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School Leadership

A Message from Head of School Dr. Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

Kelley Nicholson-Flynn Headshot

Welcome to Princeton Day School!

My life as an educator and as a leader has been informed by my origin as a scientist. I thrive on observation and curiosity, creativity and objectivity. On logic and problem solving. On extracting meaning from the world around me. I’ve spent years studying research focused on the cognitive and social sciences that have yielded tremendous insights about how best to create environments where students can learn and grow. When I first “met” Princeton Day School prior to my official arrival as head of school, I knew immediately that this is a place where those findings are being put into action. And I knew this was the place for me.

At PDS, our learning spaces are filled with questions, among them being, “What’s your why?” We know from research by leading scholars that individuals with a strong sense of purpose are happier and more successful in their lives. How does PDS help cultivate that sense of purpose in our students? By providing exceptional opportunities along with teaching and coaching in an environment where adults are not just the experts, but the “guides on the side” for students. This is evidenced in the daily face-to-face advisor check-ins for every Middle and Upper School student and in morning meetings for our lower schoolers. These small moments provide opportunity for guidance through unexpected challenges and for encouragement to take leaps and experience setbacks.

We strive to create a place where all community members — students, faculty, families and alumni — feel that they belong. But we can’t necessarily create that feeling alone; we need others to co-create environments that affirm individuals. Students engage in small group experiences within the classroom for discussion, connection and meaning-making. Providing a space for students across divisions to share what they value is well supported by the research. And even better, the students like it too. Here, the joy of learning is felt daily.

PDS is an exceptional school. And, at our core, we are a learning organization that operates in a culture of continuous improvement. We work to sharpen our understanding of outcomes we value and evaluate how well we are meeting those goals. Just as our students grow from feedback, so too will our institution. We are proud of the tradition of excellence in our past — at Miss Fine’s School, at Princeton Country Day School and at Princeton Day School — and look forward to charting the path ahead for a very bright future. 

Kelley Nicholson-Flynn P’26, Ph.D.
Head of School

Meet the team that makes it all happen.

PDS faculty and staff are dynamic, creative leaders who work together to ensure the highest quality experience for all students. At the helm is an administrative team of visionary educators who continue to propel the school forward. 

Stan Cahill

Stan Cahill

Director of Performing & Fine Arts/Design
Jon Cormier

Jon Cormier

Director of Advancement
Julie Cucchi

Julie Cucchi

Director of Admission and Financial Aid
Katie Fay

Katie Fay

Director of Athletics and Physical Education
Dulany Gibson

Dulany Gibson

Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations
Sarah Graham

Sarah Graham

Director of College Counseling
Deanna Harkel

Deanna Harkel

Director of Communications
Tony McKinley

Tony McKinley

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Katie O'Shaughnessey

Katie O'Shaughnessey

Head of Upper School
Jon Ostendorf

Jon Ostendorf

Chief Information Officer
Renée Price

Renée Price

Assistant Head of School for Academic Life; Head of MS
Lisa Surace

Lisa Surace

Associate Head of School
Sandy Wang

Sandy Wang

Head of Lower School