Chairman of the Board
Lake Forest, IL
A Note from Our Head of School Sheila Culbert
Greetings. As you think about which school to attend, let me tell you why I think Loomis Chaffee might be just the right place for you. One of the preeminent boarding schools in the northeast that attracts students from around the country and around the world, Loomis Chaffee successfully combines a challenging academic environment with excellent athletics and arts programs. We do this within a vibrant, intimate, and welcoming community on one of the most beautiful school campuses anywhere.
We are looking for students who will thrive in and enjoy the school’s rigorous academics, who have the potential for leadership and for giving back to society, and who share the special values of the school. Here, you will be inspired to a love of learning, a passion for excellence, and a commitment to the greater good. There is no single model of success at Loomis Chaffee. Rather, the school encourages students to be true to their own best selves. Our faculty teach, coach, live in the dormitories, advise students, and engage them on a very personal level. Together, students and faculty create the magic that is Loomis Chaffee.
The school’s ability to provide financial aid to qualified applicants makes Loomis Chaffee accessible to a broad range of students. Since its inception, Loomis Chaffee has adhered to and honored its founders’ wishes to enroll talented young scholars from around the world regardless of religion, sex, geographical origin, or financial standing. The school is committed to the belief that students learn from one another and that the diversity of the student body and faculty is an essential component of the learning environment.
I hope that you will explore this website, and that you will come visit us.
In July 2008, the Loomis Chaffee Trustees appointed Sheila Culbert as the seventh head of school and president of The Loomis Institute. Having grown up in a family of nine and having attended boarding school in Belgium, Sheila has always loved the hustle and bustle of communal living and learning. A civil war historian, an ardent gardener, and an avid reader, Sheila is passionate about education and the importance of developing in students a love of learning and an acceptance of the responsibilities that come with privilege. She loves teaching and being with young people.
Sheila received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and came to the United States, with her husband, Richard Wright, for graduate work at Indiana University. With doctorates in hand, Sheila and Richard moved to the northeast — Sheila to teach at Phillips Exeter Academy and Richard to a faculty position in the Geography Department at Dartmouth College. After six years at Exeter, where she taught, lived in a dormitory, and coached sports, Sheila moved to Dartmouth where she taught history and worked in the administration. Prior to coming to Loomis, she served as the chief of staff to the president of the college and as the interim vice president for Communications. Throughout her time at Dartmouth, Sheila taught in the History Department where she developed the course on the American Civil War, which she now teaches to Loomis Chaffee seniors. Sheila’s husband Richard is the Orvil E. Dryfoos Professor of Public Affairs at Dartmouth College. Together they have two children, Will (d. 2016) and Matthew; and two dogs, who also love campus life.
After 15 years of service to the school, Sheila will retire as head of school at the end of the 2022–23 school year.