Kathleen McNary Pillsbury

Kathleen Pillsbury

Kathleen McNary Pillsbury

Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life



B.S., University of Connecticut
M.S.Ed., University of Pennsylvania

Kathleen is a career educator who comes to Walker’s from the Hotchkiss School where she has served as director of student activities, human development instructor, dorm head and as a member of the School’s senior leadership team. Prior to this, Kathleen was at the Dalton School where she was the assistant high school director for student activities, serving as dean of students, senior class academic dean and classroom teacher. Kathleen holds a Master’s in Education in School Leadership with a concentration in Independent School Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from the University of Connecticut.

Throughout her career, Kathleen has organized and supervised co-curricular activities, overseen orientation, coordinated student diversity conferences, and managed day-to-day student life. In addition to her administrative and classroom duties, Kathleen has been a softball and lacrosse coach.

What was it about The Ethel Walker School that made you want to work here?

The community: we are united by our commitment to inclusion, personal achievement, spirit and camaraderie!

Who is your biggest female role model? Why?

Michelle Obama, I admire her leadership and tenacity. She unapologetically lives as her authentic self no matter her audience, hoping to spark a light in someone else.

What was your favorite subject when you were in middle or high school? Why?

Biology, I love ecology and the environment!

What is your favorite part of the subject you teach now?

I teach in our Senior Seminar course topics that pertain to decision making, college readiness and adolescent development. I enjoy working with our oldest students as they work through strategies and practice decision making for life on a college campus.

Why did you want to go into teaching?

I started my career teaching Biology and Chemistry then moved to administration while teaching Health, Leadership and Human Development. I always knew I loved science and once I started teaching it I realized I did not love the academic content as much as I loved working with students outside the classroom!

What is your favorite Walker’s tradition?

My favorite Walker’s tradition is the Holiday Ride! I love gathering together late at night for the suspense and surprise of seeing our talented students on horses and all of the lights and choreographed routines, it kicks off winter break in a uniquely Walker’s way!

If you were to give advice to an incoming Walker’s student, what would it be?

Get involved right away! The number of opportunities you can pursue at Walker’s is endless, dive in and try it all. You will quickly meet new friends and figure out where you want to prioritize your interests and time.

What advice would you give to a graduation Walker’s senior?

Continue to walk the Walker’s walk: be kind, caring and supportive to everyone you meet, lead with confidence, assert yourself and use your voice, own your decisions and take responsibility for your actions. Above all else, know that you can always come home to Walker’s.

Please list any awards, fellowships, or distinctions you have earned during your career:
  • National Association of Independent Schools Aspiring Heads of School Fellowship Program, Class of 2019.