The head of Oldfields School has resigned in the wake of a financial crisis that has threatened to shut the 140-year-old all-girls boarding school in less than two years.
George Swope Jr., who has led the school since 2003, confirmed yesterday that his resignation will be effective Friday.
Swope declined to further discuss his decision.
"I've been asked not to make comments," he said.
As the school's leader, Swope earned about $250,000 for the 2005-2006 school year, according to forms filed with the IRS.
His wife, Margaret Andrews, who is director of development, also has resigned, board member Sunny Adams confirmed yesterday.
Anne Weeks, the dean of academic life, is expected to begin serving as interim head of the school March 1, school officials said. She has worked at Oldfields since 1988.
Oldfields, founded in 1867, is in Glencoe, northern Baltimore County, and is Maryland's oldest girls boarding school. It has more than 160 students in grades eight through 12 from 17 states -- mostly in the Mid-Atlantic region -- and seven countries, including China, Mexico and Nepal. About two-thirds are boarders, and the rest are day students.
In November, school trustees raised the alarm about the future of Oldfields in letters seeking financial support from graduates and families.
At the time, trustees wrote that "the gap between revenue and expenses is ... widening drastically and quickly," despite a decrease in the school's expenses and the more-than-doubling of its endowment in recent years, to more than $14 million.
The financial crunch resulted in part from declining enrollment, which is down to 164 from 186 two years ago.
Officials have said that the school's short-term goal is to generate an additional $1 million in income from interest on its endowment fund and other sources.
But Swope said last fall that the school needs to more than triple its endowment to $50 million for "long-term, future sustainability" to enable the school to provide more programs, increase financial aid and maintain its 225-acre property.