Welcome Chaya Keefe, Bright Water’s New Head of School

Posted by: Chris Nelson   -   Posted in: News- Nov 14, 2018 Comments Off on Welcome Chaya Keefe, Bright Water’s New Head of School

Dear Members of the BWWS Community,

When the Board of Trustees last spring began to search for our next Head of School, we committed to finding that rarest of being: an administrator possessing both direct experience with the beauty and power of Waldorf education and a deep knowledge of how independent schools operate and thrive in a crowded, competitive marketplace.

I’m happy to report to you that we have hired that person in Chaya Keefe, who will become Bright Water Waldorf School’s new Head of School beginning July 1, 2019.

Chaya’s understanding of Bright Water’s mission—to cultivate creative minds, capable hands and compassionate hearts—shone through in her letter of application as she related how the quest in Waldorf education to marry intellect, spirit and deed will drive her as a leader.

“The ideal (is) of the mind and body working to manifest the love in the heart,” she wrote. “I see the work of the Head of School as engaging in this act both on an individual and institutional level with the objective of building a healthy and sustainable school that contributes to a more peaceful future.”

Chaya’s interviews with the Search Committee, Board, Parent Association, Faculty and administrative staff, revealed a clear strategic vision and sound operational philosophy. She demonstrated serious engagement on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in independent schools. She also brought to those conversations a sense of humility, warmth and humor that will serve the school well.

Chaya comes to Bright Water having educated both her children at Seattle Waldorf  School and having served on the SWS Board of Trustees for six years, a period that included a leadership transition, enrollment growth, campus expansion and implementation of strong governance practices.

She is in her sixth year as Director of Accreditation at the Northwest Association of Independent Schools, where she has had the opportunity to work directly with schools throughout the Northwest to improve financial management and development, operations, governance, diversity, marketing and enrollment. She has learned what works well, what does not and how to tell the difference.

Prior to her work at NWAIS, Chaya spent 10 years in the classroom as a French teacher after earning a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in education fromAntioch University.

Chaya lives in Lake Forest Park with her husband Brad and daughter Soumya, a high school senior. Herson Vinay is a sophomore at Swarthmore College.

Chaya’s hiring culminates a process that began in May with a national recruitment effort and ultimately included direct feedback to the Board from many who participated in conversations with our finalists inside Bright Water’s walls. I want to thank everyone who participated in that process—Board members, parents, and faculty and staff members. Your involvement informed our decision in very positive ways. I’m heartened by your expressed desire to make the transition to Bright Water’s next leadership chapter successful.

While Chaya’s tenure at Bright Water will not officially commence until next summer, she will begin working presently with Head of School Jayasri Ghosh, the Board of Trustees and members of the Faculty and administrative staff to ensure a smooth transition. We will plan a series of events and meetings during the spring to welcome Chaya to the school.

In the meantime, please join us in celebrating Chaya’s addition to the Bright Water Waldorf School community, and don’t hesitate to contact me at john@healycat.org with any questions you might have.


John M. Healy,

Chair On behalf of the Board of Trustees

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