Dr. Jennifer L. Zaccara is Vermont Academy’s eighteenth Head of School joining us from The Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City where she served as Associate Head of School since 2013. Prior to that, she was Associate Dean of Faculty at The Taft School in Watertown, CT where she spent twelve years.
During her tenure at Nightingale—an all-girls K-12 day school with 592 students—Jennifer has made many notable contributions, leading new initiatives with vision, innovation, and results, including the development of the Nightingale Summer Academy opening this summer; ongoing work on an eight-day rotational schedule; strategically utilizing new spaces to meld programming with design; and a campaign for global education. To drive innovation throughout the school, she created cohorts focused on technology, faculty workload and experience, and diversity, culture, and inclusivity. Jennifer oversees the new faculty immersion program, which focuses on pedagogical techniques, growth mindsets, collaboration, interdisciplinary work, and using NYC as a classroom. She manages strategic internal change, including STEM/STEAM curriculum, design thinking and coding initiatives, and innovative uses of spaces.
While at Taft—a coed boarding and day school with 594 students in Watertown, CT—Jennifer taught English for many years, winning several teaching honors, as well as advising and coaching. Expanding her career, she was appointed Mid Class Dean, leading 65-75 students each year, followed by being named English Department Head and then Associate Dean of Faculty.
A native of Connecticut, Jennifer graduated from Trinity College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Arts degree in English with distinction. She received her doctorate in English from the University of Connecticut, where she graduated with honors.
Jennifer enjoys welcoming students, faculty, and local residents to her home in the heart of campus, where she lives with her dogs, Copperfield and Brontë. She has two sons. Bryce Rafferty is at Sturm Law School at the University of Denver and is going into water rights law. Keefe Rafferty is a Lieutenant in the Navy serving as an Information Warfare Officer stationed at NASA's Stennis Space Center.