Oldfields School Reverses Closure Decision, Set To Reopen In September Following Outpouring Of Community Support


Credit: Oldfields School/ Facebook

BALTIMORE COUNTY - Oldfields School, an all-girls institution based in Sparks Glencoe, has announced that it will not be closing this fall, transferring ownership of the school to a new board of trustees.

In April, the school announced it would close for good at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. It stated that "recent trends and obstacles," including the COVID-19 pandemic, had created "unique challenges" for the school's financial stability.

The decision prompted an outpouring of support from parents and alums, who sought to keep the scenic 140-acre campus open to students. Following a frenzy of fundraising and planning, an Oldfield's parent filed a lawsuit against the school in June, claiming that the school's board of trustees and the acting school failed to sustain the school's operations.

Support from the Oldfields community and the lawsuit triggered a successful transition to a new Board of Trustees. Douglas F. Gansler, a former Maryland Attorney General who represented a parent in the case to reopen the school, said that this is a true A+ for Oldfields.

"The future girls of Oldfields will be able to celebrate their individuality and achieve the shared deep-rooted sense of belonging that is so unique to the Oldfields experience. This is a true A+ for the girls of Oldfields," Gansler said.

According to Oldfields, the new board of trustees will focus on forging an identity around the school's world-class equestrian program. The school also cited a reduced student body, staff, and faculty as necessary cost-saving measures.

"Oldfields School has a long history of producing strong riders, and the program is a cornerstone of the Oldfields experience," said Amy Philips, head of the school's riding program.

Taylor Smith, a former Head of School at Oldfields, will chair the new Board of Trustees. Carol Engebretson, the current Board Chair, thanked the Board and Interim Head of School, Nancy Palmer, for their tireless work during the difficult times brought on by Covid and financial strain.

"The current Board of Trustees, along with Interim Head of School Nancy Palmer, has worked tirelessly to lead Oldfields School through the difficult times brought on by Covid and the corresponding reduced enrollment," stated Board Chair Carol Engebretson. "As we now hand over the reins to a new Board chaired by Taylor Smith, we all look to a bright future for the School."

In the press release announcing the decision to reopen this fall, Oldfields stated that it seeks to continue its commitment to adhere to the Oldfields Charter and its historical methods of operation, and the intentions of its founder, Anna Austen McCulloch. With a reduced student body, staff, and faculty, and a planned robust capital campaign, Oldfields aims to ensure its doors remain open for another 156 years.

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