Throughout the fall of 2020, two dedicated search teams met with an impressive array of candidates for two key administrative openings at Head-Royce: Head of Middle School and Head of Upper School. While not an easy task to replace our current leaders with long tenures and a deep love for the school, we are thrilled to announce the appointment of two outstanding and experienced educators who will serve in these leadership roles in our community beginning July 1, 2021: Danny Scuderi, Head of Middle School, and Ricky Lapidus, Head of Upper School. Learn more about the newest members of the Head-Royce leadership team below!
Danny Scuderi will assume the role as our new Head of Middle School, bringing with him a breadth of experience as a collaborative teacher and administrator. Danny is currently the Head of Lower School at Marin Horizon School in Mill Valley, where he leads K-8 curriculum development and has been a key driver of equity and inclusion initiatives, both in his current role and previously as a middle school English teacher. He holds a B.A. in English from UCLA, an M.A. in Literature from San Francisco State University, and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from University of the Pacific. His hands-on experience as a divisional leader as well as his thoughtful nature, vibrant energy, and strong background in DEI work make him especially well-suited to lead our Middle School.
Danny brings a relationship-centered approach to his work with an emphasis on authenticity, openness, and building community. In his Educational Philosophy Statement, he shares his belief that “building a community starts with taking the time to get to know who is in it, and that is the joyous work that never really ends.” Danny cares deeply about helping students discover their own perspectives (with a healthy dose of fun and humor, too!), while nurturing an appreciation for differences: “Normalizing what it means to try, to do your best,” he says, “affirms that each student is inherently and uniquely valuable, and it enables students to be challenged to grow.”
Danny believes that at the forefront of a strong education is identity and equity work, and he is highly skilled at creating opportunities for the hard conversations that facilitate necessary change. He shares his skillset in this area broadly as a frequent presenter at national conferences, including most recently at the NAIS People of Color Conference, and serves on the Board of Directors of People of Color in Independent Schools.
Ricky Lapidus will make a cross-country move from Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, NY, to the Bay Area to lead our Upper School. Ricky currently serves as Dean of Faculty, where he oversees the academic program for the Middle School and Upper School and leads the hiring and faculty evaluation processes. Prior to his tenure as Dean of Faculty, he served as an English teacher and department chair at Riverdale for seven years. He is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Montana and a Master’s degree in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ricky is an educator at heart who brings over 20 years of independent school experience to his role. And, like his soon-to-be-new-colleague Danny Scuderi, Ricky embraces the power of authentic relationship-building as central to his work. “I approach my job as a teacher first,” he shared. “I love huddling over a difficult text with kids. I am a teacher who fist-bumps kids in the hallway and knows what is going on in their lives. I don’t believe that is the only way to be a caring and effective educator, but that’s who I am.”
Ricky’s current role as Dean of Faculty has allowed him to influence Riverdale’s curriculum and pedagogy in small and large ways, including helping to make his school more attentive and attuned to diversity. He is “proud to be helping build a school that is of New York City, not just in it.” Ricky also believes that an important measure of an administrator is the ability to support the most vulnerable community members, and considers his work to “help students find their footing when steps were halting and uneasy” to be as significant as his work supporting thriving students. Ricky will be moving with his wife Caroline and their three children, Nikolai, Juniper, and Cormac.
Please join us in welcoming Ricky and Danny to the Head-Royce community!