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Dr. Reid Cottingham Is Named Upper School Director
Greg Waxberg

Pingry is incredibly pleased to announce that Dr. Reid Cottingham has accepted the invitation to remove the word “Interim” from her title in order to begin serving as the new Upper School Director, effective immediately. She was selected from an outstanding group of educators and administrators who participated in the nationwide search conducted in partnership with the leadership search firm Spelman Johnson.

Dr. Cottingham was appointed Interim Upper School Director in July 2021, taking what was originally intended to be just a two-year hiatus from her previous role as Director of Teaching and Learning, K-12. In that position, she served as Chair of the Academic Committee and played an important role coordinating and enhancing academic programming across all three divisions to ensure it was appropriately aligned with developmental levels. Dr. Cottingham’s Pingry experience also includes three years as Upper School Academic Dean and one semester as Interim English Department Chair. 

Dr. Cottingham has been a member of the English Department since joining the Pingry community in 2015, teaching a wide variety of courses across all grade levels (including two Humanities Independent Research Teams).

Throughout her time at Pingry, Dr. Cottingham has demonstrated a commitment to treating each student, advisee, family, and colleague with her warm combination of care, consideration, and fairness. She leads by example and, as a thoughtful writer and speaker, she uses her words and her calming presence to set the tone of every office and classroom she enters. She effectively collaborates across all divisions and departments, and in the words of one of her colleagues, she brings a sense of “grace, gravitas, and professionalism” to every encounter. She has proven to be a steady and unflappable leader, and she has always placed a high value on learning people’s stories and getting to know students and colleagues as whole people with lives beyond Pingry.

Prior to coming to Pingry, Dr. Cottingham spent 13 years as an English teacher and two years as Department Chair at the Marlborough School, an all-girls 7-12 school in Los Angeles. Equally comfortable in university classrooms, she has also taught at California State University Long Beach, The University of Chicago, Bucknell University, and Susquehanna University.

Dr. Cottingham is a graduate of Harvard University, where she received a B.A. in English and American Literature. She continued her studies on that subject at The University of Chicago, where she subsequently earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D.


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