Chase Enjoys Sabbatical at U.C. Berkeley

Spending time studying in a picturesque beachside city with friends and family may not sound like the typical job description of a Phillips Academy Head of School. These activities, however, have become the major focus of Head of School Barbara Chase’s daily routine since she began her sabbatical in the fall. Mrs. Chase is enjoying the last few weeks of her six-month administrative sabbatical from her duties as the Academy’s chief administrator— a privilege granted to her by the Board of Trustees last spring. She has used the time to travel extensively abroad and to perform in-depth research on a variety of historical topics. Mrs. Chase is currently enjoying her work as a Visiting Scholar in History at the University of California at Berkeley. This temporary position has allowed her complete access to the University’s extensive libraries, as well as to various resources available within the college’s Department of History. As if preparing a brand new elective from scratch was not difficult enough, Mrs. Chase is also busying herself by taking care of her two year-old grandson. She stated, “One of the major reasons I chose [The University of California at] Berkeley was to be near our grandson, and it has been lots and lots of fun.” In addition to her research and babysitting duties, Mrs. Chase has also found time to enjoy the scenery of the beautiful San Francisco Bay area, she is also exercising regularly with running and yoga. “This has been a truly great experience,” Mrs. Chase said. Prior to arriving in Berkeley, Mrs. Chase and her husband, Director of Stewardship David Chase, embarked on a six-month journey to France, where they spent time touring Paris and the countryside. While in Europe, the Chases welcomed visits from their two daughters and Mrs. Chase’s sister. After Mr. Chase returned to campus in the fall, Mrs. Chase then departed for Berkeley, where will remain for the duration of her sabbatical. This sabbatical has been Mrs. Chase’s first in her 22-year career as the head of an academic institution. After announcing her plans in March of last year, Andover’s administrative team took up the difficult task of preparing for Mrs. Chase’s departure. In her absence, Associate Head of School Rebecca Sykes has assumed the position of Interim Head of School, while Dean of Faculty Steven Carter and Dean of Admissions Jane Fried have both taken up the Interim Assistant Head of School posts. Over the course of Mrs. Chase’s absence, this group has been faced with a number of challenging decisions, including those relating to the ongoing Pace of Life discussion, as well as the introduction of the newly approved schedule. Upon Mrs. Chase’s return, all three administrators will assume their previous duties. While a lengthy sabbatical such as Mrs. Chase’s can sometimes signal that a Head of School is preparing for an early retirement, she maintains that this is simply not the case in her particular situation. In an earlier memo to faculty, Mrs. Chase assured the school community that she was content with her job at Andover and that she will definitely be returning to campus.