Meet Head of School Bessie Speers

Past Messages from Bessie Speers


Head of School Appointment Announcement


Past Updates:

Search Committee

An experienced and dynamic health-care executive, Jason is the co-founder and managing partner of Seae Ventures, an early stage healthcare venture capital firm. Previously, Jason served as the chief strategy officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, as well as the president and CEO of Zaffre Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of BCBSMA. Prior to Blue Cross, Jason served as executive vice president at Health Dialog, an international health care analytics company, where he worked with many of the largest insurance plans in the country. He also was a principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting; vice president at Imagitas, a targeted marketing firm; and vice president and president at Ceridian Performance Partners Canada.

Jason is a graduate of Middlebury College. He and his wife Sarah live in Cornwall, Vermont. Their son Jason ’11 and daughter Sophie ’13 are both Middlesex graduates.

John came to Middlesex from Brewster Academy, where he taught chemistry and biology, supervised a dorm, and coached girls’ varsity basketball. He also devoted two summers to the Royal Thai Scholar Summer Program at Brewster, developing and teaching an intensive chemistry curriculum geared to visiting Thai Scholars. A graduate of Clemson University with a B.S. in biological sciences, John served for six years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. As the head of Landry House, he lives on campus with his family.

Johanna has lived every dimension of the boarding school experience: student, faculty, and parent. After graduating from St. Paul’s School, she matriculated at Harvard, where she was two-time captain of the women’s ice hockey team. Johanna hurdled into her school career in 1988 as the consummate “triple threat” at a series of boarding schools, including Fay, St. George’s, Tabor, and Groton, where she taught history, served as a college counselor, coached three varsity sports, and enjoyed the plush bene-fits of dormitory life. She was recruited to Middlesex to serve as the associate athletic director, run LeBaron Briggs House, and coach field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse. Johanna “retired” from the school business after her third child, Daisy ’20, was born and soon launched a residential construction company in Concord, Massachusetts.

She has served in numerous volunteer roles over the years, including as board president of the Children’s Meetinghouse, chair of the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee, co-chair of the Friends of Harvard Hockey, President of the Harvard Varsity Club, and member of the Visiting Committee on Athletics at Harvard. Most recently, Johan-na purchased and headed up the ownership group of the Toronto Six, a women’s professional ice hockey team in the NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League). She is honored to serve on the Middlesex Board in a pro-tem capacity as president of the Middlesex Parents’ Commit-tee. Johanna lives in Concord with her husband John and their children: Scout, Tucker, Daisy ’20, and Chester ’23.

Mary Canniff: Staff

Mary started first as a Middlesex parent before coming to work as an employee within the Business Office. Her career at Middlesex began as the School Store Manager, moving into Accounts Receivable and finally in her current position as Payroll and Benefits Administrator. Mary has had three children come through Middlesex (’12, ’15, ’18), and previously worked for Geosciences Testing & Research, Inc. She went to school for biomedical engineering and received a B.S. from Northwestern as well as a M.E. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

As the president of the American Council of Learned Societies, a non-profit federation that is the preeminent representative of research in the humanities and related social sciences in the United States, Joy oversees the awarding of roughly $20 million annually in grants to scholars and promotes humanistic scholarship around the world. She began her studies of Latin and Greek at Middlesex, continuing at Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her doctorate in classics. Before moving to ACLS in 2019, she taught at the University of Washington, Stanford, and New York University, and she served as provost and interim president of The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Joy has written two books published by Princeton University Press, many articles about classical literature and political thought, and reviews and essays for Bookforum, The Nation, the London Times Literary Supplement, the Village Voice, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She is currently writing a book about the influence of Roman thought on the twentieth century philosopher Hannah Arendt.

Along with other academic advisory groups and editorial boards, Joy has served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Classical Studies, which works to promote the high quality and visibility of classical studies in North America. She lives in New York City, with stints in the Bay Area with her partner, Stanford University historian Walter Scheidel.

Alexander Fernandez, Faculty

As a recruitment officer and then assistant director of admissions at Oliver Scholars in New York City for three years, Alex identified, guided, and supported high-achieving elementary and middle school students seeking greater educational opportunities in independent schools. An alumnus of Oliver Scholars, he is a graduate of Concord Academy and Dickinson College, where he earned a B.A. in sociology. His collegiate experience as a peer educator, resident adviser, and housing manager comes in handy in his role as a dorm assistant in Atkins House.

Sarah first joined the Board in 1999 and is serving her second term as a trustee. She is a serial entrepreneur who has been involved with the building of three Silicon Valley consumer Internet companies since the late 1990s. Most recently, Sarah co-founded Nextdoor (www., the private social network for neighborhoods. After graduating from Harvard College, Sarah began her career at Microsoft as a product manager for Microsoft Office. Following her graduation from Harvard Business School, she spent a year as an associate at Greylock Partners in Boston. In 1999, Sarah moved to San Francisco and joined Epinions Inc., where she led the product and marketing teams for the pioneering consumer reviews and rating service. In 2003, Epinions merged with another private company and launched anew as, which went public on NASDAQ and was then acquired by eBay. After a stint as an entrepreneur in residence at Benchmark Capital, Sarah joined former colleagues and co-founded Fanbase before starting

An outstanding athlete who was named to Middlesex’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003, Sarah played varsity lacrosse as a Harvard undergraduate when the team won the National Championship in 1990. Her brother Alex ’97 and her sister, Robin Leary Taylor ’91, are also Middlesex graduates; Robin’s children—Preston ’22, Avery ’24, and Luke ’24—are now current students.

Patricia is the president of New Haven Promise, a place-based scholarship pro-gram created for the benefit of local students by The City of New Haven, Yale University, and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Highly regarded for her previous reform work in communities from Seattle to Boston, Patricia led several small school design teams that created Early College High Schools throughout Ohio and Indiana, and she served as the chief academic officer for Indiana’s third-largest district.

One of the first girls to attend newly coeducational Middlesex, Patricia was a gifted athlete who continued to excel at Yale University, where she earned her undergraduate degree. She subsequently received her master’s in education from Arizona State University and is working toward her Ph.D. in education at the University of Pennsylvania. Patricia’s outstanding athletic record and professional accomplishments have repeatedly brought her recognition, including the Souders Award (1994), an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award (2007), and Yale’s George H.W. Bush ’48 Lifetime of Leadership Award (2013). A 2003 inductee to Middlesex’s Athletic Hall of Fame, she has previously served two terms on the Middlesex Board, from 1988–91 and 1992–2002. Patricia delivered the School’s Bigelow Lecture on public service in 2016 and was the graduation speaker in 2019—the same spring that she received Middlesex’s Henry Cabot Lodge ’20 Distinguished Alumni Award.

An experienced and energetic small business operator and investor, Stanoy is the founder of Brimstone Capital, a private equity firm with a focus on small businesses, primarily in the wholesale distribution, e-commerce, and service industries. He is the CEO of Bridgeview Power, a national distributor of batteries and other power storage products, and is also an active executive at Ocean Coast Electric, a large, independent, New Jersey-based commercial electrical contractor specializing in large-scale logistics centers. His other active investments include Suntech Electric and Soltec Electric, Florida-based commercial electrical con-tractors. Stanoy began his investment career with JP Morgan in the fixed income division.

A graduate of Wesleyan University with B.A. in economics, Stanoy and his wife Anna live in New York City with their son Rumen ’21 and daughter Iliana ’24.

Rob serves on the Board in a pro-tem capacity as the president of the Middlesex Alumni Association. He is a partner of Fagan & Boshart Wealth Management, a nationally recognized wealth management team at J.P. Morgan. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, he spent 15 years at State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), where he was a managing director and head of Americas institutional ETF sales. While at SSGA, Rob was also a member of the senior leadership team, helping to shape and execute corporate strategy. Rob’s Middlesex legacy originates with his great-great-grandfather Robert Winsor, older brother of founder Fred-erick Winsor and longtime trustee and supporter of the School. Alumni in Rob’s family thereby include his great-grandfather, the late Walter H. Trumbull ’11, his grandfather, the late Philip W. Trumbull ’38; his father, Philip W. Trumbull, Jr. ’67; and his sister, Amy C. Trumbull ’96.

Rob holds an M.B.A. from Babson College and a B.A. from Rollins College. He also serves as vice chair of the Board of Overseers at the New England Aquarium and as Commissioner of Trust Funds in Weston, Massachusetts. He lives in Weston with his wife Allison and two children, Lilly and Henry.