Head of School Transition

Michele Claeys

After a thorough search process that began in October 2019 and engaged more than 100 qualified candidates worldwide, The Langley School is pleased to announce that Michele Claeys will be our next head of school beginning July 1, 2021. Ms. Claeys will assume this role following the departure of Dr. Elinor Scully who will be leaving Langley in June 2021 to become the new head of school at National Cathedral School in Washington, DC, after completing an eight-year tenure.

Throughout the interview process, Ms. Claeys’ deep commitment to early childhood and student-centered learning, along with her passion and respect for a preschool through eighth grade model, was very evident and was a key factor in her selection. Her innovative academic leadership experience and her deep understanding of inquiry-based learning will enable her to continue to move Langley forward both academically and in our competitive market.

With a thorough knowledge of the complex, and sometimes difficult, decision-making that comes with a head of school role, Ms. Claeys clearly demonstrated how her experience in various educational settings will position her as an inclusive, yet decisive, leader. She brings a breadth of important leadership skills to Langley – from understanding the needs of young learners as a third-grade teacher at Columbia Grammar and Prep in Manhattan, to growing enrollment to 500+ students as a strategic, innovative, and growth-minded head of school at the Ross School in New York, to developing curriculum and successfully running a middle school division with 240 students as associate head of school and head of middle school at the Norwood School in Bethesda. In her various roles, Ms. Claeys has overseen the hiring, development, and management of faculty and staff, managed large operating budgets, led the high school placement process for eighth-graders, advanced curriculum and teaching with notable results, led diversity and equity initiatives, and built deep partnerships with a variety of constituencies, including trustees, parents, faculty, staff, and students.

Ms. Claeys moved from New York to the DC area when she assumed her current role at Norwood in 2012. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in education from Bank Street College of Education in New York. She comes from a family of educators, including her husband, Hugh, who is a science teacher at Maret School. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining and leading The Langley School and honored to be following Dr. Scully,” Ms. Claeys says. “Langley is an exceptional school, and I feel a strong affinity with its child-centered mission and outstanding curricular program. I am eager to serve Langley's students, families, faculty, and staff while guiding the school's progress in the coming years and promoting it with enthusiasm.”

Head of School Dr. Scully adds, “I am delighted Michele has been hired as Langley's next leader to carry forth our mission. She cares deeply about elementary and middle school education, and I am confident this passion will guide her in a way that supports our community, both today and into the future. Special thanks to the Head of School Search Committee for the time and effort they put into making this search so successful.”

While we look forward to beginning a new chapter with Ms. Claeys next summer, Langley still has much to accomplish in the coming year with Dr. Scully as she continues to effectively navigate the complexities of the 2020-2021 school year and prepare for a smooth transition to a new leader over the next 12 months.