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Head of School Announcement

A headshot of Dr. Roderick MacNeal, Jr.

November 4, 2022

The Board of Trustees is thrilled to announce the selection of Dr. Roderick MacNeal, Jr. as The Chestnut Hill School’s next Head of School, beginning July 1, 2023. The Board unanimously approved the Search Committee’s recommendation to appoint Rod, following a nine-month search process that included all members of the CHS community.

“We are overjoyed to welcome Rod to CHS,” says Stephen Kraus P’25 ’28, Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees and member of the search committee. “During his time on campus, Rod was thoughtful and engaging in his conversations with teachers, parents, and students. It is clear that Rod is a principled, humble, collaborative, and effective leader.  He has deep experience in school and system leadership with a strong focus on data-driven decision making and academic achievement. It is also clear that Rod has a deep commitment to our mission and a vast set of leadership and lived experience that make him the ideal next leader for CHS.”

For the past six years, Rod has served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the Arlington (MA) Public Schools. Rod’s current responsibilities include both interaction with K-12 teachers and school leaders and oversight of finances and policy development for the school district.

Current and former colleagues were effusive in their descriptions of working with Rod: 

  • “He is student centered first and foremost;” “fierce advocate of putting children first;” “always in classrooms, getting to know kids”

  • “He believes in and invests deeply in teachers.”

  • “He is meticulous about details and operations … when he makes a plan, it goes all the way through.”

  • “He brought in an equity lens even before George Floyd; even though we are a predominantly white community, he thinks about Brown/Black students.” 

  • “He is incredibly open, patient and kind and welcomes feedback.”

  • “He has a great sense of humor.”

  • “As a human, he is unbelievable.”

Prior to his work in Arlington, Rod served as a principal for seven years at both The John Eliot School, a K-5 elementary school serving 300+ students in Needham (MA), and in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Rod began his career as an educator in the suburbs of Detroit, teaching Grades 2, 3, and 4, before moving into school leadership. He has earned a BA in English Literature from The University of Michigan, a MAT in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and an Education Specialist Certificate in Administration and Supervision from Wayne State University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Boston College.

We would like to thank members of the CHS community for participating in this selection process and providing invaluable feedback. We would also like to thank the members of the Search Committee for their extraordinary service and dedication to The Chestnut Hill School. Finally, we are grateful for Diana Blazar and the administration team who have stepped up to effectively lead CHS during this transition and will continue to do so for the remainder of the school year.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Board will work to finalize an employment agreement and contract with Rod but we are thrilled today to announce his selection as the next Head of School. Please join us in congratulating Rod and welcoming him, along with his wife Erikka, and their three daughters, Bailey (18), Blake (13)  and Raye (11),  to the CHS community.  

A Letter from Dr. Roderick MacNeal

Dear Members of The Chestnut Hill School Community, 

I am very excited to be selected as your next Head of School. I look forward to collaborating with all members of the community. 

My interest in education began as a deep passion to serve others which was instilled in me by both of my parents.

Read More about A Letter from Dr. Roderick MacNeal

Search Committee

  • Steve Kraus, Board Member, P ‘25 ‘28

  • Shradha Patel, Board Member, P ‘25 

  • Gary McPhail, Teacher, Grade 4

  • Qiana Otieno-Rudek, Teacher, Kindergarten

  • Lauren Giordano, Math Specialist, P ‘19 ‘21 ‘23

  • Marcus Young, Board Member, P ‘26 ‘27

  • Neil Maniar, Board Member, P ‘18 ‘25  

  • Hilary Grove, Board Member, P ‘26

  • Melanie Hoffmeister, P '21 '22