Our school is fortunate to benefit from an exceptional team of leaders. Each individual brings valuable expertise, time, and passion to the Derby community.
I am thrilled and honored to be leading Derby Academy as the 35th Head of School. While there are so many reasons behind my passion for this amazing place, the School’s motto of Improve Both Mind and Heart is what ultimately drew me here and what continues to inspire me each and every day. What I love about our motto is not just that it was written over 230 years ago, but that it holds true to this day. The idea of improving both mind and heart has evolved over time, as our world has evolved, but the strength in the words will always remain.
What does it mean to improve one’s mind or heart? At Derby, improving the mind not only means giving our students the tools they need to be successful in their academics, but also encouraging them to open their minds through questioning, collaborating, exploring and risk-taking. It means giving them diverse perspectives and encouraging them to understand cultures other than their own. It means building their confidence and pushing them outside of their comfort zone, and teaching them the essential skills they need to be successful in life. Improving the heart means building character through social emotional learning, an emphasis on personal responsibility, and demonstrating empathy and integrity. An expectation of kindness and respect permeates our campus through teachable moments and example setting.
To give equal weight to our students’ academic achievements and their character strikes me as something that sets our school apart. As you explore the pages of this website, I hope you will find that the themes connect back to our motto, Improve Both Mind and Heart.
As I observe what is happening here during my first year, it is clear to me that we are committed to building strong relationships between students, faculty, and families. Every child is known and cared for and the connections they make with their peers and teachers create a strong foundation that enables them to thrive in both school and in life. The academic program at Derby is driven by our commitment to giving each student an experience that is informed by those relationships. Our teachers are doing extraordinary work, and their passion and dedication to their students is deeply apparent.
We invite you to visit our campus to experience this vibrant community firsthand. Please visit our Admission landing page for more information.
Colleen Ramsden, Ed.D.
This is Colleen’s first appointment as a Head of School after a rewarding 28-year career as a teacher and school administrator. Colleen began her teaching career in the public school classroom in New York City’s Upper West Side. After a decade teaching in various public schools, Colleen moved to North Carolina to pursue a career opportunity at Ravenscroft, an independent PK-12 day school. Colleen spent 18 years at Ravenscroft as a teacher, Lower School Head, and finally Assistant Head of School. After several years as the Assistant Head for Academics, she pursued her Doctorate in Education, an EdD in educational leadership, from North Carolina State University. She was appointed Derby Academy's new Head of School in 2021. Colleen and her husband Jason have two grown children, a son Connor and a daughter Kaitlin.