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The Calhoun Board of Trustees is proud to announce Celeste Herrera will be Calhoun's next Head of School, beginning July 1, 2024.

Celeste has been an educator and leader in progressive education for over fifteen years, helping multiple schools translate instructional excellence into relevant, adaptive education. Her spirit, intellect and alignment with the values of the Calhoun community were immediately evident in her recent visit to the school. Celeste is an incredible leader with a strong vision that will bring Calhoun into the future. 

From the beginning of her career in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania to her current position as Assistant Head of The Dalton School, Celeste’s hallmark has been partnering across constituencies to establish a clear vision and leading with clarity and compassion to deliver results. Throughout her work, Celeste’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and to the principles of progressive education has led the way.

At Dalton, where she will continue to serve as Assistant Head through the end of this academic year, her work has included managing daily operations, co-chairing the facilities master planning committee, expanding institutional partnerships, and working closely with the Parent Association, the Chief Advancement Officer and the Head of School in service to Dalton’s mission. As the former Assistant Head for Academics and the High School Director, Celeste supervised K-12 academic departments and the divisional administrative teams. For seven years, Celeste was also the Director of College Counseling.

Celeste is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a dual degree in English and anthropology, and she holds a M.S. Ed. in psychological services from the University of Pennsylvania.

In a broader capacity, Celeste is a founder of the NYC Interschool Wellbeing Symposium, a member of the NYC Culinary and Sustainability education cohort, serves on the Cooperman Scholars Advisory Board and considers herself deeply committed to expanding educational access and opportunity in New York City. Throughout her career, Celeste has been known as an educator who leads with energy, empathy and her trademark can-do spirit. 

Celeste writes “I am honored to lead Calhoun, a school I have long admired as a foundational voice in progressive education. Together, we will inspire our students, celebrate our faculty and build community among our families and alumni. Though my appointment as Head of School fills me with excitement, my role as an incoming Calhoun parent is as important. My husband, Ken, and I are eager for Cosme (5), and our twins, Araceli and B (10), to grow alongside their teachers, classmates and our school. We can't wait to see you soon!" 

"I could not be more pleased to welcome Celeste Herrera as Calhoun's next Head of School," states current Board Chair Jon Brayshaw. "Although we encountered many talented and impressive candidates during the search process, those of us who got to spend time with Celeste immediately recognized that she is not only an experienced and passionate educator but also someone who shares a deep affinity for Calhoun's mission. Our school places a high value on the power of student agency, diverse viewpoints, student/teacher relationships, and collaboration across our community, and I have no doubt that Celeste will be highly effective in fostering this ethos as she leads us through Calhoun's next chapter."

We are all deeply grateful to Steve Solnick for his simply superb leadership that brought us to this point. Steve is fully committed to partnering with Celeste to ensure a successful transition.

Please join us in welcoming Celeste Herrera to Calhoun.

In partnership, 

Calhoun Board of Trustees


Calhoun's Next Head of School

Calhoun 81st Street Campus

The Search Process

The Board of Trustees' search for Calhoun's next Head of School began in the spring of 2023 when Steve Solnick announced his decision to step down at the end of the 2023-24 school year. The Board partnered with RG175 to help us conduct the search for a new Head of School. The detailed task of conducting the search was undertaken by the Board-designated Search Committee led by Kern Schireson and John Wang, both current Calhoun parents and Trustees; the rest of the committee was composed of parents, administrators, and faculty and staff from each division of the school.

In October of 2023, Celeste Herrera was announced as Calhoun's next Head of School. Steve Solnick will continue to lead through the end of the 2023-24 school year. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the search process!

Search Committee Members

Kern Schireson, Co-Chair, Trustee, Parent of 8th Grader
John Wang, Co-Chair, Trustee, Parent of 3rd and 7th Grader
Karen Greene, Trustee, Parent of 11th Grader
Margaret Spencer, Trustee, Parent of 7th Grader
Ken Vidal, Trustee, Parent of 11th Grader and Class of 2022 Alum
Zoe Vlachos, MMS Trustee, MMS Alum and Parent of 6th Grader
Danny Isquith, Upper School Director
Mary McCarty, Director of Development
Alba Polsley, Middle School Teacher, Parent of 7th Grader
Isabel Oyola, Lower School Teacher, Parent of Preschooler