July 15, 2020

Dear Madeira Alumnae, Parents, and Friends,  

I am thrilled to be on campus and begin my tenure as Madeira’s 10th Head of School. The campus is busy with our facilities staff preparing for school to start at the end of August. I am enjoying meeting board members and each of the faculty and staff in virtual meetings, and getting to know Madeira through their eyes. My husband and I have enjoyed exploring the rocky outcrops around Black Pond and savoring the beauty and nature of Madeira's campus. 

Every student in the world is facing a “new normal” this fall, and I am proud to share with you Madeira's future-facing approach to our students’ skill, content, and social-emotional education. 

We are eager and excited to welcome students back to campus - both in person and from a distance - for Fall 2020. We have developed a comprehensive plan and in doing so we have challenged ourselves to bring the community back together, reinforce the School’s mission and values, and deliver a vibrant, forward-looking program. 

Last spring, Madeira’s faculty pivoted in nimble and strategic ways to provide quality academic programming for students. Since then and throughout the summer, they have holistically reflected and refined their approach. The educational leaders at Madeira have used research and data to inform next steps for the academic program. When students return in the fall, they will be greeted by teachers who have planned and designed an exceptional hybrid learning plan. Because we are headed into an unconventional academic year, I thought it important to let you know what our students have to look forward to. 


Madeira's reopening plan is rooted in the School’s mission and vision with key values at the fore.

  • Madeira’s Vision: to lead innovation in girls’ education. There are four research-based trends that are shaping innovation in schools today – each of which is addressed in Madeira’s return to learning plan.  

                  1. Thinking strategically about what graduates should know and be able to do 
                   2. Learning actively in the physical and digital world
                   3. Demonstrating mastery and competencies
                   4. Integrating supports to boost learner success


  • Madeira’s Mission: to launch women who change the world. Along with the trends that are shaping education at every level, we know that in order to launch graduates who are indeed positioned to change the world, it is ever more critical that they be practiced and skillful listeners, problem identifiers, problem solvers, and culturally responsive community members.  

  • Madeira’s Educational Philosophy. The School’s educational philosophy guided the faculty as they planned for this new academic year. “Learning is active and experiential, joyful, and personal. Learning results from an intentionally designed, innovative, developmental, rigorous, and girl-centered curriculum, which builds critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Learning's purpose is not only for students to obtain the skills needed to thrive at college, but also for students to understand themselves in relation to others, to be informed about their changing world, and to participate actively and confidently in life through leadership and service.”  

  • Student and teacher health and well-being. We are using the latest research and guidelines, as communicated by the CDCVirginia Department of Education, and Fairfax County Department of Public Health to prioritize the health and well-being of students and staff, mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and maintain healthy environments for learning and living at Madeira. The School is structuring learning opportunities that accommodate both in-person and distance learning.  

  • Community and relationships. We are maximizing opportunities for social and emotional growth through safe and intentional small group social connection and extracurriculars. Additionally, we are partnering with our students and student leaders to navigate the new year. It is important that students know they will have agency and choice as we work together to build community and connection. 

If you would like to know more, our comprehensive plan for reopening is outlined in detail throughout this web portal. I look forward to getting to know you and sharing more about the programs, possibilities, and bright future at the School. 


Sincerely yours, 






Gretchen Warner 
Head of School

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