Stanstead College names first female head of school

By Geoff Agombar – Local Journalism Initiative
Stanstead College names first female head of school
Stanstead College Head of School Michael Wolfe and Associate Head Joanne Carruthers with co-head prefects Rosemary Lefebvre and Sofia Paradis (Photo : Stanstead College)

“I was floored by the number of messages I have had from alums and parents from 25-30 years ago. The world is small! Really, really small, and this is a pretty special place,” says Joanne Tracy Carruthers, associate head of school at Stanstead College. “Our current head of school always said that. This is a special place.”

The school announced Thursday that Carruthers has been named the next head of school. Carruthers will be the first woman to ever hold the position and the first Townships-born head since 1908.

“I’m nervous and excited and humbled,” Carruthers said. “One of my favorite comments was from an alum who said, ‘It may have taken 150 years, but the school was waiting for the right woman.’”

At the end of the 2022-23 school year, Carruthers will take over fully when Michael Wolfe retires after 18 years, making him the third-longest serving head of school in the history of the institution.

Jonathan Cowen, chair of the board of directors, described Carruthers as “the obvious choice.” She joined the Admissions Office in 1995 and was Director of Admissions from 2005-2021.

In 2019, she assumed a greater role in day-to-day oversight of college operations as associate head of school. She holds a degree in psychology and business from Bishop’s University and a certificate in leadership in enrollment management from USC Rossier School of Education. Carruthers served as president of the Small Boarding Schools Association for six years, the first Canadian to hold the position.

Through 2019-20, Carruthers was acting head while Wolfe was on sabbatical. “When he left, our head of school said, ‘Joanne, you can do it. The school practically runs itself,’” Carruthers laughs. Of course, the year that followed was anything but routine.
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