Head of School Polly Fredlund

Welcome from Head of School
Polly Fredlund

Welcome to Westover!

Westover is a vibrant community rich with human interconnectedness, a remarkable faculty committed to amplifying student voice and intellect, and a visible sisterhood rooted in a deep belief in the limitless potential of Westover students. As an alumna of an all-girls’ school, I know firsthand the power of a place in which girls lead from every position. 

Walking through the hallways, I observe a school that believes in the promise and potential of each and every student, preparing to send them out into the world to solve big problems, work across differences, think creatively, challenge the status quo, and champion social change. Now more than ever the world needs Westover, a school community with a commitment to belonging and justice as well as a long and rich history of educating young women to be confident and connected. 

I am inspired to lead a school community built on one powerful mission—to empower young women to lead lives of consequence.

I am honored to lead the school into its next chapter and champion a school community that has come together, decade after decade for over 100 years, to imagine what is possible for Westover students. 


Polly Oppmann Fredlund
Head of School
Westover School


For generations, Westover faculty have provided a transformative educational experience that celebrates and empowers every individual, placing our students at the heart of their learning journey. Creative problem-solving connected with deep intellectual curiosity are at the center of Westover’s educational philosophy.

It is in this spirit that I am excited to share three academic initiatives at Westover for the 2024-2025 school year.

Head of School Book Club

Books and stories build connections, and I am so thrilled to invite the entire Westover community to be a part of this year’s Head of School Book Club. Students, faculty, staff, alums, families, and friends are invited to read along and attend this year’s Book Talks. Each book will include a virtual Book Talk with Head of School Polly Fredlund, and the first two talks will also include the authors. Read below to see this year’s titles, dates, and times. 


Book Talk: Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 pm (virtual)


Book Talk: Wednesday, March 27 at 7:00 pm (virtual)


Book Talk: Saturday, June 8 at 1:30 pm (virtual and in-person)

Hear from Polly: Remarks and Recordings

Upfront with Polly

Follow along with Polly each month in the Head of School newsletter. 

The Installation of Polly Fredlund

2023 Convocation Remarks

Introducing Polly Fredlund

Family and Special Friends Weekend Welcome

Welcome and happy Family and Special Friends Weekend!

It is so wonderful to welcome all of our parents, guardians, and special friends into the fold here in Red Hall. We are so grateful for those of you who are here with us today as well as all of the members of our Westover community locally and globally who are not here in person today but in spirit. We have had parents come from near and far - and I want to acknowledge those who have traveled an extra distance to be here with us including Evelynn Dambe from Kenya.

It is a special day for our school to center all of you from near and far and the special role you play in our community. The excitement has been building from preparations around campus like fall pumpkins and mums to special schedules and tidying dorm rooms on Corridor to baking and cooking for your arrival.  We have over 100 families in attendance, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

I want to say a thank you in particular to our Families Association and Rita Etchie and Rob Schultz; Mary Risner, Marla Truini, Sara Cipot, and the development team;  Lindita Vinca, Mike Coppola, and our facilities team; Tony and our dining services; our faculty and staff and everyone behind the scenes to pull off a weekend like this. It's pretty much everyone!

Now many people have been blaming me for the rain that maybe it followed me here from Seattle. But not even my Seattle raincoats have held up against this rain this fall. As someone who does come from a place that is defined by rain - do not let it deter you. Grab a warm cup of coffee, hot cocoa, or tea - and embrace all the moments of joy this weekend.

It is especially meaningful to have you join us here in Red Hall. We gather here in community three times a week - it is both an ordinary and extraordinary space for us. Full of beauty and history, a space where generations of Westover students have gathered together on the floor facing forward to the senior class and student heads of school. 

It is a space where the teachers encircle our students - caring, listening, attentive, and present. It is here we gather to connect in both profound and simple ways, Our time here together is a key inflection point in campus life. 

As a new head of school, when I first stepped into this moment in the school day I was struck by who holds this space. It is not the adults, but rather the students - led by our eight heads of school - this is a place where students lead - where their voices hold every topic, every event, everything of import. They are at the center. This world is theirs. 

And we know as educators that this daily work of gathering and centering student voices in our classrooms and Red Hall and beyond leads to something bigger as our students see themselves at the center of the conversation. 

We know the importance of this work and that the world needs the voices of this next generation - intelligent and compassionate women to find new solutions to complex global issues like the ones we face today, to center empathy, to think critically, to question and work across differences, and elevate our shared humanity. 

At Westover, this is our work - in both simple and profound ways - we are committed to ensuring our students have the skills to navigate complex ideas and problems in order to create a more equitable, just, and sustainable world.

And this weekend is a time to center your student. They are beaming with pride - excited to open the window into their life here and show you who they are becoming. 

You are in fact your child’s first teacher and a key member of their village who has been cheering them on and loving them unconditionally — from taking their first steps to learning to ride a bike to a first dance recital or soccer game - teaching them how to live in the world. Passing down your family's values, traditions, and culture. 

And now we gather today as a collective to support them in this part of their journey - this rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. Now instead of a first step - they are developing another type of independence in the form of critical thinking skills, time management, speaking up, resilience, collaboration, and more. They are discovering who they are - what inspires them and where in this great big life full of possibilities they might fit in. 

And we are all here for it and inspired by you. 

It is our work as educators and parents/guardians as members of your village to support you on the journey. To be a part of that circle - caring, listening, attentive, and present. It is our job to let you take these steps so that you can find your stride - knowing you might fall or stumble - with a grade or a friendship - and that we are here for you when you need us.

I was sharing with our Families Association gathering last night that while Westover is over 100 years old, I have not quite been here 100 years yet. I have actually just completed 100 days. 

And in that time I have learned that Westover is an incredible place that is held together through the work and dedication of our faculty and staff. In the course of a day from the dining hall and our food service team to our teachers bringing life to academic subjects like math and history, English, science, arts, and world languages to our teams leading our signature programs like WISE, Invest in Girls, and the Rasin Center for Global Justice to our coaches and directors after school to the evening heartbeat of our residential life teams.

We look forward to opening the window to all of you into life at Westover today. Put aside your phones and the give and take of daily life to be in the moment - and soak in all that your student has become. We look forward to spending these days with you.

And once the weekend is over I hope you will continue to engage with the community you met here. We have more opportunities through the Families Association, athletic events, dance performances, and the upcoming performance of Radium Girls. You can find me at the Head of School Book Club.  We will be hosting online book talks with the authors: On November 8 we will discuss In the Time of the Butterflies with author Julia Alvarez. And on March 27, will discuss The Emotional Lives of Teenagers with Lisa Damour.

Follow along with Polly: @westover_headofschool