It is an incredible honor and privilege to be named the eighth Head of School at Westover. I want to share my deep gratitude with the search committee and Board of Trustees for their thoughtful leadership during the search process. I am filled with profound joy as my family and I prepare to join Westover, starting in July 2023.
In addition, I want to thank the entire Westover community, from students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and families, for welcoming my husband Camron and me to campus with a warmth and authenticity that made us feel at home the moment we stepped onto campus. My great aunt Kay Logan Schrenk ’48 traveled from Savannah, Georgia to attend Westover, and it will be a similar homecoming for our family almost seventy-five years later, this time making the journey from the Pacific Northwest. We cannot wait to arrive on campus and get to know each of you, experiencing everyday life together in the dining hall, Corridor, the LBD, Red Hall, squash courts, soccer fields, and more.
During my time on the Westover campus this October, I discovered 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. At Westover, I experienced a school full of scholars, artists, problem-solvers, mathematicians, activists, researchers, and student leaders.
Walking through the hallways, I observed 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. My visit affirmed that 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. Throughout the upcoming year, I look forward to partnering with Interim Head of School, Arch Montgomery, and the Board of Trustees to ensure a steady transition for the school community.
My husband Camron and I, along with our two daughters Sigrid and Louisa, are excited to make Westover our home. Sigrid, who is a senior, will be heading off to college, making trips back to campus over breaks. Louisa will be a junior and plans to enroll at Westover. Our family would not be complete without our hearty pack of dogs—Flip, Trib, and Blue—who I am sure will also enjoy the community of four-legged friends at Westover.
As I get ready to embark on this journey, I am looking forward to both the small moments of joy like when I learn if a student or alumna is a “West” or an “Over” as well as the bigger moments that will come from charting a future course for Westover with all of you.
I am honored to be able 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.
All roads lead to Westover, and I can’t wait for the journey to begin.
Dear Westover Community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am very pleased to announce that Polly Oppmann Fredlund will be Westover’s next Head of School. Ms. Fredlund was recommended to the Board by the Head of School Search Committee; the Board then unanimously approved her appointment. Ms. Fredlund will begin her tenure on July 1, 2023.
Ms. Fredlund brings deep experience in secondary education, a passion for girls’ education, and visionary leadership. As Westover moves past the limitations of the pandemic, we plan to revitalize our commitment to a robust education that fosters confidence and enhances community, as well as to make progress on our path to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We believe that Ms. Fredlund will bring the energy, enthusiasm, and experience necessary to achieve these goals.
Ms. Fredlund is currently the Assistant Head of Community Engagement at The Bush School in Seattle, Washington. In the twelve years she has been at Bush (a K-12 co-ed independent day school), she also served as Director of Enrollment Management and Communications. Before that, she was the Director of Admission and Financial Aid at the National Cathedral School (an all-girls independent day school) in Washington, DC. Prior to that, she worked at Hathaway Brown School (an all-girls independent day school) in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where she worked in several administrative positions. She began her career as a high-school English teacher and lacrosse coach at the Forest Ridge School (an all-girls day and boarding school) in Bellevue, Washington.
At Bush, Ms. Fredlund increased the operating budget by 25 percent, while increasing enrollment from 562 to 709 students. She met a lagging enrollment situation with concrete ideas, using mission-centered programming that resonated with faculty and students. She exceeded diversity goals for the student body, so that more than 60 percent of the students in the lower school are students of color. She also participated on the advancement council during a $$17 million capital campaign. Her experience on all these fronts will serve Westover well.
Her commitment to girls’ education is also strong. She is the product of a girls’ school herself, having attended Hathaway Brown for thirteen years, then worked there for eight. At Bush she teaches a Women in Leadership short course and has encouraged girls to seek leadership positions. We believe Ms. Fredlund is an excellent fit for Westover, combining a variety of school experiences with a passion for girls’ education. She has long been familiar with Westover because her great aunt, Kay Logan Schrenk, was a member of the class of 1948. During her visit to Westover a few weeks ago, people commented on Polly’s warmth and friendliness—which also make her a great fit for our school!
Polly emerged from a nationwide search. Deep gratitude is owed to Robin Smith Melvin ‘80, the Chair of the Search Committee, who devoted countless hours to this process. We also owe thanks to the members of the search committee: Kathryn Albee (faculty/staff), Alisa Berger P’22 (trustee), Aaron Cooper (trustee), Jamie Mathurin ‘16 (Board of Governors), Ashleigh Nelson P’23, P’26 (Parents Association), and Donté Tates (faculty). Our decision was also informed by the Faculty/Staff Advisory Council: Hillary Dooley, Jana Dunbar P’18, P’22, Lindsay Harlow P’19, P’24, P’25, Dave MacNutt, Sara Poskas P’21, and Meredith Whitehouse, and co-chaired by Victoria Bosse and Magdalena Nunez-Fernandez ‘98. All of these people devoted their time and energy to interviewing and assessing the candidates. We received comments from more than eighty people across the Westover community, expressing wide support for Ms. Fredlund. Storbeck Search, with Nishant Mehta and Sherry Coleman as the leads and Erin Meissner as the senior search associate, guided us through the months-long process. A huge thank-you to all!
During the interview process, we were also pleased to meet Polly’s husband, Camron. One of their daughters will be enrolling at Westover as a junior, while the other will be entering Vassar College in the fall. And their three dogs will also be moving to New England and taking up residence in Lee House.
We owe thanks to our Interim Head of School, Arch Montgomery, who will continue to guide Westover with wisdom and compassion through this transitional year. As we turn the page to the next academic year, we look forward to the arrival of Polly Fredlund, who will bring the clarity of purpose, deep experience, and unbounded energy that Westover needs right now. I know you will join me in warmly welcoming Ms. Fredlund and her family and help make her time at Westover a success.
Polly Oppmann Fredlund has been appointed the eighth Head of School at Westover School, starting in July 2023. She is an independent school leader with over twenty-five years of experience working in schools and currently serves as the Assistant Head of School for Community Engagement at The Bush School in Seattle, Washington.
Over her time in schools, Polly has served as an Assistant Head of School, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, Assistant Director of Upper School, English teacher, coach, outdoor leader, and advisor.
In her current role, she oversees enrollment, communications, summer programs, K-12 community programming, and community partnerships. Polly has taught an interdisciplinary class in women’s leadership, collaborates with faculty on professional development retreats and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, serves on the school’s advancement council, and works with the Board to set strategic priorities and conduct institutional research.
Polly’s background in educational leadership includes extensive experience in girls’ schools, including working at her alma mater Hathaway Brown School (Shaker Heights, OH), National Cathedral School (Washington, D.C.), and Forest Ridge (Seattle, WA). She is an alumna of a girls’ school, attending Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, OH for thirteen years, and returning as an educator to serve as the Director of the Center for Girls’ and Women’s Leadership and Assistant Director of Upper School in addition to various roles in admissions.
Polly received her bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University and a master’s in education from the University of Vermont. Her undergraduate studies concentrated on women’s literature and African studies, including travel to East Africa to study African history, literature, and women’s studies.
Polly is a life-long learner and athlete who enjoys reading, getting outdoors, running, and traveling to destinations new and familiar. Her family includes her husband Camron, two daughters Sigrid and Louisa, and their pack of three lovable dogs Flip, Trib, and Blue.