Kent Place School Announces New Director of the Middle School
"I am genuinely honored and delighted to be joining the Kent Place School community,” shared Ms. Chatterji. “During my time on campus and conversations with students, teachers, parents, and administrators, I sensed the very palpable and powerful dedication to learning and growth. I found myself drawn to Kent Place's tradition of academic excellence and its emphasis on the wellbeing of adolescents during this pivotal time in their lives. I look forward to donning green and gold this summer!"
A veteran administrator and educator in middle schools, Ms. Chatterji is a champion for adolescents and an accomplished leader in building healthy and equitable communities. For the past five years, she has been the middle and upper school division head at Chatham Day School, where she is responsible for overseeing all programs, faculty, staff, and students within grades fourth through eight and managing day-to-day operations of the division. Before Chatham Day, she was the middle school dean of students, an English teacher, and a coach at the Pingry School, in Basking Ridge, NJ. An expert in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in education, Ms. Chatterji also served as the director of programs and director of alumni affairs at New Jersey SEEDS. She believes that middle schoolers are capable of connecting authentically and developing a respect for the different backgrounds of all people. In addition to her reputation as a clear and confident communicator, Ms. Chatterji brings an acute appreciation for girls education, for empathic listening, and the necessity for mission-based decision-making, and she is drawn enthusiastically to Kent Place’s mission and community.
“Ms. Chatterji’s experience as a curriculum leader, as well as her experience with and commitment to working closely with students, teachers, and parents, impressed our search committee tremendously,” said Dr. Jennifer Galambos, Kent Place Head of School. “Ms. Chatterji brings experience, passion, and insight to her work. It’s an exciting time to be at Kent Place, and we’re thrilled to imagine the future of our Middle School under Ms. Chatterji’s leadership.”
Ms. Chatterji, who graduated from an independent school, earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Wesleyan University. She is an avid reader, loves writing and music, and spending time with her daughter and husband.
“Kooheli understands the internal dynamics of middle schoolers as well as the complex group dynamics of which they are a part,” remarked David Lowry, current president of the NJAIS board of trustees and former interim head of school for Chatham Day School. “She holds the respect of her faculty and parents and is knowledgeable in curriculum development and teaching methods. As I have said on many occasions, ‘If my middle school child were under Kooheli’s care, I would sleep peacefully at night!’”
Ms. Chatterji is succeeding Karen Rezach, who led the Kent Place Middle School for 18 years. Dr. Rezach was appointed the full-time Director of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place School in July 2018. We thank Jane Phillips for her role as Interim Director during this period of transition and look forward to finishing out the academic year with her.
That's our mantra in robotics. Try crazy things, be free with your ideas, and see what happens. If you're going to build the future, you'll need to be a pioneer. –Emma, seventh grade
LEAN INTO DIFFICULTY.
When it comes to academics, it pays to challenge yourself. I'm in the Bioethics Symposium, presenting research on the ethics of genetically-enhanced intelligence. At times it's daunting—research, deadlines, time management—but it's also a whole new way of thinking. Very independent and "you-driven." –Isabella, sophomore
OWN YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE
It's one of the "conversation norms" we have at Kent Place, and it's always resonated with me. Everyone has a different and equally valid perspective to bring to the table—so put yourself out there. –Mary, senior
DON’T THINK YOU’RE GOING TO GET A LABEL.
There are no jocks here at Kent Place, no science geeks, no theater nerds. Last month a varsity athlete went to sing at the Vatican. Everyone here has some unique quality — and they’re amazing at what they do. –Claire, senior
REACH BEYOND WHAT YOU THINK YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH.
You'll face plenty of challenges, but push through them. Brilliant women use their resources: their teachers, our studios and library and, of course, each other. If you're stuck, collaboration can almost always get you across the finish line. –Suzanne Carreno-Powers, Math Teacher and STEM Coordinator
GET READY FOR RIGOROUS WORK.
And multiple extracurricular activities. Busy days, and a few late nights. But through it all, don’t lose your sense of fun. –Alessandra, junior
KPS alumnae are amazing. I met one alumna after a math and science panel who works in retail architecture. That made me think about a cool way to combine two of my interests — math and fashion. –Amber, junior
YOUR TIME AT KPS IS GOING TO OPEN UP OPTIONS YOU HADN'T EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT.
And when it's time to choose, you're going to know yourself so well, you'll pick the college that's the best fit for you—academically, socially, personally. So don't get tunnel vision. This is your process. Just know that you'll be ready! –Jennifer Simpson, Director of College Advising
SOLVING PROBLEMS IS A JOURNEY, ENJOY THE RIDE!
In the Middle School we do a Science Expo—either two or four people work on a science project for a couple of months and then present it to the entire class. We go into some in-depth projects and it’s incredible what we learn along the way, and how willing our teachers are to help us through the tough parts. –Toni Ann, eighth grade
SPEAK YOUR MIND.
Every girl here learns from an early age how to speak up and speak to adults. You never feel silly raising your hand, and you’re given lots of opportunities to speak publicly. I’m never shy about saying what’s on my mind. –Vittoria, fourth grade
ETHICS WILL CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE OUTLOOK.
Right away, we tackled questions of "right versus right." We're learning to look at every issue from both sides, which helps with everything from homework to friendships. –Elizabeth, eighth grade