Emily Sargent-Beasley is the Next ACS President
Starting July 2022
May 31, 2021
Dear students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, friends of ACS:
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the American College of Sofia, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Emily Sargent-Beasley as ACS’s seventh President, effective July 1, 2022. Ms. Sargent-Beasley is a superb educator, administrator and leader with a career devoted to premier international schools around the world. She currently serves as the Head of the Pudong Campus of the Shanghai American School, the longest standing international school in China.
From our first introduction to her, Ms. Sargent-Beasley’s professional qualities, experiences and educational approach stood out to the Board’s Search Committee as an exceptional match to ACS’s own mission and values. As an educator, Ms. Sargent-Beasley believes that faculty and administrators are called upon to prepare students for a future of active and ethical engagement in a dynamic global society. As importantly, Ms. Sargent-Beasley espouses the belief that the intellectual, social and emotional needs of students – and not just their academic success – must be pursued. As an experienced school administrator, Ms. Sargent-Beasley has successfully tackled wide-ranging changes, opportunities and challenges, from strategic plan implementation and accreditation processes to campus expansions, curriculum re-design and health crisis management during the current pandemic. Ms. Sargent-Beasley’s leadership style is one of “collective responsibility and collective impact” (in her words). A view she shared with the Search Committee during one of our interviews still stands out: “While at the start of a project I may carry the title of ‘leader’, that title quickly fades in the background for the benefit of true team collaboration and success.”
But if her stellar credentials alone weren’t enough, Ms. Sargent-Beasley’s personal background, personality and character make her even more perfect for the role of ACS President. The child of international educators, she grew up attending schools in Lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabia and India, followed by a professional career in India, Israel and China. She has visited Bulgaria and Sofia on multiple family vacations and during the selection process, has developed a deep appreciation for ACS’s history, mission and traditions. She will be joined in Sofia by her husband, James, while her son Connor and daughter Brenneman complete their university studies in the United States. Ms. Sargent-Beasley is empathetic, kind, energetic and earnest. As showcased by her description of the Japanese art of Kintsugi during her presentation to the ACS faculty, interactions with Ms. Sargent-Beasley are enriching, inspiring and delightfully “out of the box”. She cares deeply about the students she serves and her effort to be connected to them in her day-to-day work is one of the traits her colleagues admire most. When she arrives at the ACS campus next summer, we will gain a terrific new member of our community who will enter seamlessly into our life and work.
The selection of Ms. Sargent-Beasley was the result of a rigorous and exhaustive process begun in December 2020, and exemplifies community teamwork at its best. The Search Committee of the Board, led by long-term trustee Dave Wilson and assisted by a premier consulting firm, received many strong applications from candidates worldwide, including numerous heads of school and senior school administrators. The Committee interviewed a group of semifinalists and three exceptional finalists were invited to two-day Zoom interviews with faculty, staff, students and alumni. This diverse community expressed eloquent and unambiguous enthusiasm for Ms. Sargent-Beasley as the top candidate and a terrific fit for ACS. We are grateful to our various stakeholders for collaborating with us in finding our next leader. We are also deeply indebted to the Search Committee for its tireless work and dedication to this crucial process. And, as always, we are so fortunate for the leadership and support of Dr. Richard T. Ewing, Jr. and his team at every step of this endeavor.
I look forward to introducing everyone to Emily over the coming months and getting her better acquainted with our community. As importantly, I am excited for the opportunities we will have in the coming year to celebrate Dick Ewing’s accomplishments and important work on behalf of ACS during his ongoing tenure. Until then, please join me in celebrating an important milestone in our institutional history and welcoming Emily Sargent-Beasley to the ACS family.
Theodora Konetsovska ’97
Chair of the Board of Trustees, American College of Sofia