to all those who volunteered to serve on the task force. While we were unable to accept all of the many kind offers to serve, the process will be an open and inclusive one, with many opportunities over the coming year to help shape the future of Phillips Academy,” said Palfrey. “I hope that we will have strong, deep, and consistent engagement from all parts of the PA community.”

Becky Sykes, who this week was named president of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, will continue to serve on the task force through the summer. “I am thrilled that Becky will remain engaged with the group as long as is reasonably possible, given her extraordinary opportunity ahead. Her expertise and institutional knowledge will be invaluable, especially as we work to frame the issues and establish a path forward,” said Palfrey.

Rachel Skiffer will lead the overall process, with active support and engagement by the group’s chairs and members. Also part of the framework will be opportunities for ad hoc participation, depending on one’s area of leadership and expertise. Working groups also will be established on particular issues and topics, with conversations led by colleagues who are not on the task force.

In a recent memo to trustees and the campus community, Palfrey outlined six overarching goals that will guide the process:

Be bold and aspirational: set in place a vision for where we aspire to take Phillips Academy over the next decade.

Set realistic financial boundaries: frame our vision within the bounds of fiscal responsibility, as we seek to improve our financial model, reduce our endowment draw below its current level of nearly 6% and curb tuition increases that outstrip inflation.

Think beyond Andover: consider the reach of Phillips Academy and how we bring in new ideas from outside our community.

Include the community in the process: draw on the good ideas of our faculty, alumni and others and create a sense of ownership that will lead to success in implementing the plan.

Build in dynamism: build dynamism into the plan such that we are not locked into any single direction for a long period.

Maintain transparency: communicate to the community regularly throughout the process.


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