Day in the life of Head of School Coreen Hester


When a buzzing alarm clock reads “5:20”, Head of School Coreen Hester begins her day. Her mornings begin with some brisk exercise, either by going for a walk or going to the gym. After reviewing her calendar for the day she takes the short walk around the corner from her home on Grove End Road to Waverly Place. Once she has arrived in her office, the school day begins with a quick conversation with Executive Assistant to the Head of School Joanne Scott to double check the plans for the day ahead.No two days are the same for Hester. “I have always said that people who like this job really like variety because truly every hour is different,” she said. There is no real way to summarize all of Hester’s responsibilities because she has to cover many different areas of the school. Some of these aspects include operations of the school, the facilities, the budget, communications between parents, staff and alumni, fundraising and technology.

For the past 10 years, Hester’s primary responsibility has been to implement the mission statement of the school. ASL’s official mission statement is “…to develop the intellect and character of each student by providing an outstanding American education with a global perspective.”

However, she notices that “every week, every month, every year is different,” and she is always making progress but at the same time she has to tweak, re-think and plan ahead. That’s what she appreciates about leadership – that it’s “dynamic…but there’s this solid underpinning of implementing the mission,” Hester said.

One of Hester’s biggest passions at school is the academic program and ensuring that it is excellent. Hester’s love for the academics comes from being an English teacher for many years. She cares greatly about all of the students and teachers.

Hester believes that she has the “best job in the world” and feels that she and the staff are so “lucky” to be working in a school because “what we care about is student learning and raising responsible global citizens,” she said. “I often say to the faculty, we’re so fortunate we have a job where we are concerned with growing young people and we’re not worried about other peripheral issues.”

From the outside, Hester’s job seems stressful with the amount of responsibility she has to take on. However, Hester would not describe her life as stressed. “I don’t really like that word and really don’t use it.” In the past, when Hester began a job she thought, “I’ve made a responsible decision to say that I welcome, accept and embrace the responsibilities of that job.” This ensures that she stays busy but not stressed.

One of the responsibilities that comes with this job is dealing with emails. As the Head of School Hester receives hundreds of emails a day whether that be from parents, teachers or students. She said she tries to avoid spending hours tucked away responding to emails. If someone in the building sends her an email, rather than responding she will go to their office for a one-on-one conversation. “We are here together and should be interacting,” Hester said.

Hester’s work day usually comes to a close by 6 p.m. However, three to four times a week she will have to attend a meeting or event in the evening. Hester said one of the many perks of living on campus is that she can go home for about an hour to eat dinner and relax, before having to go back to school.

When Hester is not working she spends her free time taking advantage of the wonders London has to offer and she said she likes to keep a balanced lifestyle. She enjoys taking walks and attending the theater. In the past 10 years Hester as seen hundreds of plays. One of her favorites was Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch. She also enjoys literature, music and doing crossword puzzles.  

As Hester reflects on the past 10 years at ASL she said that “it’s been a joy and a privilege to be the head of this school, and I can hardly believe that 10 years is coming to an end.”

Written by Staff Writer Ethan Snizek (’20)

Photo  by Staff Writer Ethan Snizek (’20)