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‘A school on the rise’: New deputy head of school at Springdale looks to increase enrollment

Springdale Preparatory School in New Windsor has welcomed a new deputy head of school.

Gerald Boarman, a Prince George’s County native, joins the school with experience growing enrollment. It’s his goal to do the same at Springdale.

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“I’m looking forward to a bright future for us,” said Boarman, who joined the school’s staff on June 30.

Boarman said he’s interested recruiting and educating in a broad diversity of students when it comes to race, religion and socio-economic status.

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“I think our niche is we’re a little bit of everything,” he said.

Gerald Boarman, Head of School at Springdale Preparatory School is pictured Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
Gerald Boarman, Head of School at Springdale Preparatory School is pictured Tuesday, July 6, 2021. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

Springdale Preparatory School is a private, coeducational, day and boarding school educating about 70 students from around the state, U.S. and world. It that opened in August 2017 and has an international baccalaureate curriculum.

The school will officially be accredited by the end of the summer. Lorraine Fulton, the former deputy head of school, was the person who led the accreditation charge before she retired at the beginning of the month. The school hired Boarman to take her place.

He received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Maryland, College Park and was later drafted in the U.S. Army, though his intent was to go to law school. When he returned to civilian life, his old professor told him Fairmont Heights High School in Landover was looking for a professor. At the time, in 1972, schools were segregated and Fairmont was a Black school. Boarman, who is white, was hired.

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He called the experience transformative because he had to teach multiple subjects and he was the minority. Even still, he said he fell in love with the kids and the school, where he taught for six years.

He later became an administrator at his alma mater, Northwestern High School in Hyattsville.

“The same teachers I had, I’m now their quasi supervisor,” he said.

He transferred to a couple more schools in the system as an assistant principal until he became the principal Oxon Hill Middle School and later the principal of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt. During his 11 years there, he said they were named a National Blue Ribbon School twice. Boarman said it was interesting because the school had a complete switch in demographics between the time he started and the time he left.

In 1989, 72% of the students were white. Around that time was when the school received its first Blue Ribbon. The year Boarman left, 2000, 72% of the 3,400 students were Black. And around that time is when the school was given a second Blue Ribbon.

“The color of children’s skin didn’t have anything to do with success,” he said.

The next step for Boarman was becoming chancellor of North Carolina School of Sciences and Mathematics, a constituent school of the University of North Carolina. The school had 700 juniors and seniors and, like Springdale, on-campus living for students.

He said he stayed there 10 years before taking a job at the Bullis School in Potomac. It was the first time he worked at a private school and he wasn’t sure at first if he wanted to. However, he said the school was looking to be a “melting pot of America.” And he worked to broaden the range of students who’d attend.

He said he recruited a lot of students from Prince George’s County, he increased the enrollment of minorities, increased financial aid and made sure their bus fleet ran all throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

A Washington Post article reported that before Boarman left Bullis, he faced accusations of improper spending school funds and conflict of interest. However, Boarman disputed those accusations then and now. He told the Times the board of trustees at Bullis never found any improprieties and added there was “no wrongdoing whatsoever.”

Boarman said his plans for Springdale are similar with the success he had at Bullis.

He said he talked to parents about the school who said Springdale transformed their children. And parents did not feel like they had a voice at the school.

“I felt that I could assist them in some way,” Boarman said.

“Dr. Boarman is a great leader,” Ashley Yuan, president of Springdale Preparatory, said. “He has proven himself several times as a head of school, leading a school to the next level. That’s exactly what we’re looking for.”

She said she wants to see Springdale as a top tier private school in the future, which is something she said Boarman is committed to as well.

“He is sharp, knows what to do and he handles conflict very well,” she added. “I’m just really impressed with his capabilities.”

Boarman said he has plans to launch a few programs to the school. An equestrian program is expected to start the upcoming school year, a track and field team is planned for the following year, and Boarman said he wants to hire someone to assist bright exceptional students who may have a disability like attention deficit disorder.

He said he also wants to renovate the dorms, develop a five year strategic plan that features input from the community and recruit in places like Mount Airy and Montgomery County.

“It’s going to be a school on the rise,” he said.

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