An Interview with Our New Head of School: Mrs. Farrell


On December 3rd, staff writers Tess Szathmary and Mairead O’Hara had the pleasure of interviewing Mrs. Farrell about her plans for Merion and her experiences here so far. The following conversation has been edited and condensed for the sake of this article.

Tess and Mairead: What are your long-term plans for Merion?

Mrs. Farrell: This year, I want to focus on getting to know the school and getting a sense of what people want for the school. I think it’s important to talk to people and see the school through their eyes. When I first came, I had one-on-one interviews with the faculty and staff in order to see what they like about Merion, their hopes for Merion, and what they want to change. From those interviews and my own observations this fall, I am beginning to develop a plan. I think it’s important that whatever direction we go, it is collaborative.

T&M: What part of Merion are you focusing on improving the most?

Mrs. Farrell: I want to focus on more experiential learning. I want to see more learning beyond the classroom such as more internship opportunities during and outside the academic school year. I want to focus on what you need for your future to be successful anywhere you go.

T&M: How have you applied what you have learned over your career to your experience at Merion so far?

Mrs. Farrell: Oh, that’s an easy one. I have spent the last eighteen years in an all girls school and the last twenty-five years around teenagers. I feel everything has brought me to this point. Being immersed in all-girls environment has helped me become very attuned to how girls learn best. Also, my experiences at an all-girls school have made me a better leader, more attuned to relationships, more collaborative, as well as a better listener. It has helped me understand the importance of friendships and the value teenage girls place on each other. I know I need to come from a place of honesty because my students ask for that in your relationships. I feel very comfortable interacting with you guys and think my relationships with you have been quite effortless so far.

T&M: We’ve seen some internal improvements at Merion over the past couple months like the new desks and introduction of more white boards. What else are you planning to improve furnishing and technology wise?

Mrs. Farrell: I think you guys deserve the best of everything. You deserve to have a school that you’re excited to come to everyday and you should participate in making it that way. The next step we are going to take is come and ask you guys to help design things. It’s your school and you know how you learn. You need to be involved in making it that way and shaping your school into the place you want to thrive in.

T&M: Thank you for talking with us!

Mrs. Farrell:  Thank you!