Monica Ripley 

Visual Arts Department Head

Annie McGarry poses for her headshot during the "Annual Head Tour Guide Photoshoot" outside the Chapel on Sep. 13, 2021. (Photo by Nicholas Pfosi)

How long have you worked at Concord Academy?

This is my ninth year in the Visual Art Department. 

What other areas of involvement at CA do you have?

I’m a house faculty member, student advisor, Ceramics Club advisor, and the current Head of the Visual Art Department.

What is the best part about working and teaching at CA?

Overall the best part is the relational aspect of our school. We work very hard to center the student and build relationships that foster the growth necessary to propel students forward. It is very rewarding to both participate in and witness in others.

How is teaching at CA different from teaching at other schools? 

I have taught at Harvard and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. At CA, I have had the opportunity to direct my energy to teenagers, one of my favorite groups of people to teach. They are natural risk-takers and adventurers. They are willing to try new things and explore ideas and concepts without many reservations. It is rejuvenating.

What is your favorite CA tradition?

Chapel. Starting the day with a reminder that each of us holds a valid, beautiful story worth telling and, at the same time, that each of us is worth receiving this gift. I cherish this time and have enjoyed Chapel as part of my morning routine.

As a house faculty, what do you enjoy about being in a house with students?

In a nutshell, the energy and camaraderie. I enjoy how the Head of House creates an environment of support and belonging for the students. This is not done alone but rather a process scaffolded by and in collaboration with the adults. And yet I like to watch how the Head of House does their part resulting in a positive experience for the students in the house.

How would you describe your students? What makes them special?

The students are curious and insightful. They are not afraid of studying hard and wrestling through the material to discover the answer. 

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a former archaeologist.