The search is over and in just a few months there will be a new face on campus at St. James Academy. The SJA Board of Trustees and Head Selection Committee happily announced that Charlotte Riggs will be joining the staff as the New Head of School on July 1, 2018. So, just as the students (and teachers) are settling into summer shenanigans, Ms. Riggs will be settling in on campus to prepare for the new school year.

We were happy to have the chance to catch up with the incoming Head of School about her new role, and for starters, what led her here. “I was intrigued by the opportunity to be back in the Baltimore area where I grew up and at a school that has a wonderful community feel that I can relate to,” explains Ms. Riggs.

Although new to SJA, this position is a sort of homecoming for Ms. Riggs who grew up in Owings Mills. After studying at Calvert School and Garrison Forest, she went to Skidmore College in New York and received a B.S. in Art History with a minor in Fine Arts. Her love for the arts led Ms. Riggs to a job as an art teacher and lacrosse coach in San Francisco after college. She later went on receive a MAT in Teaching and Visual Arts from the University of the Arts. For the last 10 years, Ms. Riggs has been with the St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia, most recently as the Middle School Director and Visual Arts Department Chair.

With a strong background in the arts, it’s no surprise what caught her eye on one of the first visits to SJA. “When I first walked in, I was taken by the mobile hanging in the entryway. That and the students’ artwork everywhere,” says Ms. Riggs.

It may be a few more months until she’s officially on the job, but Ms. Riggs is already thinking ahead to her new role and a move back to Charm City. And she was happy to share some of these plans with us.

Meet Charlotte Riggs, New Head of School at St. James Academy

What excites you most about your new role?

I look forward to joining the welcoming and committed St. James community. I am excited to work closely with the faculty and staff and to learn more about the school traditions.

With a combined 20 years of teaching, coaching, and school administration, you surely have a unique perspective on education. How do you hope to share this perspective with students and faculty in the fall?

Over the years I have found collaboration to be a key to success in a school community as well as the power of a team — be it on the field, in the classroom, or in the faculty room. We all play different roles and have unique perspectives. Our diversity of experience makes us powerful. I plan to engage in deep and meaningful conversations with the people who make up the team that is this incredible school. I look forward to sharing my stories of being a teacher and leader — and student — in schools. And I can’t wait to hear the stories of the community.

What are you looking forward to about moving back to the Baltimore area?

It’s such a beautiful area! Though I’m in Baltimore frequently visiting family and friends, I haven’t actually lived here since I was 18. Of course, I’m excited to live closer to family and reconnect with friends. Now I have to reacquaint myself with the starting lineup of the Baltimore Orioles, and get ready to enjoy some snowballs, Berger cookies, and crabs this summer.


This article is part of our school partner profile series. Curious about St. James Academy? Join them for their Spring Visiting Days on May 3 and 10th! Learn More