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Joy McGrath named first female head of school at St. Andrew’s

Amanda Parrish
Middletown Transcript

Smyrna native Joy McGrath was named the first female head of school at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, according to a press release.

McGrath will be the fifth person and first St. Andrew’s graduate to serve in the position since the school was founded in 1929. She will begin her duties in July, succeeding current Head of School Tad Roach who held the job for 24 years.

The Board of Trustees of St. Andrew’s School voted unanimously to confirm the class of 1992 graduate after a 10-month national search, which included input from faculty, staff, students, families and alumni.

In accepting this appointment, McGrath said she looks forward to building on the school’s distinct culture of faith and learning.

Joy McGrath, a Smyrna native, will serve as the first female head of school at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown and the first St. Andrew’s graduate to serve in the position.

“From the first moment I stepped on campus, I knew there was something special about this community where young people from all backgrounds and walks of life live and learn alongside dedicated, inspiring faculty,” she said. “The school completely altered the course of my life, and since then I have seen the work of St. Andrew’s in the lives of countless other students and alumni as well.”

One of her priorities as head of school will be to strengthen St. Andrew’s financial aid program.

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In the release, it says, “Joy has the knowledge, the experience, and above all, the character to lead our community and steward St. Andrew’s mission. She brings to St. Andrew’s a unique blend of exceptional managerial skills, a deep appreciation for our mission, and a profound commitment to educational excellence.”

McGrath has worked in education for more than two decades. For the past 13 years, she has worked at Yale University, where she currently serves as chief of staff to the president of the university. In this role, she manages strategic planning, development, project management and communications. She also leads Yale’s emergency response to COVID-19 with the university’s continuity plan.

Prior to serving as chief of staff to the president, Joy served in Yale’s Office of the Provost, where she helped the provost manage a $3 billion budget during the 2008-09 financial crisis. An accomplished fundraiser, she was recruited to Yale to become the first director of development for Yale College (the undergraduate body of the university), where she led the college’s component of a successful $3.9 billion university-wide capital campaign.

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Yale President Peter Salovey described McGrath as an accomplished, intelligent and respected leader.

“I know just how much Joy loves St. Andrew’s and how strongly she views her education there as life-changing,” Salovey said. “The opportunity to lead St. Andrew’s takes full advantage of her skills, passion, and imperturbable moral compass.”

The newly appointed head of school started her educational career as a faculty member at St. Andrew’s, where she served for eight years before her time at Yale.

McGrath is married to Ty Jones, a 1992 classmate from St. Andrew’s. Jones grew up in Chesapeake City, Maryland and works for his family business.