New head of Sevenoaks School says he can’t wait to go for a run in Knole Park
A TEACHER, who grew up in the USA, and later attended Harvard University, has been appointed as the new Head of Sevenoaks School.
Current Head Dr Katy Ricks is moving on after 17 years in charge to become Chief Master of King Edward’s School, Birmingham, the first female to hold this post in the school’s 466-year history, and Jesse Elzinga will take over from September 2020.
Mr Elzinga, who is both a British and an American citizen, has been Headmaster of Reading Blue Coat School in Berkshire since 2016. During his tenure the school has enjoyed the best academic results in its history. Mr Elzinga expanded the school’s innovative Outreach and Partnership Programme, created a strong network of charities and partner schools within the local community, and established a thriving Development Office.
Before this, Mr Elzinga was Director of Studies at Harrow, where he broadened the school’s academic curriculum. Previously, he worked at St Edward’s School in Oxford as Director of Studies and as IB Coordinator. He helped introduce the IB Diploma at St Edward’s and was also a residential Assistant Housemaster. He started his career at Whitgift School as a teacher of Theology and Philosophy, where he was the Assistant Head of Sixth Form and the Theory of Knowledge Coordinator.
After growing up and attending school in Michigan, Mr Elzinga studied at Harvard University, where he gained a BA Honours degree cum laude in Comparative Religion and Philosophy, and at Oxford University, where his MSt focused on ethical philosophy. While he was at Harvard he also captained Varsity Lightweight Rowing, twice winning the national championship in the eight.
Mr Elzinga said: “It is a tremendous privilege to have been selected as the next Head of Sevenoaks School, particularly following the remarkable vision and leadership of Dr Katy Ricks. The Sevenoaks Education is unique: global in its outlook, yet also rooted in the local community, committed to service and partnership. I will champion the strengths of its broad education, and build on its appetite for innovation.
“The next chapter of the school is an important one, as we continue to develop an inspiring campus for the future, and also build a foundation that ensures that the remarkable education is as accessible to as many pupils as possible. My family and I very much look forward to our move to Kent, and joining the Sevenoaks community. Personally, I am itching to go for my first run in Knole Park.”
Ian Doherty, Chair of Governors at Sevenoaks School, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mr Elzinga to Sevenoaks. He will deliver a wealth of academic leadership, a passion for the International Baccalaureate, and a forward-thinking perspective. He shares our commitment to the local community and he brings with him an educational philosophy that will ensure that Sevenoaks will continue to build on the outstanding success of its modern, diverse and global approach to education.”
Sevenoaks School is a International Baccalaureate (IB) co-educational day and boarding school for students aged 11 to 18. It has one of the largest Voluntary Service Units (VSU) in any UK school and students have a choice of over 35 different activities ranging from environmental work and charity fundraising to supporting local primary schools and community groups, giving back 450 hours of time to the local community each week.