SJSOGH Founders Step Down; Biddle Assumes Head of School Position

Scott Crawford, Ben Biddle and Sabrina Boebert.

After six years as Co-Heads of the St. John School on Gifft Hill, Sabrina Boebert and Scott Crawford are stepping down, and Ben Biddle, current upper school dean, will take their place.

“We’re satisfied with what we’ve been able to accomplish,” said Boebert. “Scott and I are stepping back, and we wanted to have someone in our place who has the same energy as we did six years ago.”

Boebert will assume the role of head of business operations, and Crawford will move to the head of the upper school position. Beth Knight will remain in her position as head of the lower school.

SJSOGH Board of Directors President Fred Trayser stressed that the shift was not initiated by the board.

“The board has always been thrilled with Scott and Sabrina,” said Trayser.

“This was the result of a long conversation between Scott, Sabrina and I,” said Biddle. “I don’t know who I’ve ever been closer to in my life.”

Crawford and Boebert will also return to the classroom.

“I missed the kids,” said Boebert.

Biddle has been with the SJSOGH for three years, as a teacher, college counselor and dean of students.

Before that, he worked with the Good Hope School on St. Croix for one year; worked in investment banking for five years; taught for one year in China; and graduated from Princeton in 1995.

Smooth Transition
“The school is in an incredibly fortunate position,” said Craw-ford. “After six years of putting our heart and soul into the school, there aren’t many people we would hand the position over to. We couldn’t ask for anybody better.”

Biddle’s prior experience with the school will allow for a smooth transition, said Crawford.

“Most people think that with change comes instability,” he said. “But this will be one of the smoothest transitions in history.”

The change was announced to SJSOGH students and parents on Thursday, April 20.

“Fortunately, the school has a person within its administrative ranks with all the energy and capability required to lead the school forward,” said Boebert and Crawford in a letter that was sent home with students.

Biddle will work with Crawford and Boebert during the summer to ensure a smooth transition at the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year.

In the meantime, “Ben will be stepping up and getting a real feel for the community,” said Crawford.

This year’s graduating class was the school’s first seventh grade class when the school, then known as the Coral Bay School, opened its doors in September 2000.

“We’ll see the class that started with us the first year of the school graduate this year, so it’s a good time to change over,” said Crawford.

Board Supportive
The board was extremely supportive of Crawford and Boebert’s decision, added Crawford.

“Great credit goes to the board for their support of Sabrina and me,” he said. “We appreciate their ability to grasp why this change is important.”

The upper school will host a “meet the new head night” on Tuesday, April 25, at 5:45 p.m., where Biddle will announce his vision for the school’s future.

“We think this is going to be something that draws the community into the school, and the school into the community,” said Biddle. “It’s not a shift, but a matter of expanding.”