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Academic Leadership

Jeff Mercer, Interim Head Of School

California native Jeff Mercer began his rich Chadwick School career in 1996 as a Middle and Upper School history teacher. He served as the Interim Head of the Middle School in 1997-98, as the Assistant Head of the Middle School from 1998 - 2000 and as the Upper School Dean of Students through the 2007-08 school year before being named Director of the Middle School in September 2008.

Mercer was appointed to the newly created position of Chadwick Assistant Head of School for the 2010-11 school year, serving as a liaison between Chadwick and Chadwick International schools, with a focus on developing the shared curriculum, educational philosophy and school culture of Chadwick’s two campuses. He next served for two years as the Head of School at Chadwick International (CI) in Songdo, South Korea, where he oversaw school operations, including the successful opening of CI’s Upper School and Outdoor Education Program. Mercer returned to Chadwick School as Director of the Middle School in 2013. Mercer was recently appointed as Chadwick's Interim Head of School. 

Throughout his tenure at Chadwick, Mercer has been actively involved in character education, working with the Upper School Student Council in 2002 to reintroduce an honor code on campus to align with and help advance our Core Values. He has also worked extensively on diversity initiatives, taught senior history electives, and coached baseball and girls basketball.

Mercer earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Master of Arts in teaching from Duke University. Along with his wife, Noelle, he is the parent of twin sons, Joshua and Dylan, who are currently eighth-grade students at Chadwick School.

Deborah Dowling, Assistant Head for Academic Affairs

Deborah Dowling, Ph.D., joined Chadwick School in August 2012 as the Assistant Head for Academic Affairs. She came from Bridges Academy in Los Angeles, where she was the Upper School Director for two years.

Prior to Bridges Academy, Deborah spent nine years at Harvard-Westlake School where she oversaw academic departments, curriculum, professional development, and faculty recruitment and evaluation. At Harvard-Westlake, she also taught AP Physics and served as the Middle School Science Department Chair.  

Deborah has taught International Baccalaureate Physics as well as a diverse range of subjects from music and English to outdoor education and information technology. She has developed curriculum for Los Angeles County, UCLA, Western Governors University and the Victorian State Board of Studies in Australia.

Originally from Australia, Deborah earned a B.S. with Honors in science, a second diploma in education, and a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. In addition, she holds a Certificate of Gifted Education from the University of New South Wales and an Associate of Music degree from the Australian Music Examinations Board. 

She pursues her passion for music by singing in Jouyssance, a Pasadena-based a cappella choir specializing in Renaissance music. Deborah and her husband, Dr. Andrew Howard, live in Mar Vista with their two “hairy” black dogs.

Mark Wiedenmann, Director of the Upper School

Mark Wiedenmann — affectionately known on campus as “Wieds” — joined Chadwick School in 1981 as a member of the history department. While continuing in that capacity, he became the Upper School Dean of Students in 1987 and the Upper School Director in 1992.

During his time at Chadwick, Mark created Chadwick’s community service program which, in 1988, was recognized by U.S. News & World Report and IBM as one of the six best community service programs in the country. Mark also created Chadwick’s Wellness Program, developed Chadwick’s teacher evaluation program and initiated Chadwick’s approach to curriculum design based on Grant Wiggin’s Understanding By Design

His tenure at Chadwick also includes coaching cross-country and teaching AP U.S. History, Democracy and Ancient Greece, History of India, Comparative Religion, and Philosophy of Religion. He is currently teaching an Upper School history class. Before coming to Chadwick, he taught at Thacher School in Ojai, California. 

Mark grew up in northeastern Ohio, attended Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of California at San Diego, a Master of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Master of Divinity at Yale Divinity School. Mark lives with his wife, Sue, and their son, Henry, who is currently a Chadwick fifth-grader.

CHARLTON JACKSON, Interim Director of the Middle School

Charlton Jackson ('88) has been with Chadwick 19 years, joining in 1999 as a math teacher. He was appointed Assistant Middle School Director in 2000 and has served continuously as part of the Middle School leadership team. He briefly served as Interim Middle School Director from 2010-2013, while Jeff Mercer was Interim Head of School at Chadwick International in South Korea. Jackson has taught a number of math courses at Chadwick from Algebra 1 through geometry, trigonometry and pre-calculus, and he coached boys varsity basketball for three seasons. Before joining Chadwick, he was a fifth-grade teacher at McKinley Elementary School in Long Beach. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in engineering sciences from Dartmouth College, and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from California State University, Long Beach. He lives in Cerritos with his wife, Joita, and he has two children, Charlton Jr. ('20), and Maya ('16), a Chadwick WOW and currently a junior in college. Jackson is from a family of educators — his father, two sisters and his wife are all teachers.

Dorothy Hutcheson, Interim Director of the Village School

Dorothy Hutcheson is the Interim Director of Chadwick’s Village School, effective July 1, 2018. Hutcheson will lead the Village’s 48 lead, associate and specialist teachers for the 2018-19 school year. Hutcheson brings to Chadwick more than 30 years of experience in a number of leadership roles in independent schools, including Head of School, Assistant Head of School, College Counselor and Dean of Students. For 20 years, Hutcheson was Head of School at Nightingale-Bamford School, a K-12 girls school in Manhattan. Hutcheson also was the founding Head of School of The Greene School, a pre-K through fourthgrade independent school in West Palm Beach, Fla., that opened in 2016. Currently, Hutcheson is a consultant and executive coach with The Education Group, providing counsel to schools on board governance and strategic planning. A highly regarded leader in independent education, Hutcheson has served on numerous educational boards, including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Klingenstein Center for Independent School Education at Teachers College and the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). Hutcheson holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York, a Master of Science in Education degree in school counseling from Duquesne University, and an A.B., magna cum laude, in religion and English from Duke University. She was born in Atlanta and will be relocating to Southern California. Hutcheson and her husband, Sam, have a 24-year-old daughter, Holly, who is currently pursuing her master’s degree in hydrology at the University of Georgia. In her spare time, Hutcheson enjoys reading contemporary novels, traveling, attending the ballet and theater, and snuggling with her two rescue labs, Taz and Tucker, and her rescue cat, Jack.

Bruce Poch, Dean of Admission and Executive Director of College Counseling

As Dean of Admission and Executive Director of College Counseling, Bruce oversees efforts in both offices. Over the course of his 35-year career, Bruce has cultivated invaluable skills and experience in roles such as Vice President and Dean of Admissions at Pomona College and Associate Dean of Admissions at Wesleyan University.

Bruce’s other professional affiliations include various positions serving on the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, the U.S. News and World Report College Advisory Board, as a former member of the College Board SAT Committee, a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Student Opportunity, a senior advisor to the Global Leadership Incubator and a member of the Board of Academic Advisors for QuestBridge. His writings have been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Bruce’s media appearances include The Today Show, NPR, and Bloomberg TV and Radio.

Senior Administrators

Katie David
Director of Human Resources

Alfonso Donofrio
Director of Planning and Construction

Mike Farzley
Interim Athletic Director

John Kjenner
Chief Financial Officer

Barbara Najar
Executive Director of Marketing and Communications

Bob Rule
Director of Risk Management and Transportation

Ricco Siasoco
Director of Equity and Inclusion

Kerry Toolan
Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations

CHADWICK LEADERSHIP