Meet the Head of School

D. Scott Looney joined Hawken School as its 10th head of school in July 2006. Since that time, he has enlivened the campus and inspired the community with the launching of the school’s Readiness Initiative and the development of Hawken’s urban extension campus in University Circle, which places students at the epicenter of the one of the nation's most educationally and culturally rich areas.
It is a move that no suburban independent school has attempted before, and it is central to the school’s mission of “forward-focused preparation” and its promise to prepare students to “navigate a complex and dynamic world with self-confidence and determination; embrace challenges with disciplined analysis and creativity, and engage others with empathy and integrity.”
Scott represents an influential voice in the national independent school arena. He serves as a trustee and executive committee member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Other professional affiliations include current faculty member at the NAIS Institute for New Heads and the NAIS Financing Institute, and former Executive Director of The Midwest Boarding Schools Association. Pat Bassett, former president of NAIS, offers Scott this glowing endorsement: "If independent schools are truly to be 'built to last,' they will have to have leaders who inspire, reassure, and create. No one does those three things better than Scott.”
Prior to coming to Cleveland, Scott served as Assistant Director of Schools at Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a K-12 coeducational day and boarding school with over 1600 students, 280 faculty/staff, and five campuses. It was a position that capped an 11-year career at the school where he also had been the Co-Chair of the All-Schools Curriculum Committee, the Co-Head of the Girls Middle School, the Director of External Affairs, the Director of Admission and Financial Aid, a student advisor and a teacher of a 12th grade course in Public Opinion and American Politics. Before Cranbrook, Looney was Director of Admissions at Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois, and Assistant Dean of Admissions at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
In addition to his years as an educator and administrator, Scott is a widely published author and frequent lecturer on the affordability and demographic challenges that independent schools will face in future years. He graduated from DePauw University and earned his master’s degree from Northwestern University.
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Contact Scott Looney


Philosophy Statement

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  • D. Scott Looney

    I spend a lot of time just watching young children, marveling at the joy they find in the small commonplaces that I take for granted. Their delight seems to be as much about the acts of learning, knowing, and discovering as it is about the specific object of their attention in that moment. Children want to know why, how, who, when. They have a fervent desire to learn about the world, and they find innate pleasure in the process. Why is it so captivating to watch children learn? In a young child, there is no fear of failure or rejection, only an infectious desire to learn how the world works. Witnessing children’s unbridled passion for learning in its purest form is exceptionally compelling for me.


    The best schools preserve and nurture the natural ardor for learning in children. While the harsh realities of the greater world can sap a child’s energies, the best schools work to find inner passion and curiosity in all their students. Rather than simply trying to answer what children should know and when they should know it, good schools additionally ask: How can we engage the passion in these kids? How can we move learning forward in a manner appealing to a wide variety of students?

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The Future for Education

Published Articles

The Future for Education: Why Hawken Has to Lead
 The Hawken Review, Summer 2014.

Chapter 9: "Using Data to Lead Change."
 Why Change? What works? The NAIS Guide to Change Management. Published by NAIS, February 2010.
"Finding Opportunity in Crisis." Independent School Magazine, Summer 2009.
Chapter 4: "Trends in Demand and Affordability," and Chapter 7: "Setting Tuition." Affordability and Demand: Financial Sustainability for Independent Schools, published by NAIS, Spring 2009.
"A Space at the Table." Independent School Magazine, Winter 2006.
Chapter 1: "Admission Best Practices," Scott Looney and Drew MillerA Guide to Using NAIS's Principles of Good Practice. Published by NAIS, 2005.
Navigating the Rough Road to Effective Pricing. Independent School Magazine, Fall 2003. Reprinted in the book, Looking Ahead: Independent School Issues and Answers.
Demographic Research: Why, Who, When, What, How and Where. Inside Private School Management Newsletter, Vol. 5, Number 2, July 2000.


Head of School Installation Address
August 27, 2006
Lyndhurst, OH

Hawken School | Lower & Middle Schools, 5000 Clubside Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124
Upper School, PO Box 8002 (12465 County Line Rd), Gates Mills, OH 44040
Gries Center, 10823 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106