Guest article: Nathaniel Healy takes over as Menlo head of school | September 11, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Schools - September 11, 2013

Guest article: Nathaniel Healy takes over as Menlo head of school

by Pooja Kathail

Nathaniel (Than) Healy has taken over as head of school at Menlo School, replacing longtime head Norman Colb, who left Menlo at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, after 20 years at Menlo.

Mr. Healy's arrival is the most notable change on campus for the new school year, but accompanies the expansion of a number of school programs.

Go Menlo, a sustainability campaign focused on reducing vehicle traffic to and from Menlo, has added a new bus route, serving students in the Los Altos and Cupertino areas.

The school has also continued to develop its pioneering Global Programs & Studies trips and exchanges that allow students a learning experience in different cultures and countries.

A number of new teachers have also joined Menlo's nearly 100 faculty members.

"The school has been focusing on the transition from a long-time, very successful head of school to a new head of school and that's where most of the school's energy is," Mr. Healy said.

His transition has been near-seamless, he said. After making the move from Seattle, he said that he and his family are enjoying the weather and are settling into the community. "Every move has it's challenges ... but California's familiar to me ... and this is a little bit of coming home for me," he said.

Mr. Healy began his career as a history and psychology teacher, as well as basketball and water polo coach, at Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, California.

Most recently, he was assistant head and upper school director of Lakeside School in Seattle.

Over the summer, he said, he met with nearly every member of the Menlo faculty, staff, and board of trustees.

"Menlo School is a super high functioning, high performing school," he said, adding that any "urge to come in and change a whole bunch of stuff" would be misplaced.

His plan, he said, is to "continue the trajectory" that the school is already on. "Great schools are constantly in a state of becoming and when you stop evolving, you start sliding backwards," he said.

"To serve the students well in the fast-paced world they are going to be graduating into, we have to have constant conversations about how to remain relevant and provide the education that they are going to need."

Menlo School, established in 1915, is an independent day school serving 795 students in grades 6-12.

About the author: Pooja Kathail is a senior at Menlo School and editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Coat of Arms.