Leadership and Strategic Plan

Head of School

Elizabeth “Bessie” Cromwell Speers joined Tower Hill as Head of School in July 2015, bringing nearly 25 years of experience in independent school education. She previously served as head of school at The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut.

A search committee of current and past parents, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni unanimously recommended Speers to the school’s board of trustees. Based on feedback from the school community gathered through meetings, surveys and interviews, the committee sought a collaborative leader with a deep understanding of independent schools and broad knowledge of all aspects of a liberal arts education.

“Bessie emerged as the candidate best qualified to lead Tower Hill today and in the future because of her warmth, intellect, vision and commitment to continuous learning, combined with the creative, effective leadership she has demonstrated most recently at The Ethel Walker School,” said Earl Ball, immediate past board chair. 

Speers formerly served as assistant head of school, dean of faculty, English teacher and coach at Episcopal Academy near Philadelphia. Her prior positions include director of placement and strategic planning at Calvert School in Baltimore; director of admission and financial aid, teacher and coach at The Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore; and associate director of admission, coach and adviser at The Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut. She began her career working with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). 

A graduate of The Bryn Mawr School, Speers holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middlebury College and a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University. She received a Klingenstein Fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College in 2014 and has been active with various professional organizations including the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), The Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE), The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) and The Heads Network, of which she currently is serving as President. She serves on the board of Middlebury College and the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS). Speers is the tenth Head of School, and first woman to hold the position, in Tower Hill’s 95-year history. 

“I am honored to join the Tower Hill community,” Speers said. “The school’s longstanding tradition of excellence and the upcoming centennial provide an extraordinary opportunity to think boldly and collaboratively about Tower Hill’s future as a local and national leader. I look forward to working with the entire Tower Hill community to ensure that our students are well prepared to become engaged citizens in a world that needs their talent and leadership.”

Strategic Plan

Tower Hill embarked on an ambitious, community-wide initiative in 2016 to fully embrace and engage in a thorough and bold strategic planning process. Committee members met to contemplate the future of education, the changing global workplace and Tower Hill's strengths and opportunities moving forward. Approved by the board of trustees in May 2017, the plan reaffirms Tower Hill's mission and sets a framework for outlining differentiators as a leader in independent schools locally and nationally.

Three major areas of focus are outlined below, along with examples of emerging and possible initiatives. Periodic updates on progress in each area will be shared with the Tower Hill community.

Board of Trustees

Eric T. Johnson, M.D., Chair
Benjamin du Pont ’82, Vice Chair
Jack Flynn, M.D., ’81, Secretary
Marna Whittington, Ph.D., Treasurer

Suzanne Ashley
Kimberly Wright Cassidy, Ph.D.
Régis de Ramel
Robert DeSantis
Heather Richards Evans ’80
W. Whitfield Gardner ’81
Laird Hayward ’02
Henry Mellon
Catherine Miller
David Nowland ’85
Lisa A. Olson ’76
Kenneth A. Simpler
Isabella Speakman Timon ’92
Genelle Trader ’70
Carmen Wallace ’93
Gina Ward

Earl Ball, Ed.D., Emeritus