Rachel Connell Named Next Chatham Hall Rector

Chatham Hall
The Chatham Hall Board of Trustees has voted to appoint Rachel Avery Connell as its next Rector following a national search.
Rachel brings extensive experience with girls’ education, boarding schools, strategic planning, admissions and development to Chatham Hall.  She is currently Senior Consultant and Principal with Marts and Lundy, an internationally known consulting firm. Prior to that, for seventeen years in secondary and higher education, she moved through the ranks to senior positions including at two of the nation’s premier boarding schools, Phillips Exeter Academy and Emma Willard School.      

A strong advocate for girls’ and women’s education, Rachel grew up in Washington, D.C. and is a graduate of National Cathedral School, a distinguished school for girls.  She went on to Wellesley College, where she earned a B.A. (cum laude) in Russian Studies and spent a year as an exchange student at the Moscow Institute of History and Archives during the final year of the USSR and perestroika.  She also holds a Master of Business Administration from the F. W. Olin School of Business at Babson College.

At Phillips Exeter Academy from 2002 until 2011, Rachel worked closely with the principal, trustees, leadership donors, and fundraising departments to advance the educational work of the Academy as they embarked on and completed a $350 million campaign.  She and her family moved to Emma Willard School in 2011, when she was appointed Director of Strategic Advancement. She also served as an advisor to students, as interim director of admissions and worked in the dorms. Total fundraising for the school went from a total of $5 million in 2011-2012 to $20 million in 2014-2015.  She was recognized for being accessible to students, faculty, staff, families, and alumnae and was a key player in organizing and executing institutional strategic planning. In 2014-2015 she collaborated with a team of faculty and staff to explore and create a fiscal literacy program and curriculum for the girls of Emma Willard.  She loves life in a boarding school community and looks forward to close relationships with the entire Chatham Hall community. She has shown impressive support of students, academic affairs, faculty needs, and the arts and athletics.

Earlier in her career, Rachel worked as a program assistant for the Central and East European Law Initiative Program of the American Bar Association, as associate director of development for World Learning, an organization that promotes and sponsors international experiential education, as director of annual giving and alumni relations for Landmark College and as a teacher of marketing and organizational development at the Community College of Vermont.  

Rachel joined Marts and Lundy in 2015 as a senior consultant and principal.  She works with schools across the nation helping them address the host of challenges facing independent schools by better managing their philanthropic and enrollment growth and overall financial health.  

Rachel has two sons, a stepson who is a Marine helicopter pilot at Camp Pendleton, California, and a son who is a junior at St. Lawrence University. Rachel is grateful for the many women who have supported and mentored her throughout her career and for her family, friends, and colleagues that have done the same. She greatly looks forward to moving to the Rectory July 1, 2019, and joining the Chatham Hall community.

For the full announcement, click here.
An all girls boarding and day school in Southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, as well as project based learning. Our athletic teams regularly compete at the State level and our exceptional riding program is nationally recognized. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.  
800 Chatham Hall Circle | Chatham, VA 24531 | 434.432.2941 | admission@chathamhall.org