Claire Cassady Vaughn ’07 was named Head of School in October, after serving as an interim head for Advent Episcopal School in Birmingham, Ala.
Vaughn is the sixth head of school in Advent’s 71-year history and the first of the school’s alumni to return as its leader. Advent enrolls children in junior Pre-K through eighth grade. “I am really excited, and I think there is a tremendous opportunity for Advent and for independent schools ahead – in what we teach, how we teach, and in examining what our role is for children and in educating children,” said Vaughn. “I’m in a position to create a vision and a road map and empower the people in our school to bring that to fruition.”
Vaughn was a “first” at Baylor as well, entering the school in the fall of 2003 as a ninth grader in the first cohort of the then-new “Distinguished Scholars” merit scholarship program for boarding students, which has since been renamed the Cartter Scholars Program.
Arriving at Baylor as a 14-year-old boarding student, Vaughn said she learned how to take the academic confidence she gained in the classroom and apply it to social settings. By the time she graduated, she had served as head prefect for Lowrance, vice chair of the Honor Council, football manager for four years, and was selected by vote of the faculty for the Jim Pearce ’66 Leadership Trip (now the Joe Key Leadership Trip). “I arrived in an intellectual bubble, and Baylor encouraged me in a safe way to take risks and build my confidence outside of the classroom. It was a testament to what being in the right school can do for a child. I believe when you are looking at a school you are not necessarily looking for fit, you are looking for a sense of belonging.”
Prior to being named the interim head at Advent, Vaughn served as assistant head of school for advancement and director of advancement. Before that, she was the director of admission and financial aid at Indian Springs School in Birmingham and was the assistant director of admission and financial aid for three years at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
Vaughn says she has benefited from the different perspectives she has gained from living in Chattanooga as a boarding student and her professional school experiences in Raleigh and Birmingham. “Having these different perspectives has put me in a position to affect meaningful and intentional change that is rooted in a deep understanding of what the school has been and where we want to go.”