Hackley Welcomes New Members to the Leadership Team

On July 1, 2021, Hackley welcomed Robert Aldrich and Shazia Durrani to the leadership team, and welcomed M. Cyndy Jean, former Director of the Middle School, to her new role as the Assistant Head of School for Community and Inclusivity.
Following a nationwide search, Shazia Durrani became Hackley’s Director of the Middle School on July 1, 2021. Shazia’s expertise, commitment to the academic and socio-emotional development of middle school students, and alignment with Hackley’s core values made her an outstanding choice to lead the Middle School.
Most recently, Shazia served as the Assistant Head of Middle School at Riverdale Country School, while also working as the 7th Grade Dean and teaching 7th grade English. In these roles, Shazia hired faculty and supported their professional development and evaluation, worked closely with grade-level advisors to coordinate support and programming for students, and actively partnered with the Parents’ Association to connect them to life in the Middle School. Additionally, Shazia coordinated Riverdale’s Middle School Project Week, demonstrating the skills and experience that will help her partner with Hackley faculty as we continue implementing Redefining Excellence in our Middle School.

Prior to Riverdale, Shazia taught middle school English and served as a dean at The Archer School for Girls in Brentwood, CA. Experiences there, such as serving on their Character Committee and Honor Code Committee, demonstrated her longstanding commitment to the development of character within a middle school context. Shazia began her career teaching at Pomona Middle School in Suffern, NY. She earned both her BA in Secondary English Education and her EdM in Educational Administration from New York University.

Shazia’s deep connection to students and faculty is a defining quality of her leadership. She brings to Hackley a strong vision for the Middle School, engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion work, and the ability to support and lead implementation of Hackley School initiatives.

As the Director of Operations and Campus Planning, Robert “Bobby” Aldrich has assumed a range of operational responsibilities at Hackley. In his role, Bobby will provide oversight for buildings and grounds, campus safety, technology, auxiliary programs, and food services, while also overseeing construction projects and sustainability initiatives.

In the last decade, Bobby served as the Director of Operations at Miss Hall’s School, an all-girls boarding school in Pittsfield, MA, where he supervised buildings and grounds, campus safety, custodial services, culinary services, and led the COVID-19 Task Force. He was integral to the success of several large construction projects totaling over $20 million, including a new dormitory and math and science building, and he successfully partnered with the Board of Trustees Facilities and Compliance Committee to develop a comprehensive facilities condition assessment. Committed to continuous learning, Bobby became a Certified Educational Facilities Professional through the Association of Physical Plant Administrators, an organization in which he remains an active member by presenting at numerous conferences.

Prior to Miss Hall’s, Bobby served as the Programs Manager in the Office of Campus Safety at Phillips Exeter Academy for five years, following his six-year tenure as chief of police for the South Hampton Police Department. Impressively, Bobby was the youngest chief of police in New Hampshire history. Bobby holds a BA from Saint Anselm College, an MBA from Franklin Pierce College, and completed coursework for his Doctor of Arts in Leadership at Franklin Pierce. 

Bobby brings to Hackley deep expertise, leadership experience, commitment to professional growth, a relationship-based approach to his work, and an all-in work ethic.

Currently in her fourteenth year at Hackley, Cyndy Jean became Hackley’s inaugural Assistant Head of School for Community and Inclusivity on July 1, 2021. In this capacity, Cyndy will serve as Hackley’s first ever senior-level diversity, equity, and inclusion leader, overseeing DEI, community service, and service-learning programs. Establishing and staffing this role fulfills a key objective of Hackley’s DEI plan.

Cyndy has distinguished herself as an educator and leader committed to partnering with students, families, alumni, and colleagues. Her roots as a teacher—first as a Lower School Assistant Teacher and then as a Middle School English teacher and dean—ground her understanding of the school and our culture in the classroom. She is widely admired and respected, earning a “Hilltop Award” presented by senior “lifers” in 2018.

Central to her new role, Cyndy is always eager to understand issues, events, and people. As a lifelong learner, she consistently participates in professional development experiences and shares her expertise with others at numerous state, regional, and national conferences. Most recently, Cyndy began work on a doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania and is pursuing a dissertation topic directly related to DEI work.

Head of School Michael C. Wirtz recently shared, “I have great admiration for Ms. Jean’s accomplishments and her personal sense of integrity, and through our work together, I know I can depend on her judgement, counsel, and candor. Ms. Jean understands Hackley’s culture and lives out our core values:  Enter Here to Be and Find a Friend; United, We Help One Another; Character is Higher than Intellect; Go Forth and Spread Beauty and Light. Her current leadership of the Executive DEI Team and her schoolwide purview as a member of the Leadership Team will be tremendous assets in this new role.”