Yesterday the St. Johnsbury Academy Board of Trustees announced Dr. Sharon Howell will succeed Tom Lovett as the 25th Headmaster of the illustrious independent school.

In a field of exceptional candidates, Howell was the unanimous selection in a vote of the full board.

When announced by Board President Jay Wright, she reportedly received a prolonged, spirited, standing ovation from the entire school community.

She is the school’s first female Headmaster but search committee co-chairperson Nancy Goodrich points out, “Firsts aside, Dr. Howell is the best person for the job, period.”

We had an opportunity to meet with Howell yesterday and quickly understood the enthusiasm.

Though she follows a pair of legends in Bernier Mayo and Lovett - who oversaw a remarkable ‘Golden Era’ of growth and prosperity - Howell’s focus is simply on helping young people “expand what they understand to be excellent.”

“I want to do good work in the world,” she said. And it’s hard not to believe her.

Her background and training are in the humanities, so it should come as little surprise that she was drawn to teaching as much for the opportunity to help mold the character of young people, as their minds.

She insists caring, supportive communities imbue in young people the “habits of mind and heart to make other communities better.” Over the course of the past year, this is what she saw happening from her multiple visits and time she spent at the Academy.

As Board President Jay Wright said in his introductory remarks, “She wanted to help kids somewhere it would really matter.”

We think she came to the right place. We’re proud to help welcome her and look forward to another exciting chapter in Academy history.

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