Worcester Academy announced that Bangkok educator Jacqueline Arce has been chosen to lead the Middle School at Worcester Academy.
A veteran independent school teacher and administrator, she will take over as head of the middle school July 1. Until that time, she will continue as deputy head of secondary curriculum at NIST International School in Bangkok, Thailand.
Associate Head of School Doug Poskitt, who chaired of the Academy search committee, says it is with the utmost enthusiasm that Worcester Academy announces its selection. He praised the parents, faculty, staff, and student leaders who reviewed candidates throughout the extensive application and interview process.
“Jacqueline is an outstanding educational leader and collaborator with a passion for holistic education, strong teaching and learning, and equity,” says Mr. Poskitt, “and how these facets come together to foster independent learners with a strong sense of empathy.”
Ms. Arce, a Bay State native, says she is equally excited about joining the WA community as well as reconnecting with her Massachusetts roots. She says she is looking forward to sharing everything she loves about Massachusetts—and everything she has learned about Worcester Academy—with her family.
“I am delighted to be joining the community,” she says. “Through the interview process, I thoroughly enjoyed every conversation and getting to know why people love WA so much.”
And she says, “I was struck by how WA manages to walk the delicate line between providing a comprehensive and rigorous academic program while still being focused on the development of the whole child, connected to the wider community through service, and prioritizing equity,” Jacqueline says.
Worcester Academy’s reputation as a leading independent school culminated in dozens of qualified applicants from across the globe, says Mr. Poskitt. The search, he says, followed news in October that current middle school head Rebecca Yacono had been appointed head of school at the Girls’ School of Austin. Ms. Yacono takes the helm there in July.
Mr. Poskitt says Ms. Arce will now play an important role at WA in sustaining academic rigor, advancing the Academy’s mission and core values, implementing the strategic plan, supporting the faculty, and shaping the next generation of leaders.
Jacqueline Arce is current deputy head of secondary curriculum at the NIST International School in Bangkok, Thailand. The position covers grades 6-12. She is well versed in curriculum review, teacher observation, hiring, and the facilitation of professional development opportunities.
Prior to starting her leadership journey, she taught both middle and high school English and philosophy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English teaching and Spanish plus a master’s degree in education from the University of New Hampshire.
She is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at Wilkes University.
Ms. Arce and her husband, Guillermo, have two daughters, Violeta, 7, and Cecilia, 5.
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AT WORCESTER ACADEMY
The Middle School at Worcester Academy, located in Rader Hall and serving grades 6-8, focuses on challenge, fun, and purpose. Students are supported to build their academic skills in a project-based program that encourages them to study topics in-depth. Collaborative projects, field trips, outside speakers, and online resources combine to allow students to master core content and gain valuable insight into how they learn. A strong advisory program is critical to reinforcing the Academy’s Core Values of Honor, Respect, Community, Personal Growth, and Challenge. Art and music programming is rich are varied. Outside of the classroom, middle schoolers at WA are passionately and actively engaged in many varied activities, including athletics and service. There are 14 athletic teams on which to play as well as after-school clubs ranging from programming to sailing and ultimate frisbee. The Middle School at Worcester Academy is also connected to the community through an ongoing partnership with a neighboring public elementary school and annual Market Project, exploring ethnic markets in Worcester.
WORCESTER ACADEMY TODAY
Situated in New England’s second largest city, and founded in 1834, the Academy is a dynamic school, integrally part of its neighborhood and closely aligned with the renaissance underway in Worcester. Unique among independent schools, the Academy is an urban day and boarding school that is in some ways a typical New England prep school. Yet, it is also remarkably diverse and includes middle school (Grades 6-9), high school, and a post-graduate program, with day students drawn from Worcester, area cities and towns, and international students from numerous countries. With outstanding academics and programs in visual and performing arts, athletics, and civic involvement, among others, the Academy, while thriving, is poised to embrace the next exciting chapter in its history. Leading the way are students, who are joyous, unpretentious, open, articulate, and highly motivated. Faculty are dedicated and drawn to both the location and eclecticism of the school and surrounding area. Loyal graduates, trustees, and past and current parents underpin and bolster the reputation and resources of the school.
In recent years, Worcester Academy has played an increasingly larger role in the Worcester renaissance, which is reinvigorating many quarters of the city, including the Canal District, just a short walk from the Academy. The Canal District is home to Polar Park and the Triple A Red Sox. Worcester Academy is the official independent school partner of the Worcester Red Sox, known affectionately as the “WooSox.”