Full AGS grad 2 Evylin Ding Leslie Bryan Ayanna Hill-Gill

Senior Evylin Ding, front center, is congratulated on receiving her diploma by, front from left, Atlanta Girls’ School board chair Leslie Bryan and Head of School Ayanna Hill-Gill during the school’s 2016 commencement ceremony.

Ayanna “Yanni” Hill-Gill, head of school at the Atlanta Girls’ School in Buckhead, is stepping down this summer.

In a letter posted to the school’s website Dec. 17, five of its board leaders announced the news.

“We write with mixed emotions to share news that Yanni will transition out of her role as head of school at the end of the 2020-2021 school year,” they wrote. “On behalf of the entire board, we thank Yanni for her unwavering commitment to AGS and its students and wish her continued success as she moves into the next chapter of her professional career.”

Hill-Gill joined the school in 2014 after working at the Purnell School, a girls-only boarding school in New Jersey where she served as the head of school starting in 2007. In the letter, the board members stated Hill-Gill has brought success in a variety of ways to the school during her tenure there.

“During that time, our student body has become truly representative of our richly diverse city,” they wrote. “Yanni and her team have raised significant funds to advance our crucial educational mission. She has overseen our campus master plan and renovations to successfully address our facility needs. Grants from The Goizueta Foundation and The E.E. Ford Foundation have allowed the school to advance STEAM and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that have included faculty professional development, programs for student learning, and the launch of the Faculty Summer Institute.

“The successful inaugural year of the institute emphasized unconscious and implicit bias and its impact on girls and women of underrepresented backgrounds. As the COVID-19 global pandemic reached the United States last spring, Yanni and her team worked tirelessly to support our students and ensure that their learning journeys could continue.”

Also in the letter, the board leaders announced Kimbrell Smith will serve as the school’s interim head of school starting July 1.

“Kimbrell is an educator, counselor and child advocate,” they wrote. “She is a longtime supporter of the school, most recently serving as a trustee and chairing the strategic planning committee where she has been intensely focused on the long-term growth and success of AGS. She is passionate about AGS and is excited to lead us into the future. ...

“The board has been hard at work to guarantee a smooth transition in leadership. We expect to have a permanent head of school in place in July 2023, and we are confident that the anticipated rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine during 2021 will allow for a robust search process to occur on this timetable.”

A reason for Hill-Gill’s resignation was not given in the letter. After the Neighbor requested an interview with her to find out why, a school spokeswoman said more information on that would be provided at a later date.

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