Hackley Welcomes New Members, Roles to the Community

On July 1, 2023, Hackley officially welcomed the School’s 13th Head of School Charles Franklin to the Hilltop. Additionally, former Assistant Head of School for Community and Inclusivity Cyndy Jean assumed the role of Associate Head of School, and former Middle School history teacher and dean Damon Hall stepped into the position of Assistant Director of the Middle School.

Charles Franklin
Charles Franklin comes to Hackley from the Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, where he served most recently as Assistant Head of School. At Landon, Charles successfully led academic programming, the faculty growth and evaluation program, hiring and professional development.
He grew up in Connecticut and studied at Amherst before receiving a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins. Throughout his career, Charles took on roles ranging from history teacher, dorm parent and coach, to Dean of Students, Upper School Co-Head and Director of Academics.
“I am humbled and excited to be in this role,” Charles said in a recent interview with the Dial’s Maura McGlarry ’24, noting that his main goal for his first year on the Hilltop is to get to know the people and the School by having conversations with members of the Hackley community. Click here to read the full Dial article.
Charles’ passion for education and compassion as a leader will have great impact at Hackley.

Cyndy Jean
On Thursday, May 25, former Assistant Head of School for Community and Inclusivity Cyndy Jean announced that she would be staying on the Hilltop to take on the role of Associate Head of School.
“As I reflect on my experiences at Hackley, it is the people that reaffirm my belief in our mission and core values,” Cyndy wrote to the Hackley community. “I can’t help but think about the incredible work done by our Hackley employees, students and parent volunteers throughout my tenure.”
Cyndy arrived at Hackley in 2007 as a Lower School Assistant Teacher, after completing her undergraduate studies at Amherst College. In 2010, she became an English teacher in the Middle School, also taking on advising and coaching responsibilities. Shortly after that, she was asked to take on the leadership role of a grade-level dean within the Middle School. In 2015, Cyndy moved into the Director of the Middle School role. In addition to helping develop student-led conferences in the Middle School, she designed and led the program that is now Hackley’s Teaching Fellowship. Cyndy also helped launch Hackley Hosts, a webinar series designed to bring educators from across the country to hear from leading voices on topical issues.
Some of Cyndy’s most lasting and impactful contributions have come through her efforts to help Hackley build on its mission-driven commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2021, Cyndy was appointed Hackley’s first Assistant Head of School for Community and Inclusivity. In this new role, she combined her lived experiences with extensive academic study on how to build inclusive communities to develop structures and systems for Hackley’s approach to DEI work, including overseeing the development of a multi-year DEI plan, increased levels of professional development for employees, the creation of DEI Advisory Groups to include parental voice, the launch of employee Resource Groups, and the refinement of several policies within the School to create a more inclusive and equitable environment.
“In my sixteen years on the Hilltop, I have witnessed our community’s brilliance and dedication, which has influenced my development as an educator, a leader, a mother and a friend. My decision to remain at Hackley is a reflection of all you have poured into me,” Cyndy wrote to the community. “I remain eager to continue meaningful work with you. I look forward to working closely with Charles Franklin, the senior leaders, and all of you ‘to spread beauty and light’ for many years.”
Damon Hall
Damon Hall joined Hackley’s History Department after working as a humanities teacher in grades 5-8 and 9-12, first at the Fessenden School and then at the Maret School. He also coached at his undergraduate alma mater, Bowdoin College. Damon earned his master’s degree in Learning & Teaching and Instructional Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“Over the past four years, Damon has built his reputation as a dynamic teacher and an enthusiastic, strong and responsive dean and colleague,” wrote Director of the Middle School Shazia Durrani in her announcement to the Hackley community. “During his time at Hackley, Damon has actively participated in all aspects of student life, whether volunteering as a judge, coaching three seasons of sports or subbing for a colleague. He has also assisted in organizing trips and events, reshaping curriculum and creating new programming. Damon has consistently supported advisors by providing clear guidance and unwavering support. I am confident that Damon’s passion and vision for the Middle School will be an incredible asset as he transitions into this role.”