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Head Of School To Retire In 2012


The Worcester Academy Board of Trustees has announced the retirement of Head of School Dexter P. Morse effective June 2012.


Trustee President Jim Pietro '81 made the announcement in a letter to the community Friday.  Also signing the letter was Andrew O'Donnell '73, who was president of the Board of Trustees just prior to Mr. Pietro's tenure.


The two cited Mr. Morse's "transformational" leadership and accomplishments over the last 14 years and warmly praised him for the many successes that Worcester Academy has experienced in that time.


"We look forward to continuing to work with Dexter Morse until his retirement in 2012," the letter stated. "Please join us in extending our heartfelt thanks to Dexter and Barbara Morse for all they have done in service to our wonderful school."


Mr. Pietrio and Mr. O'Donnell also announced that a Transition Committee had been formed to oversee the hiring of the next head of school.


The complete letter follows below.



December 3, 2010

Dear Worcester Academy Community,

While we take great joy in reciting the successes of the past fourteen years, it is difficult for us to think about Worcester Academy without Dexter Morse as its Head of School. It is with mixed emotions that we officially announce Dexter’s decision to retire effective June 2012.

Anyone who has been associated with Worcester Academy--student, parent, alum or friend--over the past 14 years has witnessed the school’s dramatic transformation. Dexter Morse has led the Academy with passion, commitment, persistence, and determination. He has also demonstrated time and again the remarkable ability to identify and attract very talented educators and administrators to WA Dexter hires great people, guides and mentors them, and then gives them the freedom to lead and achieve their goals. Steven Covey’s forward in Robert Greenleaf’s book, Servant Leadership states, “Leaders are learning that…empowerment…is one of the key principles that, based on practice not talk, will be the deciding point between an organization’s enduring success or its eventual demise.” Mr. Morse has set Worcester Academy on a path toward enduring success.

Dexter is the first to point out that WA’s success has been the result of a team effort; faculty, staff, administration, students, parents, alumni, and the Board all play key roles. Accomplishments over his tenure are almost too many to list and their collective impact on the school is staggering. Dexter’s student-centered initiative has touched and improved nearly all aspects of the educational experience at the Academy. Community service has become ingrained in student life and the Academy has become a leader in the neighborhood, forging many community partnerships.

Mr. Morse has overseen the successful creation and implementation of two strategic plans; a $30 million capital campaign that finished over goal, and a $50 million campaign that will go public next October. As a result, Worcester Academy is on sound financial footing. Kingsley Laboratories, Dexter Hall, Adams Hall, The Megaron, Warner Theater, The Ross Auditorium, and Walker Hall have all been renovated, and numerous other campus improvements have been made. Rader Hall, New Balance Fields, and the South Campus have all been built or acquired during his time at the Academy. All this has been accomplished during a period of record enrollment. Yes, it takes a dynamic team with a unifying mission working toward common goals to achieve these many successes. Every team, however, has its most valuable person and, for our team, that individual is Dexter Morse.

During his tenure, Dexter also endeared himself to many Academy students as a teacher of American Government and a football coach. The 1962 Bowdoin quarterback loved preparing his team for competition and took great pride in teaching his players how to act on and off the field. I think one of his proudest moments at the Academy was when his Junior Football Team went undefeated in his last year as head coach.

Thankfully, Dexter did not come to this great school alone. Barbara Morse has truly been Dexter’s partner during their time at Worcester Academy. Mrs. Morse has served WA in many ways. She has been a gracious host to student, faculty, and alumni events at Abercrombie House over the years. She has kept a watchful eye over the school’s grounds, and traveled with Dexter on his many fundraising trips. Most of all she has always been a source of support and strength to Dexter.

The Board has created a Transition Committee which will oversee the process of hiring our next Head of School. In the coming weeks this Committee will survey the Worcester Academy community to develop a profile of our future leader. In the meantime, we look forward to continuing to work with Dexter Morse until his retirement in 2012. Please join us in extending our heartfelt thanks to Dexter and Barbara Morse for all they have done in service to our wonderful school.

James J. Pietro ’81, P ’11, '14

President, Board of Trustees


Andrew B. O’Donnell ’73, P’03, ’05, ’07, ’10

President, Board of Trustees



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WORCESTER ACADEMY is a co-ed day and boarding school for grades 6 to 12 and postgraduates. Our historic urban setting, diverse community, and challenging curriculum provide students with a solid, real-world education.