By Corinne Furey
Special to The Dialog
New Ursuline president Trisha Medeiros excited about 21st-century learning, return to Delaware
Trisha Medeiros took over as president at Ursuline Academy on July 1, succeeding Cathie Field Lloyd, who retired after 10 years. Medeiros comes to Ursuline from Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton, N.J., where she was head of the upper school for five years. Previously, she held a number of positions over a decade at Wilmington’s Tower Hill School, including assistant head of the upper school.
She and her husband, Norm, have two children, Ava, 12, and Mack, 9.
Medeiros has a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware. She met with Corinne Furey, a rising sophomore, in June. Their conversation, provided by the school, follows. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Tell us some things about yourself?
A: First of all, I want everyone to know how incredibly honored I am to serve as Ursuline’s next president. Becoming a part of this wonderful community is truly a blessing. I am passionate about the work I do. To me, this is not a job, but a way of life. It is how I serve. It is important to me that children and young adults know their value as learners, as leaders, as individuals, and as citizens of a greater community. What we do at Ursuline matters, and I am deeply committed to our mission.
Q: You started the Stuart Center for Girls’ Leadership in your previous role. How did this leadership program impact your students?
A: An extremely important part of leadership education is learning where your personal strengths lie. You learn this not only to understand where you might want to grow, but also to understand how you build a team around you. Understanding who you are and how you fit in the world around you are critical pieces of leadership for the future.
Q: How do you teach leadership to younger children?
A: Research demonstrates that it is critical for foundational leadership skills to be taught at a young age. You want to ensure that young children are exposed to a learning environment that encourages taking risks and being comfortable with failing and figuring out why, but most importantly building the resolve to try again. This creates confidence, which is critical to leadership and understanding your worth.
Q: The convent at Ursuline is being renovated into the Anthony N. Fusco Sr. Student Life Center. How important are facilities to education today?
A: Facilities are quite important. For example, traditional classrooms do not promote the kind of collaboration and innovation that we need today. What I have learned is that the Fusco Hall design … will provide an innovative community space. Amazing community spaces allow students from all parts of the academy to join together in celebration, prayer, collaboration and learning.
Q: What do you think differentiates Ursuline Academy from private and public schools?
A: I think the difference is the unique experience it provides. For example, roughly 20 percent of our population at Ursuline is not Catholic, but these families choose the Ursuline experience to be part of our community that combines academic rigor with strong values and is deeply dedicated to spirituality, service and tradition.
Q: This job brings you back to Delaware. What do you look forward to returning to the most?
A: We are very excited to return to Delaware. My husband and I bought our first house here, our children were born here, and I completed my doctoral work at the University of Delaware. We have lots of Delaware friends that we look forward to seeing soon.
Q: What excites you the most about taking on this role?
A: I am most excited about joining Ursuline at a time when the school is moving forward on things that are most important to me. Ursuline already has a strong academic program, but it has recently launched a new initiative that will enhance academics as well as infuse global education into all aspects of the curriculum, taking full advantage of the worldwide network of over 105 Ursuline schools. It’s in a unique position in the independent school community to fully execute this kind of 21st-century teaching.
Most of all, I want to listen, learn and be able to articulate a vision for the future of Ursuline, while honoring the past and most certainly the legacy of St. Angela.