Q&A: 10 Questions with Anne Richardson

Q&A: 10 Questions with Anne Richardson

Sourna Daneshvar Jr.: What made you apply to ASL?

Anne Richardson: I visited ASL a couple of years ago and spent the afternoon in the college counseling office because I wanted to know more about the UCAS [The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service] system because in my job over here, I am finding more and more students interested in UCAS and applying. And so at that time I got a tour with Patty [Strohm, current Director of Academic Advising and College Counseling], I got a tour of the school I just found it to be an incredible school. ASL has been on my radar in that sense as a great school that is doing exciting, neat things in a city that is a fabulous city and was once my home. ASL has an incredible reputation so when the job was posted I thought, “Well, now’s the time to give this a try.”

SD: Why did you decide to work in education?

AR: I didn’t originally decide to be in education. When I did my O levels and A levels back in England, I was going to be a pediatrician. I did Science A levels. I did biology, chemistry and maths and then sort of half way through I discovered that I did not want to be involved in the blood, guts and gore of medicine. And what I discovered then when I went to college and became an English major was that the piece of being a doctor that attracted me was being with people, and most of all I enjoyed being with young people. So from that English major I did a couple of practicum in college in schools and teaching, and being in a school, was something that I really wanted to do. So right out of college I started as an English teacher.

SD: How familiar are you with applying to higher education in places outside of the U.S.?

AR: Kents Hill is 25 percent international, so each year we will have applications that will go all over the U.S., but also into Canada, the U.K., Japan, Spain, you name it. Even if we don’t put in an application in the end we have at least explored lots and lots of options with them. This is an office that has multi-national experience when it comes to applications. So we have done UCAS applications in this office probably for the last five years.

SD: What would you say is your philosophy as a college counselor?

AR: My philosophy is that this is a student-driven process and the student needs to be heard and to be validated as do the parents. Parents have a strong stake in this and the parents are an important piece of the process, but ultimately, it should be student-driven and my goal for each student is that they find themselves on May 1 enrolled in an institution or a higher education place where they are going to be at their most successful academically, socially, athletically. That’s what I want. I want their success.

SD:  What were you like in High School?

AR: Oh, I was pretty average. I was a B, C student. I was not an ideal fit for the English System because the English System is very exam oriented and I’m a terrible test taker. I was a good leader though. I was head of my house and I was head of the service program when I was in high school. I was a good leader and a good administrator. I was a terrible athlete! But I think what I loved most about my high school, which was a high school in England, was that it was all women so I had really powerful women teachers who ended up being good mentors to me and I think that really set me off on a good path.

SD: What do you remember most about your time in college?

AR: Coming from an all girls, very proper school in England, Oberlin was mind blowing. It was one of the most liberal, progressive colleges in the country at that point and I went from an all girls situation to a co-ed dorm, which was extraordinary. But Oberlin was another place where I grew enormously. It balanced out my thinking. It made me think critically. It turned me into an activist.

SD: What’s your pet peeve?

AR: I always like it when people talk face-to-face. If you have something important to say it doesn’t always fit well in an e-mail. It’s better to just talk face-to-face.

SD: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

AR: My favorite thing to do on a rainy day is to bake and to read a good book by the fire.

SD: If you were going to write a recommendation about yourself, what would you say?

AR: I would say that I work hard. That I get things done. That I really try to listen and empower people to do things that they thought they couldn’t do. I’m pretty flexible, I’m pretty good at multi-tasking. I have a good sense of humor and wherever I work I try to make that place a better place.

SD: What about your family?

AR: My husband is coming with me and I think he is going to be working in the Field Hockey program [at ASL]. I have a son and a daughter both who went through Kents Hill School. They’ve both been to London many times and they are very excited that we are moving there. My daughter has graduated from college and works in Washington D.C. for an international company. And our son next year he will be in his senior year of a nursing program at St. Anselm college in Manchester, New Hampshire. But the other thing you should know about him is that he is a very high level Field Hockey player, which is unusual in the United States and is currently a member of the U.S. national team.

SD: So a high level athlete for sure.

AR: They are training for the Olympics.

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