Fort Worth Country Day has named Alexis Stern as the next leader of its Bass Upper School, effective July 1, 2020. Stern succeeds Steve Stackhouse, who will retire at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.
Following an extensive search by Eric Lombardi, FWCD’s head of school, and meetings with upper school faculty, senior administrators and parents, Stern was selected out of more 50 candidates. She holds an Ed.M. in Teaching and Learning from Harvard University; a B.A. in History from The University of Texas at Austin; and has 13 years of teaching and leading experience in public, private and independent schools. She is described by colleagues as a “student-centered relational leader and systems thinker who fosters relationships with students and parents, fellow administrators, teachers and alumni to create inspiring and supportive learning environments.”
“Alexis’s teaching and leading experience, along with her passion for teachers, for students, for pedagogy, for school and for education made her our first choice. That we were her first choice sealed the deal,” said Lombardi.
A Texas-native, Stern’s appointment as FWCD’s head of upper school is a homecoming of sorts. She grew up in Richardson, graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, and began her teaching career at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD as a social studies teacher and coach. Most recently, Stern served as the interim head of upper school at The Buckley School, an independent K-12 school in Sherman Oaks, Calif., for two years.
“I am most excited about joining an educational community that seeks to support student growth as well-rounded, thoughtful, resilient and empathetic young adults,” said Stern. “I am inspired by FWCD’s faculty who are committed to their continued growth as educators and their focus on institutional priorities, including a clear commitment to making sure FWCD is a place where all are welcome.”
On her educational philosophy, Stern asserts that, “Education and empathy are the solution. From poverty to discrimination, from communicable diseases to armed conflict, quality education and compassion are the answer and thus my role as an educator and administrator is vital.”
Following her official start in July 2020, Stern’s initial orders of business include the necessary transition work with the retiring head of upper school, which will begin during an extended visit to campus in the spring, as well as “drop-in” appointments for families and students in late July.