Meet Our Head of School

Commonwealth School welcomed Jennifer Borman ’81 as our sixth (and first alumna!) Head of School in 2021. Ever since, she has been rediscovering the Commonwealth community that so electrified her as a student more than forty years ago.

Get to Know Jennifer


I feel about being a head of school a lot of what I felt as a teacher, which is it's endlessly creative. It's endlessly relational. You empower other people to do things they didn't know they could do and grow in ways they might not have known they could grow. And I find that exhilarating.

Jennifer Borman '81
Head of School



What does a Dean of Students do at Commonwealth, exactly? The title conjures a university administrator overseeing a network of offices devoted to student mental health services, extracurricular opportunities, family supports, social outlets, and more. In many ways, Josh Eagle’s work as our Dean of Students is no less extensive or nuanced.


Mónica Schilder’s childhood in Peru deeply informs her role as a Spanish teacher and Co-director of Dive In Commonwealth, growing it into an ever-more robust pathway for historically marginalized students while bringing her long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion to bear. Keep reading as Mónica and Head of School Jennifer Borman ’81 discuss Dive In, our language program, and more.

Jennifer Borman and Rebecca Jackman stand outside of Jennifer's office, facing the camera and smiling. In between them is the open door to the office.

Jennifer Borman '81 and Rebecca Jackman don't do small talk—they're constantly conversing about how to balance long-term planning with day-to-day classroom management, the art of finding extraordinary teachers, and what it means to be a young adult today. Listen in on some of their ongoing discussions...


Career Highlights

Upon graduating from Commonwealth School in 1981, Jennifer attended Brown University and graduated with a B.A. in English. Subsequently, she completed extensive studies in the doctoral program for Teacher Education and Education Policy at the College of Education at Michigan State University. She then returned to Brown to work for the Education Alliance, an organization that partnered with schools and state education agencies that were working to make their instructional practices more equitable to students from all backgrounds. There, she spent ten years researching and evaluating programs that included adolescent literacy, teacher learning, and educational technology. 

Jennifer returns to Commonwealth after spending fourteen years as Head of School at School One in Providence, Rhode Island, a small, diverse, and progressive independent high school, with a mission that includes a focus on creativity, a collaborative culture, and an appreciation of difference. 

She has been a recipient of a Fulbright Hays Fellowship to live and study in China, as well as a Klingenstein Fellowship for independent school heads at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has recently served as a grant reviewer for the Women's Fund of Rhode Island.


Can you spot Jennifer in her Class of 1981 Commonwealth School yearbook picture? (Hint: she’s in the front row!)