After an extensive search, Holderness School is pleased to announce the hiring of Mb Duckett Ireland as the school’s new Dean of Students.
Mb comes to Holderness from Choate Rosemary Hall, where she spent 11 years as a Form Dean, English teacher, and coach. She will arrive on campus in July with her wife, Sarah Duckett Ireland, and their two-year-old daughter, Livi.
“I am so excited to be joining the Holderness community this July and look forward to exploring the Lakes region with my wife, Sarah, and our 2-year-old daughter, Livi, along with our two labs, Carson and Otto,” Mb said. “I am both thrilled and humbled to be the next Dean of Students and look forward to working with my colleagues to best support the students and their families. We have been blown away by the warm welcome and genuine kindness and humor that are so evident in every interaction, and we can’t wait to meet the entire community!”
To many who took part in the school’s search for a new Dean of Students, it quickly became clear that Mb would be an outstanding addition to the Holderness community.
“We are so pleased to have Mb, Sarah, and Livi join the Holderness Family,” said Head of School Phil Peck. “When Mb interviewed, we immediately felt she would be a great fit. Her love of the outdoors, her ability to connect with adults and students, ask probing questions, and her kind and open demeanor gave us confidence that she will be a natural at Holderness and help to move school life forward.”
Mb brings to Holderness a wealth of experience as a teacher, coach, and mentor for students and colleagues. As Form Dean at Choate Rosemary Hall, she supervises the social and academic life of students in the Class of 2021, including discipline, housing, course selection, and advising. She is also responsible for communication between the school and parents of students in the form. As an English teacher, Mb teaches 10th-grade Composition and Literature; 11th grade American Literature; Public Speaking, and 12th-grade electives such as Satire and Dystopian Literature. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and a Master’s Degree from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
A key aspect of her role at Choate has been to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. A longtime advisor to Spectrum, Choate’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Mb has helped guide students’ successful activism and leadership on campus, and organized the school’s annual LGBTQ conference for 14 peer schools. She also served as chair of Driving Equity at Choate, an interdepartmental team created to heighten cultural competency through training, curriculum review, admission work, and hiring practices. During her time as chair, she helped drive the strategic vision for equity and inclusion at Choate, planned faculty cultural competency workshops, and acted as a resource for colleagues to incorporate topics of diversity in their curriculum.
“My goal as an educator is to inspire others to celebrate the beautifully complex intersectionality of culture and identity that makes up a single individual and, collectively, a school community,” Mb wrote in a personal statement accompanying her application for the Dean of Students position. “To achieve this end, I infuse my work with humor and optimism, and approach each day as an opportunity to further authentic conversations and foster intellectual curiosity. I strive to energize my students and colleagues and take a strategic, collaborative approach to building a better school and wider community.”
We look forward to welcoming the Ducket Ireland family to campus this summer.
Just as Holderness School nears completion on its new 35,000 square-foot math and science building this spring, the school is set to embark on a series of transformative upgrades to its Nordic trails and athletic fields.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last spring, educators knew the following school year would pose unprecedented challenges for students and faculty. That concern prompted Holderness to forego regular Saturday morning classes - at least for the 2020-21 school year – in favor of programming that supported students’ social and emotional wellbeing.
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