Joanne Tracy Carruthers has been named the next head of school at Stanstead College, the first woman to hold the position in the school’s 150-year history. She will also be the first Townships-born head since Dr. Charles Flanders (1893-1908).
Mrs. Carruthers will assume the position at the end of the 2022-23 school year when current head of school Michael Wolfe plans to retire.
Board Chair Jonathan Cowen announced Mrs. Carruthers’ appointment this past Thursday.
“It took us little time to come to this decision because it was immediately clear to all parties that Joanne was the obvious choice,” Mr. Cowen said. “As someone who knows Stanstead College perhaps better than anyone else, Mrs. Carruthers is more than capable and ready to oversee its continuing success and development.”
Mrs. Carruthers began in the Admissions Office in 1995 and was Director of Admissions from 2005 until 2021. In 2019, she was appointed associate head of school, helping to oversee the day-to-day operations of the College. In 2019-20, she served as acting head during Mr. Wolfe’s sabbatical. In addition, she is married to a Stanstead College alumnus (Bryan 1980) and is mother to two alumni (Lyanne 2015, Tyler 2020).
Raised in Lennoxville, Que., Mrs. Carruthers earned her degree in psychology and business from Bishop’s University. She also holds a certificate in leadership in enrollment management from USC Rossier School of Education.
Mr. Cowen pointed out that Mrs. Carruthers has already been transitioning into the role of head, particularly during the first year of the pandemic when she became the face of the school for both the school’s parents and the public.
“Her calm, thoughtful and collaborative approach has allowed the school to weather this and the many other more typical challenges an independent school like Stanstead faces every day,” said Mr. Cowen, describing Mrs. Carruthers as a person of great integrity with an unceasingly positive attitude.
Founded in 1872, Stanstead College is an internationally recognized independent boarding and day school for girls and boys in Grades 7 to 12, with a student population of approximately 260 students from Canada and around the world.
Mr. Wolfe Appointed in 2005
At the end of his tenure, Mr. Wolfe will have been head of school for 18 years, making him among the school’s longest-serving principals, surpassed only by E.C. Amaron (23 years) and Barry Gallant (19 years).
In a letter to the school community in January, Mr. Wolfe said that knowing the school was in such a strong position made it easier for him to make the decision to retire. He plans to spend more time with his family, focus on volunteer work and continue pursuing his running.
“Having the opportunity to work at Stanstead – especially as the head of school since 2005 – has been a tremendous privilege. In fact, it has been the highlight of my professional career,” he said.
In addition to being head of school, Mr. Wolfe served twice in the capacity of Director of Development/Advancement. The first time was in the early nineties as part of the 21st Century Campaign that saw the construction of Webster House. The second was two years in the early 2000s, prior to being appointed head in 2005.
Simply in terms of the physical campus, Mr. Wolfe’s legacy will include not only the senior girls residence, Webster House, but also the construction of the Pat Burns Arena, the Mackay Gymnasium, Cowen House for Grade 12 students and soon a new junior girls residence and new wellness centre.
Mr. Wolfe has also been a teacher, a coach, advisor, club supervisor and—between his stints as director of advancement—a member of the board of directors.
“Mike has contributed countless hours to the management and improvement of Stanstead College,” said board Chair Jonathan Cowen in announcing the impending retirement. “This has involved everything from meeting with families around the globe to taking time to write a recommendation for a former student. If I began listing everything Mike has done, this would be a very long letter indeed, and there is time ahead to do all that.”
Mr. Cowen also thanked Mr. Wolfe for his leadership, management and care.
“Mike leaves a true legacy that has seen the school and its reputation flourish, even through periods of economic and global turmoil,” he said. “On a personal note, I have come to consider Mike a close friend, and I have truly enjoyed getting to know him and his family.”