Helen L. Marlette, Buffalo Seminary’s head of school for seven years, has announced her plan to retire in June 2024.
“During her tenure as head of school, Helen led our community with remarkable vision, expertise and humanity. She cultivated a passionate, dedicated and generous faculty that she proudly identifies as the finest group of educators with whom she ever worked,” said Kate Bowen Smith ’92, chair of the board of trustees.
Bowen Smith added, “Helen led the school extraordinarily well through the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic, while carefully balancing health and safety with Sem’s extremely high standards of education. Because of her leadership, Sem was among the very first schools able to return to classes, accommodating, supporting and inspiring students around the world. Her legacy includes a greater focus on personalization and flexibility, allowing students to pursue their interests both in and out of the classroom.”
A press release stated, “Founded in 1851, Buffalo Seminary (Sem) is one of the oldest independent schools for girls in the U.S. A day and boarding school for grades nine through 12, plus a post-graduate option, Sem is a true global community with students from more than 12 countries living and studying on its Buffalo campus. The school's mission – to prepare a diverse group of young women to be engaged scholars and citizens, proud to shape society rather than be controlled by it, and ready to live and lead with honor, courage, and confidence – is at the center of a Sem experience.”
Bowen Smith said, “With Helen’s announcement today, we embark on a careful and thoughtful search for Buffalo Seminary’s next leader, who will take the school into its 175th year. This is an exciting time in our school’s history, and we look forward to celebrating Helen’s legacy and extraordinary leadership as well as the school’s promising future.”
Marlette joined Sem’s faculty in 2007, initially serving as dean of students, director of athletics, and field hockey coach. In 2011, she became responsible for the school’s external relations, including admissions and development. Marlette was appointed assistant head of school in 2014 and head of school in 2016.
“To step away from Sem in 18 months is a difficult decision, because I love my work and this school,” Marlette said. “My 16 years have been memorable because of the people with whom I have had the privilege of working. The trustees, students, faculty, staff, parents and graduates are all devoted to the school, and to each other. I am energized to spend my remaining time paving the way for the next head of school who will join the Sem community as we prepare to celebrate 175 years of educating young women to live and lead with honor, confidence and courage.
Marlette is an alumni interviewer for Middlebury College, a member of Leadership Buffalo Class of 1992, and served as a member of the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo. She currently serves on the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) board of trustees, Elmwood Franklin board of trustees, and the advisory board for 716 Squash.
Buffalo Seminary’s board of trustees retained Storbeck Search, a nationally recognized firm specializing in the recruitment of heads of schools and leaders of undergraduate institutions.
Buffalo Seminary is located at 205 Bidwell Parkway in Buffalo. Visit www.buffaloseminary.com.