Head of School Search

Mid-Pen Board of Trustees Name Interim Head of School

The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce that we have hired Karen Eshoo, Ed.D., to serve as our Interim Head of School for the 2021-2022 academic year. Our search process included several highly qualified candidates, and after a thorough and thoughtful review, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Eshoo to Mid-Pen. Dr. Eshoo has been a leader in education for over two decades. She is currently the Head of School at King School in Stamford, Connecticut, which serves 700 students in grades PreK-12, and brings with her exceptional leadership skills and experience and a deep passion for learning. Some highlights from her career at King School include: overseeing the development and implementation of the KingIsHome remote learning program; establishing and raising $500,000 for an Emergency Financial Access Fund to support families affected by COVID-19; convening the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force as part of King’s Strategic Plan; and, in partnership with its Development team, raising more than $3.5 million to fund a major capital project at the school. 

Karen is a Bay Area native. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of San Diego in 1991, her master’s in education and history from Stanford in 1996, and her doctorate from UC Berkeley in 2015. Professionally, Karen was Head of School at Vistamar School in El Segundo, a high school serving 275 students, from 2011-2018. Karen served as Assistant Head of School at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco from 2007 to 2011. Before that, Karen held several roles at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton from 2001 to 2007, first as Academic Dean, Grades 6-8; then Interim Dean, Grades 6-8; and finally Principal for Grades 1-8. 

Karen clearly has the education and experience Mid-Pen needs. But who is she? In her own words, “I am committed to building a school community that prioritizes student-centered learning, and that is informed by the multiple perspectives that are present in a diverse learning environment. This kind of authentic engagement creates opportunities for students to lean into challenges, critically examine their own assumptions, and construct creative solutions to problems in the most inclusive ways possible.”  

More importantly, Karen comes to us with the highest recommendations from her former colleagues. Paraphrasing some of the Board members from schools she has led, “I have never met a better communicator.” Another Board Chair said, “She’s a real pro. Her superpower is that she can connect equally well with parents and students alike.” She was the unanimous choice of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. We look forward with enthusiasm as our community meets and gets to know Karen, along with her German Shepherd, Max, in the months ahead. Planning is already underway to have her visit the school and begin working with Phil Gutierrez to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. She has expressed her keen and genuine excitement to get to know all of you! 

During the global pandemic, Mid-Pen successfully transitioned to an online learning platform. In so doing, our community showed great resilience and flexibility to the changes we faced. The Board feels confident that with Karen’s leadership experience, track record of building high-quality academic programs, along with our remarkable faculty and staff, families, and students, we will—together—maintain continuity as we progress through this transition. 

We know you’ll be as pleased as we are to welcome Karen Eshoo to Mid-Pen.

With deepest appreciation,

Debbie Vielbaum                     
Chair of the Board            
Phil Abrahamson        
Vice Chair of the Board


Head of School Search FAQs

Meet Interim Head of School Karen Eshoo

Read her letter to the Mid-Pen Community.

Head of School Search Committee

Debbie Vielbaum
Committee Co-Chair
Anna Waring
Committee Co-Chair

Phil Abrahamson
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
Mike Gordon P '22
Trustee and
Capital Campaign Committee Co-Chair

Randy Johnson
Director of Admissions
John Northway
Trustee and
Facilities Committee Chair
Andrea Potischman P '23
Parents Association President
Gregorio Prieto P '20 '23
Tim Reichert
Terri Spanner P '16
Secretary, Board of Trustees
Jameson Swanagon
Music Teacher

Past Communications

Mid-Pen's Board of Trustees announces its search for an interim and permanent Head of School for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Mid-Pen Head of School Phil Gutierrez announces his departure from Mid-Pen at the end of the academic year.