Posted on October 12, 2023
We are excited to welcome Nicole Hager to the AC team as the Director of School Partnerships. For the last 30 years, she has been an administrator in independent schools and her work has focused primarily on student well-being. Nicole has worked closely with Authentic Connections for the last eight years, in two different schools; she brings her knowledge of independent schools, her passion for student health and wellness, and her sincere interest in helping schools know, understand, and respond to the needs of the students and educators in their communities to her new role at AC.
Nicole graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in English, Psychology and Education. She also has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Bay Path University and a Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth. Her MALS thesis examined the opportunities and challenges of supporting transgender and non-binary students in independent boarding schools, and her work in student life and well-being has had a particular focus on supporting students of color and LGBTQ+ students.
Nicole got her start in independent education at Deerfield Academy where she worked in admissions and the DEI office before moving into the dean of students office. After nine years at Deerfield, she spent the next 17 years as the Dean of Students at Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) where she was introduced to Dr. Suniya Luthar and her compelling research on resilience. For the last three years, Nicole was the Upper School Director at Kent Place School (KPS). Nicole worked closely with the AC team while at NMH and KPS.
“I am thrilled to be joining the AC team full time as I believe so strongly in its mission to bring data-driven insights to improve well-being in schools for all students and educators and, more specifically, for those in school communities who are most vulnerable. I’ve long believed that high-achieving schools have an ethical responsibility to attend to the well-being of their students at least as vigorously as they attend to their academic progress and achievement. In my experience, Authentic Connections lives up to its name; AC creates authentic partnerships with schools, helping them to connect with the experiences of their students and educators, and be responsive to their needs so every member of their community can meet their full potential.”
When asked about adding Nicole to the team, Nina Kumar, CEO, said, “I’m so thrilled that Nicole has joined our team. Having worked with Nicole during her time at both NMH and KPS, I’ve already been able to see the impact that her rich experience in supporting marginalized groups has had on ensuring that our surveys are as inclusive and clear as possible. Nicole has been an incredibly thoughtful and passionate collaborator and I know that her contributions will help us further support schools.”