Brooklyn private independent school

Announcement on the Next Head of School

Dear Members of the BC Community:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, it is our great pleasure to announce the appointment of Dr. Lisa Yvette Waller as Berkeley Carroll’s next Head of School, starting in the 2019-20 school year. She will succeed Robert D. Vitalo in July 2019, following the conclusion of Bob’s remarkable 13-year tenure as Head of School.

Lisa’s appointment as our next Head of School represents the culmination of a comprehensive, collaborative national search process. Thanks to the hard work, long hours and dedication of the search committee and the thoughtful feedback from a broad representation of our community, including parents, faculty, administrators, students, staff and alumni, we were able to identify the community’s aspirations for our future and what we are seeking in the next Head of School via the school forums we held, your letters, conversations and survey responses.

The Board voted unanimously for Dr. Waller’s appointment following a thorough seven-month national search led by our search committee, which included members from our trustee, faculty and parent communities, and guided by Spencer Stuart, a national executive search firm with extensive experience finding educational leaders at institutions ranging from independent schools to major universities.

We are delighted that Lisa will join BC after her final year at The Dalton School in Manhattan where she is the Assistant Head of School for Progressive and Inclusive Practice. She will bring with her more than 30 years of experience in education. During her 23 years at Dalton, she built upon a decade and a half of classroom teaching and student advising to hold an impressive range of leadership and administrative roles. As Assistant Head of School for Progressive and Inclusive Practice, she provides strategic leadership and oversight to promote professional growth, curriculum development, instruction, and hiring grounded in progressive and equitable approaches.

Dr. Waller was Director of Dalton’s high school for 12 years during which she promoted the expansion of the high school’s rigorous academic program and the development of thematically expansive, globally oriented, multi-disciplinary courses and brought a heightened level of trust, communication, and collaboration among faculty, administration, students, and parents. As Director, she fortified the advisory system, introducing both performance standards and annual surveys. She also spearheaded refinement of the homework load, development of an assessments rotation, and standardization of the high school grade scale. Additionally, Dr. Waller oversaw the creation of a Health and Wellness department, promoting an enriched curriculum and increased staffing in both the clinical and classroom settings.

Prior to that, Dr. Waller served as Dalton’s Assistant to the Head of School for Academic Affairs and their Associate Director of Admissions (K-12), where she had great success in the competitive New York City admissions environment, recruiting and enrolling a broad cross section of families at all divisional levels. She began her career as a history teacher at Milton Academy and Dalton and has served as a Teaching Fellow at Amherst College.

During her time at Dalton, Dr. Waller repositioned the high school Peer Leadership program to focus on community building and leadership development through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens and developed and implemented diversity, equity, and inclusion curriculum for all faculty and staff members.

Dr. Waller is a member of the Board of Trustees at her alma mater, Oberlin College. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Duke University where she concentrated on social movements in the United States during the 20th century. Her dissertation focused on the emergence of the New York City public school desegregation movement in the 1940s and its evolution through the 1960s. Drawn from this work, her article “The Pressures of the People” was published in Manning Marable’s and Peniel Joseph’s anthology entitled The New Black History: Revisiting the Second Reconstruction (2011) and was among early scholarship that shifted the historiographical lens of the Civil Rights Movement from the southern states to the urban North.

She has been a featured presenter at the Ford Foundation, the National Association of Independent Schools annual conference, and the New America Foundation, among other organizations. She has also served on both the Executive Committee and the School Leadership Team of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art & Performing Arts.

An avid student of the Spanish language, Dr. Waller enjoys travel to Spanish-speaking countries and regions of the world. She and her husband, Sidney S. Whelan, have two daughters—Genevieve and Gabrielle. The family enjoys the company of their beloved cat, Sasha.

We feel confident that this dynamic leader is the ideal person to guide the next generation of excellence at BC, building on the legacy of Bob Vitalo’s strong leadership.

There will be many opportunities for you to welcome and meet Lisa in the coming months. Bob Vitalo and the Board of Trustees will work closely with Lisa over the next year to ensure a smooth transition. We will also be honoring Bob at various points over the next school year for his extraordinary leadership and accomplishments and thanking him and his wife Jackie for all of their contributions to our community.

We have much to celebrate in the year ahead!


Joe Polizzotto
Chair, BC Board of Trustees

Amy Bender
Chair, BC Search Committee