About IDS

Welcome from Head of School

Dear Families,

On a rainy Wednesday morning, 161 pre-school, elementary and middle school students sit quietly in IDS’s gorgeous Galluzzo Theater, anticipating the power point presentation of an 8th grade girl. There is a technology glitch, but even the 3 year-olds are calm and ready to hear what this student learned about cerebral palsy. It’s All-School Meeting at The Independent Day School, a weekly ritual for the school’s student, faculty, and parent community. As I sit, scanning the crowd, I reflect how much I would have loved to attend a school like this one. And then it dawns on me: not only do I get to be part of a school like IDS, I get to lead it!

When you enter the 33-acre rural campus of The Independent Day School, you’ll notice a sign: “Slow down! Future leaders at work and play!” The location of the sign should not go unnoticed: it’s next to a speed bump. At IDS, we anticipate and welcome these speed bumps, and recognize that the learning that happens through failure is often more powerful than what is learned through success. In these pre-school, elementary and middle school years, we help our students develop the academic skills and the confidence to succeed in their next phase. We understand that resilience, grit, and endurance to face any bumps in their future are elements that are equally important. How do we do it? Caring adults who know their students, with their heads and their hearts, surround each child so that their potential is unlocked.

What will your future 8th grader present at All-School Meeting? How will they embrace our quest to be fearless in their learning? Come find out how IDS prepares its students to create their future with confidence, curiosity and compassion.

Marijke Kehrhahn
Head of School
    • Marijke Kehrhahn

About Our Head of School

Marijke Kehrhahn has been an educator for over 40 years, with experience teaching pre-school, elementary school, and middle school students as well as at the undergraduate and graduate level.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, an MA in Special Education, and a PhD in Educational Leadership from UCONN, specializing in workplace learning and professional development. From 2004 to 2014, Marijke served as the Director of Teacher Education at the University of Connecticut and as the Associate Dean of the Neag School of Education at UCONN, leading faculty and staff in the development and execution of nationally recognized programs in teacher education. As an Associate Professor, she served as the director of grant-funded projects from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focused on the innovative use of technology in K-12 education and the Carnegie Corporation of New York to establish 21st century innovations in teacher preparation. Much of Marijke’s work has focused on the growth and development of teachers throughout their careers.
In addition to her education career, Marijke has served on several boards of directors, including the Governing Council of the National Network for Educational Renewal, Board of Trustees of Klingberg Family Centers, the Board of Directors of the Center for Responsive Schools (home of Responsive Classroom), and the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. She served on the Connecticut Legislature’s Educator Preparation Advisory Council and on the Practices Committee of the Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology. She was the Director of Volunteer Services for the 1995 Special Olympics World Games held in New Haven, CT and the Director of Staff Development for the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services.  One of her proudest accomplishments was being part of the team that closed the Mansfield Training School in 1993 and built community support systems across the state of Connecticut so that people with intellectual disabilities could life full lives in the community.

As a leader, Marijke has considerable experience with strategic planning, financial management, evaluation and assessment, public relations, strategic partnerships and constituency building, organizational management, board relations, and alumni relations.  She is known as a compassionate, approachable leader who values responsiveness, accountability, and professionalism.