Michael Gee becomes 20th Head of School following retirement of Alan Sparrow
SALT LAKE CITY – Rowland Hall is welcoming a new Head of School to Utah. Rowland Hall is Utah’s oldest independent, coeducational college-preparatory day school for grades preschool through 12. Michael “Mick” Gee was selected as part of a yearlong search process to replace Alan Sparrow, who retired in June after leading the school for 28 years.
“Mick embodies the core attributes of our school community and impressed the search committee with his demonstrated capacity for visionary leadership, his proven ability to inspire and engage all constituents across a school community, and his significant experience in innovative programming,” said Jennifer Price-Wallin, who as past chair and current trustee led the search process for Rowland Hall’s Board of Trustees.
A native of the United Kingdom, Gee has over 30 years of experience in education, starting as a science teacher in Nottingham and most recently concluding eight years as the head of Allendale Columbia School in Rochester, New York. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and analytical sciences from Loughborough University in the UK and a master’s in education leadership from Columbia University.
Gee believes in not just teaching science, but teaching kids to be scientists to give meaning and a tangible impact to students’ work. He supported this active learning philosophy through the creation of three Centers for Impact – for STEM and innovation, global engagement, and entrepreneurship – while at Allendale Columbia School. These centers give students real world application of classroom skills that have even resulted in student research being published.
“We used to think students in third, fourth, or fifth grade could only learn knowledge—they couldn’t create knowledge. It’s just not true,” Gee said. “Now we see students of all ages engaged in problem solving from a scientific and engineering point of view. They’ve got the skill set, they’re applying the skills, and they’re coming up with solutions that many adults haven’t thought of.”
When appointed in 2019, Gee could not have anticipated starting his role dealing with the complications of a pandemic. However, since arriving in Utah in July he has led Rowland Hall’s preparations for this unique school year and met the challenge with optimism.
“With everything our nation has been dealing with this year, with the pandemic and then diversity and equity issues, it’s clearer than ever that meaning is what we need more of in education,” Gee said. “We need scientists, problem-solvers, compassionate and empathetic leaders, and there’s no better time to be in education to try and develop those traits and characteristics in young people.”
Gee is the 20th Head of School since Rowland Hall was founded in 1867. He moved to Salt Lake City with his wife and daughter, who is a member of Rowland Hall’s class of 2021. Gee has played competitive soccer since he was eight and hopes to continue that hobby here in Utah.