Ms. Schurdak has been working as an administrator with this age group for over 20 years and is excited to join Pingry, having been struck “by the commitment of the Middle School faculty to educating middle schoolers… They are both serious and joyful about their work.”
Pingry is pleased to announce that Tamara Schurdak will join the School as Middle School Director, effective July 1. She has been working as an administrator with this age group for over 20 years and is excited to join Pingry, having been struck, in her words, “by the commitment of the Middle School faculty to educating middle schoolers… They are both serious and joyful about their work. I was struck by the pride and insights of the students—their words and actions evidenced Pingry’s core values.”
Ms. Schurdak most recently served as Head of School at The Chestnut Hill School (ages 3 to Grade 6) in Massachusetts from 2017 to 2022. During her five-year tenure, she increased student and staff retention, as well as enrollment; created staff committees that worked on school initiatives; redesigned employee training and professional development; and created a position dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and helped launch student affinity groups. On the subject of belonging, Ms. Schurdak has written, “Whether a teacher or administrator, I have always sought inclusive communities in which risk and challenge are encouraged, required, and rewarded, and as I have grown as an educator, I have learned the science to explain why belonging is critical to learning, growth, and the well-being of every member of the community.”
Prior to Chestnut Hill School, Ms. Schurdak was Head of Upper School (Grades 5 to 8) at The Town School in New York from 2012 to 2017. There, she redesigned the schedule, facilitated a review of the math curriculum and a literacy review, and coordinated the renovation of the school’s science lab and other facilities, among other accomplishments. Before that position, Ms. Schurdak was Middle School Principal (Grades 6 to 8) at Bullis School in Maryland from 2008 to 2012, History Department Chair (Grades 6 to 8) at Kingswood-Oxford School from 2001 to 2008, Co-Director of College Counseling at Bryn Mawr School, and Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at her alma mater, Yale University.
Ms. Schurdak received a B.A. in Psychology from Yale, where she was a member and captain of the Women’s Varsity Crew Team, and an M.A. in Policy Analysis and Evaluation from Stanford University. She is completing an M.Ed. in Private School Leadership at the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University, Teachers College.
Along with her leadership positions, Ms. Schurdak has taught leadership, public speaking, health, geography, and American history, and coached crew, field hockey, squash, and basketball. She understands the administrator-teacher dynamic, writing, “School administrators must work closely with teachers to define what it means to learn, what learning is necessary for all students, and what metacognitive skills should be modeled . . . Moreover, professional development should be delivered in a way that reflects good teaching, allowing staff to incorporate what they’ve learned and connect with one another as they do important work together.”
Pingry looks forward to welcoming Ms. Schurdak this summer.
Contact: Emily Cooke, Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing