By Dan Murphy
As the newly named interim executive-director of Beacon Hill Nursery School, Chad Small is looking forward to September with great enthusiasm.
“New school years are a really cool, wonderful time,” Small said. “September is really when the action starts. When all the kids and teachers get back, that’s when it gets exciting.”
Small was raised in Edgemont, N.Y., a Westchester County suburb located roughly 20 miles outside Manhattan. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University Wesleyan, before going on to teach the first- second- and third grades in public school in rural West Virginia and Virginia. While working as a teacher, Small completed a master’s program in education from the University of Virginia, and later, he earned his doctoral degree in education from New Jersey’s Seton Hall University.
In 1985, Small embarked on what would amount to over 30 years in leadership position in independent schools, when he was named head of school at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis, Ind. He then went to serve as head of school at Rumson Country Day School in Rumson, N.J., for 25 years beginning in 1989.
During Small’s tenure at Rumson, the school was named a National Blue Ribbon School” of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education in 1998-99; enrollment grew 65 percent; and annual giving increased five-fold to $500,000, among other achievements.
In 2014, Small stepped down at Rumson and took a year off, during which time he traveled, welcomed his first grandchild and relocated to the Cape Cod home where Susan, his wife of nearly 40 years, spent her summers as a child.
The home is also where he and Susan wed on Aug. 7, 1976, as well as where his two eldest children, Nathaniel and Laura, tied the knot. Emma, his youngest, will also be wed there next June.
Small returned to work in 2015 as interim head of school at Montclare Children’s School – a preschool on New York City’s Upper West Side.
After finishing the one year assignment, Small mulled over several job opportunities before accepting his current position at Beacon Hill Nursery School.
Small sees his current role as that of helping a strong school through a transition after Lucinda Ross stepped down as executive director at the end of the last academic year.
“The school has a good board of trustees, passionate and dedicated teachers, and the kids seem wonderful,” Small said. “The kids are what it’s all about, and every decision made should be about what’s best for them.”