Leadership and Strategic Plan

Head of School

Current Head of School Elizabeth “Bessie” Cromwell Speers will finish her tenure at Tower Hill in June 2023 to become Head of School at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. Bessie joined Tower Hill as Head of School in July 2015, bringing nearly 25 years of experience in independent school education. Bessie’s leadership has been transformational for Tower Hill and ensured that the school is in an especially strong position.
Hallmarks of Bessie’s leadership have been her warmth, her ability to build a strong team, her commitment to students and teachers, and her dedication to the mission of Tower Hill. Bessie’s tenure has been nothing short of remarkable for Tower Hill. Her vision has lifted the school in so many ways and there has been a notable renaissance in the breadth of academics and in the school’s attention to inclusivity and diversity. Her commitments to the school’s strategic goals of supporting faculty, providing exhilarating learning opportunities to students and creating community have clearly set Tower Hill apart. She has made the school a better place, including realizing the school’s public purpose as a school of Wilmington and the world. 
During Bessie’s tenure, Tower Hill’s enrollment grew from 705 students to 825; the school’s endowment rose from $33,000,000 to over $57,000,000, the school’s financial aid budget increased 70%; and the school’s centennial campaign raised over $23,000,000 dollars, making it the most successful campaign in the school’s history. This campaign also resulted in the school gaining three new learning spaces: the Neela Patel Center for Innovation, Kullman Dining Commons and the Lower School Experiential Outdoor Classroom. Bessie has always noted that bricks and mortar projects are meant to serve people and make new programs and partnerships possible, and to this end, she has invited and welcomed many highly qualified teachers to Tower Hill. Her commitment to professional development saw the school make tremendous investments in supporting the continuing education of our beloved faculty. Her re-invigorated faculty appraisal process ensured our students were the beneficiaries of those investments. 
Over the past seven years, Bessie and her team have accomplished:
  • Success leading us through the pandemic and keeping our students in-person and safe
  • Appointment of the school’s first Director of Social Justice and creation of the school’s first administrative position dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Appointment of the school’s first Director of Global Initiatives and creation of the Global Scholars Certificate Program
  • Building and executing a successful and collaborative strategic plan process
  • Adding squash to the athletic program, winning 14 state championships, creating the school's first Athletic Hall of Fame
  • Solving many safety issues in and around campus
  • Providing dynamic new program offerings such as Tower Term and courses in social entrepreneurship, world religions, computer science and robotics
  • Making great strides in the areas of academic technology, technology planning and technology infrastructure improvement
  • Building a culture of philanthropy, generating significant support from families, faculty, alumni and foundations
  • Making significant investments in the growth of programs in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Investing significantly in STEM and hosting the school's first Green Summit
  • Creating and supporting a robust Teaching and Learning Center and Wellness Center

Bessie’s commitment to students has increased student voice, and her investments in overall student health and wellbeing have ensured students have the support they need to do their very best. Tower Hill is as rigorous a school as it ever was, and it is also a kinder and healthier place for kids and adults. Thanks to Bessie’s vision and the strength of her team, Tower Hill is poised to venture boldly into the future and continue on as one of the top day schools in the country. 
Tower Hill’s Board of Directors is actively working to select a search firm to assist with a Head of School search, and the school anticipates a strong pool of candidates and process that will enable it to name a new Head of School in 2023.

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
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