Adrianne Finley Odell began her tenure as Roycemore’s 12th Head of School in July 2017. Adrianne moved to Evanston, Illinois from St. Petersburg, Florida where she served as the Assistant Head of School of Shorecrest Preparatory School, a PK-12th grade independent school with 1,000 students. Her move marked a return to the Midwest as she grew up in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio and attended The Ohio State University, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies with a minor in Economics. She began her working career in Hawaii after obtaining her Masters degree from The University of Hawaii at Manoa in Political Science.
Deeply grateful for the formal foundation that she gained through these institutions, she leveraged her education to pursue a variety of opportunities. Her first professional position was working for the state of Hawaii as an economic development specialist at a unique facility on the Big Island of Hawaii—The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii, which she parlayed into nonprofit work. A few years later she was hired as one of the original employees of the USS Missouri Memorial Association that worked with the U.S. Navy relocate the Battleship Missouri to Pearl Harbor and turn it into a memorial-museum. She is proud to have been a part of the small team of dedicated individuals who launched a nationwide capital campaign to restore the USS Missouri, that today is one of the top tourist attractions in Hawaii. After successfully leading the first phase of the campaign, Adrianne relocated to Washington, D.C. to serve as the Vice President for Development of The Worldwatch Institute, a global think-tank that focuses on environmental sustainability. It was while she was at Worldwatch that she enrolled her daughter for kindergarten at an independent school in southern Maryland, The Calverton School. Before her daughter even started kindergarten, she received a call from the Head of School who convinced her to come work for the school. That decision was a pinnacle one for her as she fell in love with the field of education and the joy of seeing mission in action every day in the eyes of children. Soon realizing that this was her “calling,” she took on every opportunity she could to learn about the work of schools. She participated in the NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring Heads and accepted a variety of leadership roles at the school. Her move to Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg provided many opportunities to continue to learn and grow. While there, she participated in a variety of professional development opportunities including one at The Harvard Graduate School of Education. Over the course of many years, she learned everything about independent school leadership that prepared her to become Roycemore’s Head of School.
When she isn’t at Roycemore, Adrianne enjoys taking in all of the great things that Evanston and Chicago have to offer. You might see her jogging or biking around the town and waterfront of Evanston. She also enjoys dining out, and attending theater and sporting events with her husband, Rich. Adrianne and Rich have four children between them, the youngest daughter recently graduated from Vassar College, a son who lives in Los Angeles, a daughter who lives in Lausanne, Switzerland with her husband, and a son who lives in England. Adrianne and Rich enjoy spending time in Traverse City, Michigan when they can, a town where their family come to gather for special occasions, and where Rich lived earlier in his career as President of Interlochen School for the Arts.
I was a high school Rotary Exchange student and lived in South Africa for a year. It was an historic time when Nelson Mandela was still imprisoned on Robbin Island and the country was holding on to apartheid by its fingernails. The experience was so impactful that I majored in International Studies as an undergraduate, including taking courses in African American studies and participating in the Model Organization of African Unity (OAU) at Howard University. The desire to learn more about the world, inspired me to take a year off while in college. I worked while in school to save up money to travel and worked my way around Australia and New Zealand. They didn’t call them “gap years” back then, but that’s what these two experiences really were.
Roycemore is an inspiring school where students can be comfortable being their true selves and are valued as individuals. As a PK-12th grade school there is a very special community culture that one can feel when one steps on campus. And the teachers care so deeply about each student’s success. They go above and beyond to help them reach their full potential. Both the students and teachers inspire me every day to work harder to support them to create a space where they can thrive.