Bios

CHRISTOPHER ARNOLD


Christopher Arnold is the co-founder of Educational Directions Incorporated, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Schooled in the classics (Diploma, Roxbury Latin School, Boston, Massachusetts; B.A. with honors, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; and M.A., Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut), Mr. Arnold has taught Latin, ancient Greek,philosophy, history, and English; coached lacrosse, wrestling, and football; and held a variety of independent school administrative positions.

Chris launched his independent school career of more than two decades as teacher, coach, and dorm parent at the Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut. Following this, he served as admissions officer, class dean, and department chair—in addition to teaching and coaching—at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts. Subsequently, he received an appointment as visiting scholar at the Lakeside School in Seattle, Washington.

Chris capped his independent school experience as head of the upper school at Heritage Hall in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, founded in 1969, whose PS – 12 curriculum enrolls over 800 students. During his six-year tenure—a significant period in the young school’s growth and coming of age—the leadership team completed a successful program of physical plant improvement and achieved a measurable rise in student performance.

Chris is a past trustee of Cate School in Carpinteria, California and the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ. Within his community, he has served as a trustee of the Community Preparatory School, Providence, Rhode Island, and the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Avid anglers, golfers, and tennis players, Chris and his wife Trish—trustee of the Posse Foundation and past trustee of Milton Academy and Wheaton College—reside in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, where they enjoy family gatherings with their three grown children and five grandchildren.

 

STEPHEN DICICCO

Stephen DiCicco is the co-founder of  Educational Directions Incorporated. He attended Fay School and St. Mark’s School, both in Southborough, Massachusetts. He holds a B.A. and an M.Ed. from Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts. His experiences with day and boarding schools include teaching, dorm parenting, school headship and trusteeship.

Stephen began his teaching career at Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts, subsequently becoming Head of its Middle School. He then went to Trinity-Pawling School in Pawling, New York, as Assistant Head and Director of Admissions. Together with his wife Harriet, he lived on campus, ran a sophomore dorm, and continued to teach. Later, he served as Head of St. Michael's School, Newport, Rhode Island, where he increased enrollment, expanded the Early Childhood Program, initiated after-school programs, developed a Strategic Plan, and carried out a Capital Campaign and building project.

Committed to the community, he has presided over the boards of the Newport Children’s Theatre and the Robert Potter League for Animals.

Stephen DiCicco has extensive board experience including Treasurer of the White Mountain School (NH), current board member of St. Michael's Country Day School (RI), Independent School Chairpersons Association and Brantwood Camp for disadvantaged children (NH), past President of the Bartlett School (MA) and past board member of Williams School (CT),

 

HARRIET DICICCO

As the daughter of a Foreign Service officer, Harriet DiCicco experienced independent school education initially as a student in international schools. She holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an M.Ed. from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston.

Harriet has worked with students of all ages in both public and private schools. She began teaching in a public alternative high school in Watertown, Massachusetts. When she moved with her husband Stephen to Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, New York, she tutored in the Language Retraining Program and ran a sophomore dorm.

At St. Michael’s School, Newport, Rhode Island, Harriet was involved with creating and implementing a variety of school-wide community and fundraising projects and worked with students in an after-school club program. Upon completing her post-graduate work, she created curriculum and taught pre-kindergarteners, focusing on early literacy.

In the community, Harriet DiCicco has worked as a volunteer in the community literacy program in the public schools, president of the county humane shelter and senior warden of her church's vestry. Currently, she serves on humane shelter's search committee as well as its Advocacy and Public Policy committee; is on St. Columba's Chapel vestry and serves on the Brantwood Camp (NH) board.

 

MATHEW HEERSCHE

Over the course of his career, Matt has developed a wealth of knowledge and information about Catholic schools. His BA and Masters from California State University are in the field of Linguistics. His doctorate from the University of San Francisco/Institute for Catholic Education Leadership is in Private School Administration with a specific focus in international education.

Matt began his teaching in higher education with the California State University and from time to time, has returned to that world as lecturer at Los Angeles Valley College, and professor at Senzoku Gakuen College, Japan and Troy State University, Korea and Hawaii. 

His experience with independent schools includes teacher and associate dean of students at St. Vincent’s High School (CA); teacher, coach and Director of the International Student Program at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy (CA), and academic dean at Marymount High School (CA) and middle school head at San Domenico (CA).

Most recently, Matt stepped down after 10 years as Head of San Domenico School -  a  day/boarding school founded by the Dominican Sisters, coed day in grades PK- 8 and girls only boarding/day in grades 9 -12.   Among his accomplishments were the creation of a Master Plan, the new construction of a science and technology center, hall of the arts and athletic center, and the installation of one of the largest school based solar systems.  In addition, he was responsible for the creation of a new teacher mentoring program, implementation of Teaching Excellence/Broad Band compensation model to promote professional excellence for faculty, as well as the enhancement of best practices for faculty in such areas as integration of literacy strategies across the curriculum.

Recognizing the importance of education and being of service to the larger community, Matt has served on the board of Seeds of Learning, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving educational opportunities in rural Latin America. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Academy of Notre Dame, Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.

 

RISA OGANESOFF HEERSCHE

With a BA in Japanese Studies and a Masters in Asia Pacific Studies augmenting her bilingualism, Risa’s career has led to various teaching and administrative positions in the educational world at institutions such as Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy (CA), Marin Academy (CA) and most recently San Domenico School (CA).

At San Domenico, Risa began as an instructor of Japanese language before moving into the Associate Director of Admissions position.   She then took over the admissions for the high school as well as for all international students. Her signature programs at the school were known for attention to the individual prospective students and their families, and for involving currently enrolled families and students in the process.

As Director of International Student Relations, a position proposed by Risa to focus on the needs of international families, Risa collaborated with members of the College Counseling, Development and ESL departments to ensure that those families felt well-served by the school and part of the school community.

A dancer in her spare time, Risa also started a dance program as a component of the Theatre Arts department at San Domenico.


LINDA LAFLAMME

With undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education and Business Administration and a Masters in Management, Linda has a breadth of experience working in various types of organizations.

She began her career working for the Maine Department of Human Resources as a financial social worker. She has taught in the public school system in the adult education program and later at the elementary level.

Seeking broader horizons, Linda became an officer in the U.S Navy where she served in various capacities, stateside and abroad, for 16 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander.

Versed in speaking French, Spanish and Dutch, in directing naval ships in Spain that were in danger of grounding when a hurricane threatened, in getting 700 40-foot containers to their destination when a commercial ocean carrier company went bankrupt, Linda more than ably manages all aspects of Educational Directions’ publications.

In her free time, she was a master tax advisor for H&R Block and an enrolled agent for the IRS!

 

JERRY LARSON

Jerry began his independent school career at Phillips Exeter Academy (NH) and after time at the collegiate level, went to Tabor Academy (MA) where he wore a number of administrative hats in addition to being a faculty member and coach -- Residential Dean, Development Officer, Director of Athletics. He headed Cheshire Academy (CT), a coed boarding/day school, during two different periods. His accomplishments included: refining the school's mission and program to be student centered, enhancing the physical facilities and increasing enrollment by more than 40%.

The consummate student, Jerry earned his B.S. from University of New Hampshire, his MBA from New Hampshire College and his Ed.D. from Boston University. He continually avails himself of opportunities to further his knowledge about leadership and organizational systems and is accredited by HayGroup Consulting, Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, The Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara, Linkage, Inc., Multi-Health Systems, Inc. and Vistage International, Inc.

Interested in broadening his educational experience into the international sector, Jerry spent 2 years as Director of Education & Student Care for ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence in Doha, Qatar.

Committed to enhancing independent education, Jerry serves as trustee for The Winchendon School (MA) and former trustee for  The Bartlett School (MA); The Forman School (CT); as well as twice serving as Director on the board of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. He has presented at a number of conferences for both National Association of Independent Schools as well as The Association of Boarding Schools.

Jerry returns to his consulting work with Educational Directions. He is involved in head of school searches, governance and leadership consulting, program/school analysis with long range and strategic planning.

 

 

SAM RICHARDS

As the son of a faculty member at Holderness School (NH), Sam's future, one might say, was predetermined! How could he not be destined for a career as an independent schoo leader! He is most happy when immersed in understanding the rhythms of each school's unique culture, be it in the classrooms, dining halls or athletic fields.

After earning a B.A. from the University of New Hampshire, Sam went on to receive a M.Ed. from the National Louis University (IL).

His career has spanned many parts of the United States and he has worked in a variety of types of independent schools, where he has gained a rich depth of experienc in many roles. Throughout his many positions, Sam always made time to be in direct contact with a school's raison d'etre -- the students!

He has worked at Hotchkiss School (CT), Moses Brown School (RI) and Rectory School (CT) as teacher, coach and administrator.

In his 18 years at Lake Forest Country Day School (IL), Sam had the opportunity to teach math, history and physical education, be an advisor and a four-season coach (football, soccer, basketball, hockey, tennis, baseball). He was Head of the Upper School (grades 5-9) and also Director of Technology.

After Lake Forest Country Day School, Sam became Head of Middle School at Cape Cod Academy (MA) where he also found time to teach an Algebra honors course as well as taking on the responsibilities of Director of Technology, Chair of the Professional Development Committee and Chair of the Technology Advisory Committee.

Before joining Educational Directions, Sam was the Head of School at Hampstead Academy in Hampstead, New Hampshire, a PS-Grade 8 coed, day school. He may well be the only independent school head brave enough to ride the school bus in order to get to know the students and meet the parents at drop off!

When Sam is not working, you will find him spending time with family, stringing a tennis racket, learning something new or getting some exercise in the form of tennis, biking, hiking or walking the dog.

Sam's educational philosophy is grounded in the belief that a school should be a community of learners and that learning should be a lifelong process. His professional experience, graduate work and continuing education give him a unique perspective towards leadership in schools. Sam is an experienced independent school educator and a lifelong learner, and he looks forward to helping schools find a leader who will make a difference in the lives of students, teachers and parents.

He will be focusing primarily on serving client schools with their senior administrative searches, institutional assessments and strategic planning.