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Introducing Dr. Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

Princeton Day School is thrilled to announce that Kelley Nicholson-Flynn, Ph.D., has been appointed by the Board of Trustees to serve as the school's next head beginning in July 2023.

Kelly Nicholson-Flynn headshot

A Message From the Incoming Head of School

I could not be any more excited to join PDS beginning in 2023! Over the next several months, I am eager to learn all that I can about the people, the programs, the places and the traditions that characterize this exceptional school. During the search process, I was able to visit campus and meet some of the school leaders that help a school like PDS thrive. I was also able to spend time with Head of School Paul Stellato, whose extraordinary leadership provides me with a strong foundation to serve as the next head. Most importantly, each person I’ve met helped me understand what all of you already know – that Princeton Day School is a magical place. This school has a remarkable academic program, art and athletics programs that encourage young people to flourish, a steadfast commitment to building a diverse and equitable community where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued, and a decades-long record to promote sustainability. Even with these incredible strengths, many at the school ask, “How can we be better?” This dual description of the school as a place of excellence where everyone can grow and learn is what drew me in.

I believe in the promise of PDS where faculty, families, and students make good on the commitment to give each learner opportunities of a lifetime, every day. I can’t wait to meet you all!

- Dr. Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

About Dr. Nicholson-Flynn

Dr. Nicholson-Flynn is currently the Assistant Head of School for Operations at Riverdale Country School, a pre-K-12 independent school in the Bronx, New York City. She assumed this position in 2020 after serving for eight years as Head of Upper School at Riverdale. Dr. Nicholson-Flynn began her teaching career at the Lawrenceville School in 1998, where she worked for 14 years in roles of increasing responsibility, including Chair of the Science Department, Chair of the Interdisciplinary Program, and Coordinator of Teaching and Learning Programs.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Bucknell University and a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Science Studies from Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Nicholson-Flynn earned her doctorate in a joint program in Cell and Developmental Biology at Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and instructed medical students in Histology and Cell Biology. Dr. Nicholson-Flynn has also led multiple programs through the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University's Teachers College including the Klingenstein Summer Institute and the FORGE leadership development program.

Throughout the search process, Dr. Nicholson-Flynn consistently demonstrated exceptional interpersonal skills, a genuine warmth, and an openness to considering a wide range of views and perspectives. She impressed the Search Committee and Board of Trustees with her understanding of PDS and our unique position in the Princeton community. She is an experienced teacher, administrator, and scholar who will bring a research-driven and evidence-based approach to her new role. In her words, she will “seek to articulate a vision for the School’s future and chart a path for progress in a culture of continuous learning and improvement.”

Upper School Faculty Member and Community Multicultural Development Team Chair Caroline Lee said, “It has been a pleasure getting to know Kelley. She is an inspiring leader. She’s held multiple leadership roles but clearly remains committed to evolving in her practice. She is a learner at heart, and we see how her purpose is woven into all that she does, whether it’s facilitating a meeting, teaching a class, or interacting with students and families. She is also a skillful and empathic listener whose leadership will help continue our DEIB work. Those of us on the committee were heartened by the way Kelley studied our Facing Forward documents and asked thoughtful questions about how to continue this work.”

Middle School Humanities faculty member and Sixth Grade Dean Angharad Rebholz said, “What struck me most about Kelley’s style was her ability to make space for every voice in a school community. She is a community builder who leads from the heart and brings warmth and compassion to every conversation. At each stage of the Search Committee’s process, we carried with us the charge outlined in the position statement, and Kelley exemplifies the precise characteristics we seek in our next school leader.”

Dominic Randolph, Riverdale’s Head of School, described Kelley as “an exceptional teacher, an accomplished administrator, and an amazing human.” He said, “Kelley has devoted her life to improving the learning and ethical decision-making of young people in all spheres of school life. I know she will bring her wisdom, her excellence in all that she does, and her broad expertise to Princeton Day School as she continues her work making school environments the very best that they can be for our children.”