Dr. Cottingham was appointed Interim Upper School Director in July 2021, and her Pingry experience includes three years as Upper School Academic Dean and a semester as Interim English Department Chair.
Over the last decade, with the successful completion of the Sesquicentennial Plan, formulated in 2007 and updated in 2011, followed by the Blueprint for the Future capital campaign, Pingry has been steadily and thoughtfully charting its future. With the launch of its 2018 Strategic Plan, the School seeks to advance its vision even further.
| Purpose and Disciplines
Key Question: How do we enhance our curriculum model to best support our student outcomes and prepare our students for life?
Aspiration: We must aspire to prepare our students to become not only masters of individual disciplines, but skilled problem solvers, resilient in the face of setbacks, who are adept at intellectual navigation within and across disciplines as they pursue solutions to substantive problems, and, by so doing, work not solely for personal advantage, but for the common good.
“We want to reimagine how we assess our students so we reward problem solving and creativity, leave room for risk-taking, and nurture intellectual curiosity. This means striking a balance between learning conceptually and learning by doing. Ultimately, we want Pingry students to be more interested in knowledge, scholarship, and meaningful experiences than in a letter grade.”
When I was a student at Pingry in the mid- to late-'70s, the School was focused on transitioning from all-boys to coed and on preparing to move from Hillside to Basking Ridge. Today, we are again looking to the future of the School and again hoping to redefine the education we provide in response to the changing landscape of our world. I am grateful to all the people who contributed their ideas, effort, and time to this plan, which I am both proud and excited to see Pingry enact.
—Mr. Jeff Edwards ’78, P ’12, ’14, ’18, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Key Question: How do we best develop alumni who will be citizens of and contributors to the larger community of the world?
Aspiration: We must aspire to a culture and program that place a premium on developing ethically responsible, globally- and inclusively-minded, intellectually engaged citizens and leaders, who have demonstrated global competencies acquired during immersive learning experiences within and beyond the boundaries of Pingry’s New Jersey campuses.
“Some of the skills that we, as educators, want to teach—and much of what the Honor Code embodies—are empathy, risk taking, and understanding the broader community of the world. Experiential education, whether it’s on campus, local, or abroad, is a really good way to build these skills.”
—Ms. Julia Dunbar, Director of Global Education and Engagement, History Teacher, Form V Dean
Key Question: How do we promote an environment that supports our community’s overall well-being?
Aspiration: We must aspire to create an environment that promotes and supports physical, mental, emotional, and social health and well-being, and a program that guides all members of the community in developing resilience, a growth mindset, and the skills and habits to maintain their health and manage stress effectively, thereby enhancing the health and well-being of the community.
“Teaching health and wellness is not a matter of a class or two; it should be interwoven into all students’ experiences at Pingry, K-12. Closing the divide between athletics and overall health and wellness is important so that our efforts aren’t simply geared to the student-athlete, but to all students. And it’s not just about physical health, but emotional and social, too. We need to teach students to be stable, healthy, resilient people.”
—Mr. Doug Scott, Director of Strength and Conditioning, P.E. Teacher, Form IV Dean
I am now more sure than ever that my kids are in good hands! So many individuals from Pingry’s administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni came forward with their creativity, time, and ideas, far beyond my expectations. We’re really building from a position of strength—the plan is taking some of the most high-impact parts of the School and making them even more distinctive.
—Ms. Laura Moran P ’22, ’26, ’26, Partner at McKinsey & Company and consultant to Pingry
Faculty & Staff Growth and Development
Key Question: How do we build the capacity of each faculty and staff member to best fulfill our mission?
Aspiration We must aspire to a cohesive faculty and staff that increasingly mirror the diversity of our student body; that share a strong sense of faculty and staff community; that are skilled in designing and implementing experiential education both in the classroom and in the field; that are open to and supportive of appropriate risk taking and innovation; and that are passionate about children, teaching, and improving professional practice. And we must commit to enhancing the assessment and growth processes and devoting the resources that are needed to support this aspiration.
“Pingry is tremendously supportive of the passions of its faculty members. I started a yoga teacher certification in February, which the School’s professional growth opportunities allowed me to engage in. I want to use yoga and mindfulness in a more practical, day-to-day way with Middle Schoolers. The School supports really big community initiatives, but it also gives voice to individual faculty and staff members.”
Creating the Strategic Plan was a very involved process, but what was most inspiring as Board members worked together was that, despite all of our initially disparate focuses—from technology to student well-being to diversity and inclusion—we were all moving in the same direction. My son is in seventh grade, and I am even more excited to see the kind of young man he’s going to be when he graduates based on the strengths of Pingry today and the trajectory that it is on.
—Denise Grant P ’23, Board Member and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee
Key Question: How do we improve Pingry’s financial sustainability in ways that expand and enhance our positive impact on society?
Aspiration: We must aspire to identify and capitalize on every opportunity to deliver on our mission more effectively, efficiently, and broadly, to anticipate and turn to our advantage changes to the educational environment, and to enhance our financial sustainability with programs that are mission-consistent and add to the financial strength of the school.
“Maximizing impact is really about simultaneously furthering the School’s mission and allowing Pingry greater reach. Think of joining two paths in the woods: one leads to creating and bettering alternate revenue streams in order to decrease the burden on tuition increases each year; the other leads to Pingry doing what it has always done, but even more effectively and for a wider audience—fostering a lifelong commitment to intellectual exploration, individual growth, and social responsibility within an ethical framework.”—Mr. David Fahey '99, Associate Director of Operations, Safety, and Strategic Initiatives
“What’s next? This question encapsulates this strategic area. How can we make Pingry even better? How can we take our audience and expand it in a mindful way?”
—Mrs. Cindy McArthur P '29, Director of Summer and Auxiliary Programs
Many of these strategic themes have grown organically from what the School is already doing. But now, we’re doubling down. We are pushing ahead, capitalizing on the experience and skill-sets that we already have within our faculty and staff. We’ve accomplished a lot of great stuff, so what’s next? The answer is going to be really exciting.
—Mr. Nathaniel E. Conard P ’09, ’11, 15th Headmaster, 2005-19