St. Paul's School leader resigns to run foundation

Headmaster will leave at end of school year

November 30, 2001|By Linda Linley | Linda Linley,SUN STAFF

The headmaster of St. Paul's School is leaving at the end of the school year to become executive director of a philanthropic foundation in Washington.

Robert W. Hallett, headmaster at the Brooklandville school since 1985, resigned yesterday to join the Edward E. Ford Foundation, which distributes $3 million to $4 million each year in matching grants to private high schools nationwide. The resignation is effective June 30.

Yesterday, Hallett called the foundation job a "once in a lifetime" opportunity. He will be making recommendations to a governing board on grant proposals for a foundation that is valued at more than $70 million.

"I have quite a mixed feeling about leaving St. Paul's," Hallett said. "My family is attached to this school, so it is a very emotional decision to leave. And my son attended school here. I will always consider St. Paul's my school."

Hallett told the students about his resignation yesterday.

He said his leaving had "absolutely nothing" to do with the scandal last spring after a St. Paul's lacrosse player videotaped himself having sex with a girl and showed the tape to his teammates. Hallett expelled the player and canceled the school's varsity lacrosse season.

"It is pure coincidence," he said of the timing of his departure. The foundation opening came to his attention in June, he said, and he went through a series of interviews before he was selected from among more than 40 candidates.

Daniel R. Baker, president of the St. Paul's board of trustees, called Hallett's tenure "nothing less than remarkable" and said he will be difficult to replace. "He has a wealth of experience in the community and is such a well-rounded leader. He has always had the complete backing of the board of trustees," Baker said.

"Bob set a vision, and the school is in a great place because of his vision," said Lynn Rauch, a former president of the board.

During Hallett's years at St. Paul's, the school's endowment grew from $3 million to $20 million, and about $22 million was raised for campus renovation and construction. The school added Japanese language classes, started an exchange program with a Japanese university and high school, and began a tutoring program for inner-city children.

A 1969 graduate of Gettysburg College who has a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Hallett went to St. Paul's after 14 years at Friends' Central School in Philadelphia.

The Edward E. Ford Foundation, endowed by a Binghamton, N.Y., businessman, has no connection to the much larger Ford Foundation or to Ford Motor Co.

Hallett will be at least the second Baltimore-area headmaster to become executive director of Edward E. Ford. Lawrence L. Hlavacek held the post in the 1980s after serving as headmaster of Garrison Forest School.

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