Townsend, 56, cited Miami-Dade’s multicultural community and Moceri’s work at Ransom as some of her reasons for taking the position.
“I knew about Ellen and met her at a head of schools’ retreat in 2007 and had heard of Ransom Everglades. The way she talked about the school caught my attention,” Townsend said.
She added that the offer, a unanimous decision by an 11-member search committee of faculty, administrators, parents, alumni and trustees, was the “most thrilling opportunity of my life. It’s a great community, an ambitious group. Education is moving fast and there are a lot of changes and you need the resources, the energy and the enthusiasm. Teachers have to be flexible and learn how this technology will change us in this 21st century. I’ll be 57 when I get there and I wanted to have one last go at working as the head of an institution with a passionate administration and passionate students.”
Prior to her work at Pennington, Townsend’s career included several key positions at the Taft School in Watertown, Conn. Her work history impressed William Holly, a Class of 1986 Ransom graduate and member of the search committee.
“She spent 23 years at Taft School and that was big for me. She understood academic excellence and how complicated it is and how many different things go into providing academic excellence,” said Holly, president of Pointe Group Advisors, a commercial real estate brokerage.
“She really got the community here and the mission of the school honoring excellence. It is a private school with a public purpose and she got the purpose. She understood the Miami community and is bilingual and understood the multicultural nature of our community and that is a tremendous strength.”
Townsend graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1979 with a bachelor’s in History, specializing in Latin American Studies, and earned her master’s at Middlebury College in Vermont in Spanish Language and Literature.
“I am passionate about Spanish. I lived in Spain. I’ve always been a Spanish teacher,” she said. “I knew early on I was not good at math and science and, for me, the joy of learning another language, and then having the culture to connect to, all made sense to me. When you can share their language you can get to know a whole other culture.”
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