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235 Hope Road, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724  /  732.542.4777

Introducing New Middle School Head Marisa Mendez

Ranney School Head of School Dr. John Griffith is thrilled to announce the appointment of Marisa Mendez as Middle School Head, starting in July 2024. After a nation-wide search that yielded a strong pool of finalist candidates, Dr. Griffith said, “Marisa emerged as the clear choice, and we are delighted that she has accepted our invitation to become our next Middle School Head, building on the good work of David Ketcham.” 
During the visit, Marisa met with and impressed many stakeholder groups including Middle School faculty member Chrissy Dashkavich, who sat on the search committee. “It was immediately evident that Marisa was a consummate professional with a passion for education and diverse experiences. The love she has for her students shined through and confirmed that she values parents as partners. I believe that she will lead from the front, values building relationships with faculty and all community members, and fosters community through transparency and trust. Middle School students are unique in their development and needs compared to other age groups, and teaching and leading a Middle School is a true calling. Marisa has that, and I am truly excited to work with her where I know she will use her experience to continue to develop and build upon the already strong foundation of Ranney Middle School.” 
Currently, Marisa is the Assistant Head of Middle School at The Packer Collegiate Institute, a coeducational independent PreK-12 school of nearly 1,100 students in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to becoming Assistant Head, she served as Dean of Students. In her current role, she supervises and evaluates grade-level advisors, works with grade level coordinators, coaches fifth and sixth grade teachers, and oversees the creation of the advisory curriculum. She also continues to perform all aspects of the Dean of Students, which includes delivering on strategic long-term divisional goals, directing grade level meetings, implementing student support plans, using restorative practices for disciplinary matters, advising teachers, and designing professional development. 
Marisa began her school leadership career as a Grade Level Coordinator at The School at Columbia University and served as a literacy coach and grade leader at West Bronx Academy for the Future, a start-up that Marisa helped to found. She has extensive teaching experience, as an English teacher, advisor, and summer school teacher.
After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Trinity College, Marisa pursued a Master’s in Education at Mercy College as a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows Program, a New York model similar to Teach for America. She then earned her M.A. in School Leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University. 
Interested in curricular development, Marisa wrote and edited test review questions for the Leapfrog iQuest study guide system for The Princeton Review for several years. She also created interactive math lessons for Philadelphia Afterschool Program and created and edited standardized testing materials for the Denver Public School System. At West Bronx Academy for the Future, she served as a teacher advisor on the planning committee, developing and implementing two grade 6-12 schools with a theme of technology-rich, hands-on teaching and learning. 
Marisa has participated in many meaningful professional development opportunities, including “How to Run a Dynamic Advisory Program,” which she is using at her current school to revise and revitalize the existing Advisory Program, as well as “The Anchors of Emotional Intelligence.” Marisa also presented at the National Association of Lab Schools Conference and Teaching with Technology Conference, “Integrating Google Apps for Education in the 21st Century Language Arts Classroom.”
Called a “transformational leader” by one of her references, another spoke to Marisa’s focus on developing relationships: “She always centers the child.”  
Asked her thoughts on joining the Ranney School community, Marisa said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join Ranney, both as the Head of Middle School and as a parent. From the moment I stepped on campus, I was able to feel the warmth and inclusive nature of this community, and I am so eager to get to know the faculty, the parents, and, most importantly, the students who make Ranney such a special place. Excellent middle school educators meet their students where they are during this critical and exciting time of their lives, gently usher them through the challenges, and encourage them to see their full potential. I am so grateful to have the chance to do this important work alongside the Ranney Middle School faculty."
We look forward to welcoming Marisa and her husband, Marc, and their two daughters, Lucy and Riley, to the Ranney community. We will also be providing meet-and-greet opportunities for current and rising Middle School parents.

Ranney School

235 Hope Road
Tinton Falls, NJ 07724
Tel. 732.542.4777

Our mission is to know and value every child, nurturing intellectual curiosity and confidence, and inspiring students to lead honorably, think creatively, and contribute meaningfully to society.