Lab selects new director

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

Robin Appleby has been appointed as the new director of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Appleby will on July 14, 2014, succeed David Magill, who announced in January that he would retire after 11 years as director.

Before coming to Lab, 1362 E. 59th St., Appleby lived in Dubai, where she ran four campuses of the Global Education Management Systems American Academies consisting of 5,000 students. In that role, she also served as Superintendent and CEO of GEMS Dubai American Academy, an American and International Baccalaureate school comprising 2,300 students, representing 100 countries.

Appleby previously served as director of the upper school at Hathaway Brown School, a girls’ secondary school in Shaker Heights, Ohio; high school principal at the American School of the Hague and senior dean at the Nichols School, a day school in Buffalo, N.Y. Her career began as a college writing instructor and then as an English teacher at the Nichols School.

“Her global outlook and her focus on teaching excellence and an outstanding student experience make her a wonderful choice to lead the Lab Schools,” David Greene, executive vice president of the University of Chicago, and John Rogers Jr., chairman of the Laboratory Schools Board of Directors, said in a written statement.

As director at Lab, Appleby will oversee the nursery school, kindergarten, primary school, lower school, middle school and high school. She will also develop the school’s human and financial resources.

Emily Buss, Lab board member who chaired the search committee, said she was grateful for the time she spent working with the committee, which included board members, Lab educators and community members.

“The search provided us with an opportunity to reflect on what is most important to us as a community and to think ambitiously about our future,” Buss said.

Janice Moy, a sixth-grade humanities teacher at Lab who served on the committee, said during the search committee meetings the committee and community established that they wanted a person who would respect Lab’s traditions but also have a vision about how to guide the school in the 21st century.

“[Appleby’s] diversity of experience and her enthusiasm for working in complex environments give us confidence that she is the right person to take Lab into the future while still holding on to its essence—that is, all those things that make Lab uniquely Lab,” Moy said.

Appleby said she is grateful for the unique opportunity to lead Lab school.

“The Laboratory Schools have continued to demonstrate new ways to provide each child an education that is both challenging and nurturing,” Appleby said. “In particular, [Lab’s] setting within the University of Chicago provides a rich and rare opportunity to tap the intellectual and physical resources of a higher education leader, and promote new collaborations.”

d.philips@hpherald.com