Head of School Deb Hof Steps Down

Head of School Deb Hof Steps Down

A special message from Marion Minor and Suzanne Attenborough on behalf of The Girls' Middle School's Board of Trustees


Dear GMS Community,

After seven years as Head of School, Deb Hof will be leaving GMS effective June 30th.  GMS has thrived during Deb’s leadership.  The school has grown its number of students, completed two successful CAIS (The California Association of Independent Schools) accreditations, and moved to a new site – all the while remaining true to its mission of providing a diverse, inclusive, highly interactive and academically challenging educational environment where girls’ voices are valued.  Deb’s passion and enthusiasm will be missed.

With Deb’s departure, the Board has appointed Laura Reeve, GMS’s Academic Dean, to step in as Acting Head of School effective July 1, 2012.  Laura has been with GMS since 1998 when she joined as a founding member of the faculty.  Laura is well known on campus as an educator, an administrative leader, and a parent of two GMS alumni.  Laura has a B.S. in Geological Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a Master’s degree in Structural Engineering from Stanford University.  Laura began her career as an engineer in the aerospace industry before switching to the classroom, teaching science and engineering.  Laura brings a wealth of experience, multiple perspectives, and a deep knowledge of the school to this role.  The Board is confident in Laura’s ability to step in and lead the school during this time of transition.

The Board has established a Search Committee, chaired by Karen Rohde and including Suzanne Attenborough, Barbara Bayardo, and Christine Southgate, to oversee a search for our next Head of School.  With their collective years of experience as GMS Officers, Trustees, parents, and staff members, these Trustees bring to the search process a comprehensive perspective of and connection to the school’s past, present and future.  The search will be conducted in a manner that is intended to honor and embrace input from all of the school’s relevant constituencies.  The Committee’s first task will be to select a consultant to facilitate the process.  The Board believes that the school’s strong foundation and its reputation as a leader in all-girls education will attract an excellent pool of candidates.

 We hope we can count on your continued support during this transition period.  Meanwhile, please join us in thanking Deb for all her contributions and in welcoming Laura as she steps into her role.

Marion Minor, Outgoing Chair
Suzanne Attenborough, Incoming Chair
The Girl’s Middle School

Letter to the GMS Community from Deb Hof


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

After seven wonderful years at GMS, I am leaving my position as Head of School as of June 30th. As many of you know, my husband Rich and I have had a commuter marriage. During this past year, we’ve been considering what our next steps might be – knowing that longer-term we wanted to be closer to each other and our children and grandchildren.  When grappling with difficult decisions, sometimes fate steps in. In this case, Rich resigned his position, which has prompted me to reconsider my own. After extensive thought, and many long conversations, we have decided to take the leap together and begin the process of moving closer to our family. And, I must add that this will be the first time in 30 years as educators that we have taken time off together!

This has been a difficult decision. When I came to GMS, it was a small, scrappy school with amazing teachers and a huge heart--possibly the best-kept secret in Silicon Valley. Over the last seven years so much has changed!  We have grown from two to four sections per grade, increasing from 120 to 192 students.  We have refined and enhanced our curriculum. We have been awarded two successful CAIS accreditations, completing the most recent one this month.  And, most significantly, we moved into a “home of our own” at our new site, 3400 W. Bayshore, Palo Alto.

That said, much has remained the same. The faculty and staff at GMS are as wonderful as they always have been, with many dedicated teachers and staff-members joining the ranks of our amazing team. We have remained true to our core beliefs that girls in middle school deserve a chance to practice using their voice, and that they should be valued for being their authentic selves.  And, we have remained committed to our hands–on, project based approach to education and to maintaining the diversity of our beloved school.

It has truly been an honor to serve as the Head of School for a place as extraordinary as The Girls’ Middle School. All of you in this wonderful community will always hold a special place in my heart–and I can assure you that I will most certainly be in touch!

Deb Hof

Head of School