Meg Morse, The Lowell Whiteman School's interim head of school, officially will take over as director July 1.

Scott Franz/file

Meg Morse, The Lowell Whiteman School's interim head of school, officially will take over as director July 1.

Lowell Whiteman trustees appoint Morse head of school

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— For more than seven months, Meg Morse has guided The Lowell Whiteman School on an interim basis as head of school.

On Tuesday, after an extensive national search, the private school’s board of trustees announced it would kick Morse’s interim tag and officially appoint her head of school. The move will go into effect July 1.

With the assistance of Dr. Richard Jung of Education Access Strategies, the five trustees and a five-person advisory committee made the decision. Board of trustees Chairman Nick Rose praised in a news release Tuesday Morse’s “excellent leadership skills.”

Since taking over as interim head of school in March, Morse said she had her eyes set on being Lowell Whiteman’s permanent director.

“From the start with the interim position, I knew I didn’t want to just be a placeholder,” Morse said. “I had ideas about the school and helping us move forward.”

Morse applied and interviewed for the position like the rest of the candidates. As the interim head of school, she had a chance to listen and bounce ideas off the other candidates brought in to be interviewed. Guiding the school since March made for a very personal interview process.

“It was interesting. It’s always interesting to be an internal candidate because they know you so well,” Morse said. “They know your strengths and what your challenges are more than anyone on the outside.”

It’s only been a few days since the announcement, but plans already are taking shape for the school’s future. Morse’s vision includes maintaining the school’s Sustainable Agriculture Program and holding strong partnerships for its ski and Global Immersion Studies programs.

Many of the things Morse sees as Lowell Whiteman’s future are the same things that have been on the forefront of her agenda since spring.

“I’ve been doing that since March of last (school) year,” Morse said. “The ideas I’ve been talking about, I already have the foundation for that, and now we can move forward with energy and get things done.”

Challenges do await her, she said. One of the biggest obstacles for the independent school is enrolling students and families who share the school's academic values. Enrollment numbers were reportedly lower than usual one year ago.

Location can be one of the reasons behind the decline, but Morse said the educational opportunities her students enjoy are unparalleled for most high-schoolers.

Global Immersion Studies students will travel to places like Tanzania, Cambodia, Vietnam, Ecuador and Peru in the near future. The world-travel program has been in place since the school’s inception nearly 60 years ago.

“Really, one of our big challenges is getting that word out and having them understand that although Steamboat Springs is in the remote northwest corner of Colorado, their experiences here introduce them to the whole world,” Morse said.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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