Karen Warren Coleman, who has served as the head of The Hockaday School since 2017, told parents this week that she planned to step down this summer.
In a message to families, she said that her decision was spurred largely by the needs of her aging parents and in-laws, who do not live nearby.
“This feels like the right time to explore how I might have a different kind of impact in these areas I care so deeply about,” she wrote.
In the same letter, Hockaday board of trustees chair Nicole Small praised Coleman’s “steady guidance” during the pandemic, saying that she “kept our community safe while allowing us to continue living out our mission at the highest level.”
Small said that the board would communicate with families soon regarding the next steps in finding Coleman’s replacement.
Under Coleman’s tenure, the school announced it would begin phasing out its boarding program in favor of increasing “innovative educational experiences” as well as improving access and admission for students in the area, including expanding day enrollment numbers, financial aid, and developing partnerships and outreach to recruit a more diverse student body and faculty and staff.
“By allowing Hockaday to refocus resources, this decision also holds great hope for a new era in which the school engages more deeply and meaningfully with the Dallas region, extending Hockaday’s leadership and living out our core values of inclusion and equity more fully,” Coleman said at the time.
More recently, the school announced that it would modify the longstanding graduation dress code that required students to wear a long white dress “to meet student needs.”
The school won’t eschew the traditional attire but instead is opting to provide an option for students who would prefer not to wear it for a variety of reasons. The tradition of the class collectively voting on a single white dress that will be worn at graduation will continue, but a white academic graduation robe and mortarboard is also an option.