Cindy Efinger Departs for Swift River; Russell to Serve as Interim WQS Dean

Cindy Efinger, Dean of West Quad South Cluster (WQS), will leave Andover at the close of the 2011-2012 school year for a position as Director of Residential Life at The Academy at Swift River.

Trish Russell, current Instructor in Science and Sustainability Coordinator, will take over as Interim Dean of WQS for the 2012-2013 school year. She served as the Dean of Abbot Cluster for seven years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Russell said, “I will be listening carefully for student and faculty ideas and concerns. I also plan to bring folks in the cluster together in teamwork and fun and to be a strong bridge between Ms. Efinger’s great work and the transition to the next WQS Dean in [September] 2013.”

“I think [Russell] will be a wonderful interim dean. She was my Cluster Dean when I came on board almost 20 years ago, when I took over as house counselor at Stevens, so I know she’ll do a fantastic job,” said Efinger.

As the Dean of Residential Life at the Academy at Swift River, a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teens in Plainfield, MA, Efinger will oversee evening and weekend events, handle disciplinary matters and oversees 15 staff mentors.

Because Efinger will be in a management position and will not be working directly with students at Swift River, she said that she will miss the relationships she has built with the students during her time at Andover.

“It’s rewarding, [Andover students are] exciting, they’re challenging and I have great conversations with them. Just working with the students in general has just been the best part of my job,” said Efinger.

In addition, Efinger will work with Swift River’s Athletic Director.

“We’re going to try to get the kids more involved in some more competitive athletic activities which I think will help them a lot,” said Efinger.

Efinger acknowledged the challenges the new opportunity could present.

“I think that the fact that the kids are troubled youth is going to be a challenge. Here I’ve worked with so many great kids that to go to something like that is going to be a little bit of a challenge for me,” said Efinger. “I thrive on challenges and I don’t mind challenges, so I look forward to it.”

“I think [Swift River] is a place where I can help kids, and I can watch them grow. They’ve had a lot of success at putting kids back into their schools and then also going off to college. [The kids] need a second chance, and it’s a great opportunity to be involved in giving them one,” she added.

Efinger chose to leave Andover because her husband, Mark Efinger, Instructor in Theatre and Dance, accepted a position as the Head of School at the Academy at Charlemont, a day school located in Charlement, MA, where he will take over beginning July 1.

After Commencement in June, the Efingers will move to their house in the Berkshires, which is near both of their schools. The pair built the house nearly a decade ago.

“Besides working with the kids, we get to live out there in our home, which is pretty exciting. Plus the people out there are great. It has always been attractive to us to live out in the country a little bit more out in the woods,” said Efinger.

Though she will not officially assume her position until July 1, Efinger wanted to move at the earliest time possible because the present Director of Residential Life at Swift River has already left campus.