Congratulations to Rishi Raghunathan, who has been named the new upper school head at The Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio, for the upcoming 2019–20 school year. Raghunathan has held a variety of leadership positions at University School of Milwaukee since he started as a substitute teacher in 2001, including the Upper School’s longest-serving dean of students from 2006 to 2015. Prior to that, he served as the Upper School community service coordinator and Upper School assistant technology coordinator, among other roles. He has held his current role, Upper School history teacher, since August 2005. He will be joined in Ohio by his family, including Middle School French Teacher Neelie Barthenheier, who also started at USM in 2001 and has previously served as the Lower School/Middle School World Languages department chair, as well as their two children.
During his time at USM, Raghunathan worked to further the school’s efforts towards diversity and inclusion. He is the founding member of USM’s K–12 Pluralism and Inclusion Committee, faculty sponsor and mentor of the USM Parents of Students of Color affinity group, and faculty sponsor of USM’s Upper School Asian Heritage Student Affinity Group and Gay and Straight Alliance. In addition to serving as a trustee on the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS) board of trustees, he is chair of the ISACS equity and justice committee. He has served as a visiting scholar at the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute (gcLi) and will serve as a gcLi faculty member this summer.
“I’m very thankful to University School of Milwaukee for giving me the space and resources to grow as a teacher and administrator,” said Raghunathan. “Any good idea that I had, they let me run with it. I felt that I was at the right place at the right time when I started in 2001, and my initiative was rewarded. I’m excited for the opportunity to be new at something and to be a rookie. I’m looking forward to the thrill of learning and to being uncomfortable.”
“Rishi and I have spent countless hours together, especially during his tenure as the Upper School dean of students and in the context of his more recent role as a leader in the areas of equity and inclusion,” said Head of School Laura Fuller. “I have come to regard Rishi as a thoughtful relationship builder who always puts our students’ needs at the forefront of his actions. His recent professional development roles—with ISACS, as a member of their regional board, and also as a member of the GCLI faculty—have further enhanced his skillset. I cannot help but feel a deep sense of pride with this tangible evidence that University School builds leaders. Rishi is certainly an excellent example of this.”