Efinger Joins Academy at Charlemont as Head of School

After 18 years of guiding students through theater productions and classes, Mark Efinger ’74, Instructor in Theatre and Dance, will leave Phillips Academy to become The Academy at Charlemont’s fourth Head of School on July 1, 2012.

The Academy at Charlemont is a small, private day school on the Deerfield River in Charlemont, Mass. that educates students from grade seven to a postgraduate year.

The Academy at Charlemont announced its decision on December 21, and they notified both the Charlemont community and Efinger of the final decision via letter.

Efinger wrote in a letter to the Charlemont community, “There was an infectious sense of ownership that each of you demonstrated for this community of learners and the joyous pursuit of excellence. To become a member of this special team is now my fondest wish.”

Efinger bought a piece of land in Western Massachusetts seven years ago and has been building a house there for his family ever since. According to Efinger, he built his house and intended it to be the place in which he and his wife, Cindy Efinger, Dean of West Quad South Cluster, would eventually retire from Phillips Academy.

When he visited his house during its construction, Efinger grew interested in the nearby Academy at Charlemont. When he found an advertisement for the Head of School position at Charlemont, Efinger was thrilled.

“The kind of quirks that I would define myself [with] is pretty much what they had in the job description,” Efinger said.

“I love the job I have; I really do. I would not have changed were it not for the fact that this job would use more of me.”

According to the community letter, The Academy at Charlemont formed its search committee and began its search for a new Head of School in June 2011. Charlemont Trustees Peter Stevens and Win Healy led Charlemont’s Search Committee, which included Nell Todd, Charlemont Class of 1993, and David Epstein, Charlemont Class of 1987 and Trustees Chairman.

David Perry served as the interim Head of School of the Academy at Charlemont for the duration of the 2011-2012 school year while the Search Committee conducted its search.

Out of over 40 applicants for the Head of School position, Charlemont’s Search Committee picked five finalists that seemed most apt for the position before finally deciding on Efinger.

Epstein wrote in the letter to the Charlemont community, “We were looking for someone to lead our education program with confidence and creativity, to inspire our faculty and students and to work cooperatively with parents, trustees, alumni and the local community to strengthen the Academy.”

“Mark Efinger is that person, and he exemplifies all of these important attributes. The Committee and the Trustees have great confidence that he will lead the Academy to an even stronger future,” the letter continued.

As the advisor for the Class of 2012, Efinger said, “maybe it’s appropriate that I graduate with them.”

Efinger has been an integral member of the Philips Academy community for almost two decades, and he expressed his appreciation for his time at Andover.

Efinger said, “Phillips Academy is a school of incredible wealth, in terms of facility, investment and people. To be a teacher in this environment is to be the most spoiled high school teacher. I would not leave here unless I thought there was something better.

“I will miss the quality, the excitement and the investment that I have with the kids here. I will miss the 200 colleagues here. Adding to that 200 colleagues are some truly amazing people that I have gotten to know. I came back to teach here, because I never was anywhere else in the world. I will miss wrestling dearly. I will miss this beautiful campus. I guess I will miss the individual people the most,” he continued.

He said that the most rewarding part of working at Phillips Academy has been trips to Edinburgh that began in 1995.