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Dr. Tanya Hyatt Named Assistant Head of School at Foxcroft School

Dr. Tanya Hyatt, Assistant Head of School for Foxcroft School. Photo Courtesy of Foxcroft School.

MIDDLEBURG, VA — Dr. Tanya Hyatt has been named Assistant Head of School at Foxcroft School, effective July 1, 2022. Dr. Hyatt, who has a wealth of boarding school administrative and teaching experience, comes to Foxcroft from Indian Springs School outside of Birmingham, AL, a day and boarding school for grades 8-12, where she was Dean of Faculty. 

“I am thrilled to be at Foxcroft,” shared Dr. Hyatt. “As a scientist, I have always worked to increase girls’ engagement in STEM classes and careers and am excited to be at a school committed to empowering young women to reach their full potential and gain confidence in their abilities. The way Foxcroft nurtures every girl to find her passion(s), her voice, and her authentic self are what drew me here, and I look forward to working with each student to find the right learning path for them.”

As Dean of Faculty at Indian Springs, Dr. Hyatt led all aspects of hiring, mentoring new faculty, and planning faculty meetings and professional development, among other responsibilities. Under her leadership, Indian Springs revised the hiring process to work to eliminate bias and increase faculty of color. She also worked to implement a new annual faculty evaluation using Folio Collaborative. Prior to serving as Dean of Faculty, she was the School’s Dean of Academics, working to strengthen course offerings, improve the academic schedule, integrate study skills into the curriculum, and increase classroom technology use. The faculty, administrators, and Board of Trustees at Indian Springs held her in such esteem that she was appointed Acting Head of School for four months in 2019 when the Head left unexpectedly before the end of the academic year. 

“While Dr. Hyatt is uniquely qualified for the Assistant Head of School position,” confirmed Foxcroft Head of School Cathy McGehee, “it was her warm spirit, calm presence, listening skills, and philosophy of educating the whole child that stood out during her meetings with our faculty, administrators, parents, and students. She impressed the search committee with her ‘all-in’ commitment to teaching and living at a boarding school.”

Dr. Hyatt earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and a Ph.D. in Nutrition Science from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. She has published research on nutrition, some specifically related to women, and has also earned her paramedic license and national certification. While at Indian Springs, Dr. Hyatt held several positions, including Science Department Chair, Dorm Faculty, Administrator on Duty, and faculty liaison to the judiciary committee of the Student Government. She also taught a range of STEM courses, including AP Biology and AP Environmental Science, molecular genetics, research methods, human anatomy, and nutrition.  

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About Foxcroft School

Founded in 1914, Foxcroft School is a college-preparatory boarding and day school for girls in grades 9-12 and PG with a mission of helping every girl explore her unique voice and develop the skills, confidence, and courage to share it with the world. Foxcroft offers 72-76 courses, including 16+ AP classes and 5+ post-AP offerings, and a STEM program that inspires girls to pursue studies in fields where women are underrepresented. Foxcroft fields athletic teams in 11 sports and has a nationally known riding program. For more information about the School, please explore our website at www.foxcroft.org or call 540.687.5555.

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Foxcroft Senior Runs Fast Just For Fun

by Leonard Shapiro

Memo to the track and cross country coaches at the University of Virginia:

It might be wise to contact 17-year-old Middleburg resident Charlotte Scharfenberg, a Foxcroft senior who will attend UVA in the fall. Though she’s never had any formal training as a long-distance runner, she recently joined 16 of her classmates in the annual Cherry Blossom 10-mile run in Washington.

Not long after she reached the finish at the Washington Monument, she learned she’d placed second in the women’s 19-under classification in a race that included 22,000 runners, about 250 in her division. She never saw the 19-under champion, Jane Haines of Hilliard, Ohio, timed in 1:09.57 (one hour, nine minutes and 57 seconds). Scharfenberg ran 1:13.41, less than four minutes behind.

“I was just excited to cross the finish line,” said Scharfenberg, who had never gone that far before. “My mom was there and we watched the other Foxcroft girls come in. Then I called my dad. He looked up the results on the computer and saw I finished second.”

Scharfenberg started running to stay fit when she arrived at Foxcroft four years ago. She also rides year-round and plays defense on the field hockey team in the fall, and that season coincides with cross country. Competing in all three sports and maintaining the quality grades it took to get into Virginia likely would have been a stretch.

“Running has always been something I did for fun,”  Scharfenberg said, adding that she tries to go out four or five times a week, usually between 45 minutes and an hour. There are countless trails on Foxcroft’s 500-acre campus and she often runs alone “because it helps clear my head.” She’ll also occasionally go out with friends in an informal school spring running club. She covers 5 1/2 miles over 45 minutes, and once a week she’ll go a little longer and do a seven-mile run, usually at a 7-minute, 20-second clip per mile.

This past fall, Scharfenberg entered and won Middleburg’s Cherry Blossom five-kilometer run (3.1 miles), beating everyone, male and female. It was her only other formal race before the 10-miler last month. Foxcroft Cross Country Coach Matt Mohler had no idea she was that fast until she won that day, but purposely did not try to talk her into quitting field hockey to join his team.

 He was thrilled, however, when she ran with the club and knew she had plenty of talent to do well in the 10-miler.

     “I told her ‘I think you’ve got what it takes,’” Mohler said. “‘But I don’t want you to just jog. Go into it thinking you can win a trophy.’ She said ‘okay, I’ll try.’ And the rest is history.”  

Scharfenberg said she entered the 10-miler “on a whim. I signed up over the winter and the race was in April. Mr. Mohler organizes it and runs in it, too. I’d never done 10 miles before and I was just excited to do it.”

The Foxcroft girls left campus at 5 a.m., drove to the Vienna Metro station and took the train into Washington. Conditions at the 7:30 a.m. start were challenging—temperatures in the 30s and a stiff breeze—but Scharfenberg said she hardly noticed.

“The whole thing was so cool,” she said. “There were so many people, and so much energy. My goal was to run the whole thing and feel like I pushed myself. I wasn’t thinking competitively at all.”

All 17 Foxcroft girls started together, not far from the front. Over the first mile, Scharfenberg stayed with a few classmates until “I just decided I wanted to break off. If they went with me, fine. We did the first mile in about eight minutes, and then I pushed out. There weren’t a lot of mile markers because the wind pretty much blew them away.”

Scharfenberg has an App on her cell phone that gives her the distance and pace and she tried to maintain that 7:20 per mile level. She was comfortable the whole way, even on “a bit of a hill up to the finish,” she said. “I tried to push it a little at the end, and I felt great. I had the runner’s high. It was just so much fun to be there.”

Scharfenberg honestly hasn’t thought much about joining the Virginia track or cross country teams. Her next goal: entering, and finishing, a marathon (26.2 miles). Mohler believes she could excel at those distances, as well.

“I’m sure I’ll keep running at UVA,” she said, adding that it would not necessarily mean trying out for a Division I team. “I just enjoy doing it.”  

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