Get to Know Our New Head of School!
On July 1, Joy McGrath ’92 began her tenure as St. Andrew’s fifth head of school. Joy is the first woman, and the first St. Andrew’s alumnus, to serve as head of school, and she is also the first leader to serve as the Daniel T. Roach, Jr. Head of School. The headship was previously named the Merrill M. Stenbeck Head of School's Chair, in honor of the mother of two St. Andrew’s alumnae. The endowed headship was established in 2010 by a gift, with a provision that the headship be renamed to honor St. Andrew's fourth head of school, Tad Roach, upon his retirement in June 2021.
A member of St. Andrew’s Class of 1992, Joy has worked in education for more than two decades. For the past 13 years, she worked at Yale University, where she served as chief of staff to the president of the university. In this role, Joy managed a complex array of critical functions, including strategic planning, development, project management, and communications on behalf of the president; she also led Yale’s emergency response to COVID-19 in conjunction with the university’s continuity plan.
Prior to serving as chief of staff to the president, Joy served in Yale’s Office of the Provost, where she helped the provost manage Yale’s (at the time) $3 billion budget during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and its aftermath. An accomplished fundraiser, she was recruited to Yale to become the first director of development for Yale College (the undergraduate body of the university), where she led the college’s component of a successful $3.9 billion university-wide capital campaign.
Joy’s career in education began at St. Andrew’s, where she served for eight years before her transition to Yale. As a faculty member, Joy was recruited to work in the Advancement Office, and immediately immersed herself in the life of the school. The first woman ever to serve as a boys’ dorm parent, she lived on Schmolze Corridor, taught IV Form English, was a beloved faculty advisor, and launched the school’s Organic Garden as an extracurricular activity. Joy completed her first career at St. Andrew’s as director of advancement, where she designed and implemented the school’s first fundraising campaign that relied on broad alumni outreach and philanthropy.
A native of nearby Smyrna, Delaware, Joy entered St. Andrew’s as a V Former with the help of the school’s financial aid program. She excelled during her time at St. Andrew’s. The recipient of the William H. Amos Prize for the Life Sciences and the Chester E. Baum Prize for English, Joy also ran cross-country and was coxswain of the girls’ senior eight. After St. Andrew’s, she earned her A.B. magna cum laude at Harvard University, where she majored in sociology, worked for four years in the law library, coached and coxed the Cabot House crew, and taught Sunday School at The Memorial Church in Harvard Yard (ultimately serving as head teacher). Upon graduation, she received the Cabot House Prize for contributions to her residential house at Harvard.
Joy is married to Ty Jones, a 1992 classmate from St. Andrew’s. Ty grew up in Chesapeake City, Maryland, and works for his family business.
In accepting this appointment, Joy said, “It will be an immense privilege to lead St. Andrew’s—to build on its distinctive culture of faith and learning and seize opportunities for continued growth and excellence.
“I believe in the power of education—particularly a St. Andrew’s education—to transform young people and prepare them for lives of meaning and purpose. From the first moment I stepped on campus, I knew there was something special about this community where young people from all backgrounds and walks of life live and learn alongside dedicated, inspiring faculty. The school completely altered the course of my life, and since then I have seen the work of St. Andrew’s in the lives of countless other students and alumni as well.
“As head of school, I will work to strengthen St. Andrew’s superb financial aid program that is at the heart of the school’s distinctive culture, ensuring that we continue to attract diverse and deserving students without regard to financial means. I look forward to collaborating with the entire St. Andrew’s community—students, faculty, alumni, and families—as we nurture this school we love so well, while we challenge ourselves fully to live up to our responsibilities to one another and to the world.”