A New Assistant Head but a Familiar Face


Olivia Dillon '21

New Assistant Head Mrs. Harlan.

Megan Harlan is already well-known as the Director of College Counseling, but students will soon see her tackling yet another crucial role as the Assistant Head of External Affairs.

As Assistant Head, Mrs. Harlan will now help represent the school and oversee its external programs, such as the semester school opportunities, Groton Parent Programming, the Groton Women’s Network (GWN), and the World Leading Schools Association (WLSA). On campus, Mrs. Harlan will also work with Director of Athletics Robert Low to manage girls’ sports while Associate Head of School Andy Anderson will supervise boys’ sports. While she will still be based in the College Counseling Office (CCO), Mrs. Harlan will work extensively with Headmaster Temba Maqubela and Mr. Anderson in the Headmaster’s Office.

Although Mrs. Harlan’s new title has changed her job description extensively, Mr. Anderson’s switch to Associate Head does not affect the responsibilities he formerly held as Assistant Head of School. In fact, his job description remains the same: organizing faculty meetings, managing the hiring process, and overseeing the Health Center and Athletic Department. In looking towards the future, Mr. Anderson is enthusiastic about working with Mrs. Harlan: “I would say Mr. Maqubela made a great choice. I enjoy working with her.”

Mrs. Harlan is equally hopeful and excited to continue her work as the Assistant Head for External Affairs and Director of College Counseling: “I’m just looking forward to the new opportunity and… I hope to work in a very supportive, productive, positive manner.”

Unlike Mr. Anderson’s initial administrative appointment a few years ago, which was decided between Mr. Maqubela and a faculty search committee, Mrs. Harlan’s appointment was decisively Mr. Maqubela’s. Mr. Maqubela decided to introduce her role because he is deeply invested in many of Groton’s external programs, but finds he does not have enough time to give them all the attention they deserve. Mr. Maqubela also stressed that his first duty to Groton School is as a teacher, saying “I’d like to spend more time [teaching] on campus.”

As Assistant Head, Mrs. Harlan will be able to dedicate more time to these important networks, which will simultaneously allow Mr. Maqubela to spend more time on the Circle. Mr. Maqubela cited an upcoming WLSA meeting in London as the perfect example. While Mr. Maqubela is greatly supportive of the WLSA and sits on its Executive Board, he sometimes feels that he cannot go to a meeting if it “takes [him] away from students.” Now, as Assistant Head and co-chair for the next WLSA summer conference, Mrs. Harlan will travel to London instead. While there, she will also host a GWN gathering.

Mr. Maqubela also recognized the valuable new perspective Mrs. Harlan brings to the central administration, especially towards the Athletic Department. He believes that Mrs. Harlan’s new role in athletics will “make sure that girls’ sports get the same attention as boys’ sports.”

Echoing Mr. Maqubela’s sentiments, Mrs. Harlan said, “Part of [my new position] is to look at gender equity within the school and to provide a different perspective. It’s like being a second set of eyes and what I hope to be [is] a positive role model for female athletes and support for female coaches.” She added that she is eager to be involved, especially because she was a two-sport varsity athlete and the college lacrosse and field hockey coach at Villanova University and Middlebury College, respectively.

Mr. Maqubela appointed Mrs. Harlan as his Assistant Head last spring, and she assumed the role in addition to her CCO duties starting July 1st of this year. “I think I can do [both jobs] because I have such outstanding support from my college counseling counterparts,” she said.

Mr. Maqubela added, “I’m very happy with my decision. I hope the community will support her.”

As students are learning of Mrs. Harlan’s new position, many are responding positively to the change. Eliza Lord ’19 said, “I think it is great that we have a female in a place of authority again. After Mrs. Bradley left it felt like Groton was missing an authoritative female” (Katherine Bradley was the Assistant Head of School prior to Mr. Anderson). Similarly, Bennett Smith ’19 called Mrs. Harlan “the perfect person for the job” and said, “It’s nice to see her recognized for all the hard work that she does for us students.”