Change in the College Office

After five successful years in the role of Dean of College Counseling, Rosita Fernandez-Rojo has announced that she will retire at the end of this academic year. Rosita arrived at Dwight-Englewood in the fall of 2014 following an assessment that we did about the needs and wishes of the College Counseling Office. At the time we had only three counselors, and as the program and Upper School were growing, we needed a fourth counselor, and a leader for the program. After a nation-wide search we hired Rosita, who came with significant experience at two very strong independent schools and as a college administrator and admissions officer. She began a path forward for the office that has seen important growth and development, both within the School and in our relations with colleges. She has streamlined processes and improved systems; she has helped all of us better understand the college process and work together for the success of students.

It was only after long soul-searching that Rosita has decided to retire. There is never a good time for this type of change, which she pointed out as we discussed the bittersweet nature of her decision. In the days since she alerted us, we have been looking at our options for moving forwards, understanding the importance of this position in the life of the School. We don’t usually write home about personnel changes, but in this case I want to reassure us all that we will have a smooth transition to a new dean. In anticipation of this possibility, we have been quietly reviewing resumes over spring break and we are officially opening a search process today for a new dean. We are able take this step because the pool that we are finding is very rich with experience, quality, energy, and enthusiasm for the position and for being at Dwight-Englewood.

In the next few weeks we will be reviewing and researching, and ultimately bringing candidates to campus for full-day interviews. We will be sure that a full range of people from within the School have opportunity to meet each candidate and provide feedback. It will be sad to see Rosita leave and we wish her the very best in her next chapter, and at the same time it will be very exciting for us to begin our next chapter in the college counseling program, which remains anchored by our three directors. Rosita will of course be crucial in the transition to a new dean, and she has been clear that she will be available for whatever help we need. Certainly she will very carefully transition those juniors with whom she has been working this spring to the new dean. As she has written to that group, she will feel especially sad to leave them in the middle of the process, but she feels totally confident that she will leave them in great shape and ready for the fall.

For present junior families this may feel the most disruptive and it’s natural for there to be some concern over the change, and it’s important to say right now is that the college counseling program is in great shape, ready and able to embrace and thrive from this change. This transition will neither impede nor slow down the work that is so invaluable and critical in supporting students into and through the college application process.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns. We will keep in touch as we move forwards, and look forward to the future.

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