Ruzicka compass

PREMIER LEADERSHIP AWARD

NOMINATIONS OPEN UNTIL APRIL 12

Ruzicka Compass

Premier Leadership Award

The Ruzicka Compass Premier Leadership Award recognizes extraordinary contributions to the excellence, advancement, and success of boarding schools.

A steadying influence, rich with vision, and always true, even in turbulent times, Steve’s leadership likewise enabled great voyages for so many boarding schools, and for the leaders, educators, and families who live and serve in these remarkable communities.

The Award itself, an elegant, handcrafted artisan box with an inlaid compass, is presented on behalf of TABS’ Board of Directors to one individual each year at TABS Annual Conference. A larger, compass-themed plaque, bearing the names of each annual recipient, is maintained at TABS offices.

Susan A. Nelson

2022 RECIPIENT

CRITERIA & NOMINATIONS

Nominations are now closed

You can help TABS pay tribute to those who chart courses of inspiration, commitment and integrity on behalf of boarding schools. If you know a colleague who embodies these characteristics, and has made extraordinary contributions to boarding education, consider nominating him or her for the 2023 Ruzicka Compass.

THE SUCCESSFUL NOMINEE WILL HAVE:

  • Worked in, on behalf of, or for the benefit of TABS member schools for an extended period of time
  • Exemplified a spirit of vocation, a devotion to service, and a gift for leadership
  • As a person and as a professional, modeled inspiration, commitment, and integrity
  • Beyond assisting his or her own school, made a marked contribution to the effectiveness, success, and future of boarding schools

To nominate a colleague, please be prepared to provide the following information:

  • General Information about the Nominator
  • General information about yourself (contact information)
  • General information about the nominee (Contact information and status – working/retired)
  • Nominee’s current professional information, if applicable (Employer, Title/Position)
  • Work history: last 3 jobs, years of service, employer, role
  • Supporting statement for nominee – (150 to 500 words)
  • Three references, including contact information

Be Inspired

PAST RECIPIENTS

2022

Susan A. Nelson

2021

Barbara Landis Chase

2020

F. Robertson Hershey

2019

Drew Casertano

2018

Michael Mulligan

2017

Burch Ford

2016

Wanda Hill

2015

Henry (Skip) Flanagan

2014

David Hadden

2013

John R. Eidam

2011

Ellie Griffin

2010

Mary Louise Leipheimer

2009

Tom Wilcox

2008

Family of Stephen Ruzicka

patricia sasser

Patricia previously served as the Head of the Upper School at the Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, Florida. She also worked at the Loomis Chaffee School as a dean of students and was heavily involved in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the school. Prior to Loomis Chaffee, Patricia worked at The Madeira School in several roles, including as a major gifts officer, director of student activities, special assistant to the head of school on diversity, and the assistant dean of students for residential life.

Before transitioning into education, Ms. Sasser worked at ESPN as an associate producer, where she was a two-time Emmy® nominee and a 2006 Emmy® award winner.

Raquel majeski

Raquel Majeski began working at Lawrence Academy in 2017 and is the Assistant Head for Equity and Community Life. She has a BA from Eckerd College in communications and human development and an MA from Nova Southeastern University in reading and special education. Raquel lives in Brazer with her two children, Lauryn and Wade. She loves spending time with the students at LA, participating in book clubs and bible study groups, and attending Dave Matthews Band concerts. Raquel is also the Chair of the diversity task force for the town of Groton.

MARQUIS SCoTT

Marquis Scott joined The Lawrenceville School in 2018 and has made significant contributions in various leadership roles. He has implemented a technology-focused strategic plan to enhance cyber security practices, improve employee portal utilization, and streamline campus-wide technology support. Marquis has also played a pivotal role in advancing the School’s initiatives on diversity, equity, and inclusion, implementing best practices and leading senior staff efforts in this area. Additionally, he has led strategic communication and institutional marketing committees, ensuring consistent communication, website strategy, and brand identity aligned with the School’s mission. Marquis has been instrumental in the marketing and branding of Lawrenceville’s Gruss Center for Art & Design and collaborates with the Lawrenceville community to prioritize and execute strategic projects. 

In addition to his role as the assistant head of school, Marquis has successfully undertaken various acting leadership positions, including chief technology officer, director of communications and external affairs, dean of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement, and director of human resources. Currently, he leads a student-centered Wellness Team, working collaboratively with the medical director, dean of students, and dean of campus well-being to prioritize a holistic approach to student well-being.

Scott holds a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University’s School of Business in Newark, NJ, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Computer Science from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and he is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa, with an anticipated completion date of Winter 23-24. Scott recently completed the National Association of Independent Schools’ Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads. He is an alumnus of the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Hotchkiss Board of Governors.

WILLIAM GILYARD

Will Gilyard is in his 19th year of working in independent schools. In 2020, he returned to his alma mater Choate Rosemary Hall to take on the roles of Form Dean, and Alumni Engagement Associate. Will joined Choate after nine years at the Kingswood Oxford School (KO), a 6-12 independent day school located in West Hartford, CT, where he served as Dean of Students, an upper school math teacher, assistant football coach, and faculty advisor for the United Students club and Boys of Color group. At Choate, Will is the faculty adviser to Choate Afro Latino Men (CALM), and Girls Who Code (GWC).

Will also serves as a core faculty member and helped create the curriculum for the Institute for New Teachers of Color in Independent Schools, created in 2020, the Interschool Leadership Institute, created in 2013. Will also served as a core faculty member of the Kingswood Oxford Leadership Institute for Educators of Color (KOLIEC) from 2011-2018 and helped create the curriculum for the mentoring/advising circles for institute participants.

Before joining KO, Will was the Head of the Upper School at the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine in New York City. He serves on the board of advisors for the IDEAL School, also located in New York City. He is passionate about the role of educators in independent schools, specifically in the lives of students of color. Will has attended numerous workshops, conferences, and institutes related to leadership in independent schools and anti-racist education. Will had the honor of being a member of a think tank for the CARLE institute. 

Will has his B.A. in Psychology from Williams College and his M.A. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Joseph. Will is thrilled to be a part of the TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) team and looks forward to working with energized and focused individuals who are interested in being change agents in the residential life sphere.

Will and his wife, Afton, ALP/Enrichment Teacher in Stratford Public Schools reside in Wallingford, CT with their two sons, William (10) and Maxwell (8).

RYAN PAGOTTO

Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto ’97 joined Blair’s faculty in 2002 and is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the School on matters related to student and residential life, including health and counseling services, athletics and co-curricular programs. He runs Monday School Meeting and, among other things, is known for greeting students in the morning at the Clinton Hall doorway and offering freshly picked apples from his office during the month of October. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Ryan serves as a member of the history department and teaches Global Issues. He also authors the monthly e-newsletter From Hilltop to Home, a communication designed to help new boarding-school parents navigate the ins and outs of the Blair experience.

Over the course of his time at Blair, Ryan has served as a history teacher, head tennis coach, a dorm head and Dean of Admission. He completed his undergraduate work at Dickinson College, where he captained the men’s tennis team, and earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Columbia University. Before joining the faculty at Blair, Ryan taught at the Taft Summer School in Watertown, Connecticut, and Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania. He also spent three summers as program director of the Cambridge Prep Experience at Peterhouse College, Cambridge University.

In addition to his roles in schools, Ryan has served as a faculty member for the TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) Summer Session and is a regular presenter at national boarding and independent school conferences on student and residential life.

Ryan and his wife, Jennifer, performing arts department chair and Director of Instrumental Music at Blair, live in Grullon House with their children, Jack, Will, Ella and Addison, and their dog, Teagan. The Pagottos enjoy opening their home to Blair students, faculty and staff members throughout the year.

SUSAN BALDRIDGE

Susan served as a professor and leader at Middlebury College for over 25 years, most recently as Executive Vice President and Provost, leading Middlebury’s academic programs across multiple campuses – Middlebury, Bread Loaf, Monterey – as well as study abroad locations around the world. Prior to her Provostship, Susan served as Vice President for Strategy and Planning, Dean of Planning and Assessment, and Dean of the Faculty. She is a tenured Professor of Psychology and taught throughout her time at Middlebury.

Susan began her consulting firm in 2018, advising schools, colleges, non-profits and foundations in the areas of strategy, planning and governance; and coaching senior administrators to build leadership capacity and support change management. This led her to partner with TABS in 2019, in the development of TABS current strategic plan.

In addition to consulting, Susan co-authored the book, The College Stress Test, an analysis of educational markets and tools for helping schools to identify their place within market trends. The book was named one of the best books on higher education in 2020 by Forbes Magazine. Susan has presented extensively on topics relating to human sexuality, social psychology, and the psychology of women and gender. She received her B.S. with highest honors in Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa, at Denison University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology at UCLA.