Kalimah Fergus Ayele joins the Winch team as the second Head for our NYC campus for the ’23-24 school year. Kalimah is no stranger to Winchendon as her child Tsidale attended on both our original Brooklyn campus and then the new Herald Square location.
In addition to leading the NYC campus, Kalimah will also serve as an Assistant Head of School for the School’s combined operations including the main campus in Winchendon, MA. Ms. Fergus-Ayele will be based on the NYC campus located in Herald Square.
A native New Yorker, Kalimah began her teaching career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, East Africa and she has also taught in South Africa, Lesotho and Egypt as well as here at home in New York City. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at Stanford University, Master of Arts in Secondary Science education at Teachers College Columbia University, Master of Science in School Administration from the College of Saint Rose, and Ed.M in Organizational Leadership through the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College Columbia University.
Most recently, Kalimah has served high school students as an upper school grade dean and chemistry teacher at The Spence School (NYC). At Spence, she worked closely with students, faculty, and parents to strengthen the overall learning experience in areas such as advising, service learning, STEM education, and student leadership. In addition to her work at Spence, Ms. Fergus Ayele has also been a member of the Board of Directors for Our World Neighborhood Charter Schools (NYC) and has participated in both regional and national associations including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
At the time of her appointment, Kalimah said “I am thrilled to join the Winch team and to bring my passion for supporting the holistic development of youth and designing for belonging both inside and outside of the classroom.” Kalimah’s vision for The Winchendon School NYC includes an emphasis on academic excellence and community engagement by engaging with students, teachers and parents to further the integration of design thinking and equity mindsets to deepen their practice of leveraging NYC as their learning lab for deepening their academic and social development. Her commitment to fostering an inclusive, student-centered learning environment aligns seamlessly with The Winchendon School’s values and its purpose of inspiring every student to achieve their full potential.
And when not traveling or enjoying great meals, Kalimah is often reading. At the top of this summer’s reading list? She has been enjoying Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass.