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Former Webb Schools chief is honored

Earlier this month, former Webb Schools Head of Schools Susan A. Nelson was awarded the 2022 and 13th annual Ruzicka Compass Premier Leadership Award by The Association of Boarding Schools.

The award, named for the late Steven D. Ruzicka, recognizes extraordinary contributions to the excellence, advancement and success of boarding schools.

Webbs’ current head of schools Taylor B. Stockdale, who worked with Nelson as director of institutional advancement and assistant head of schools before succeeding her in 2011, nominated Nelson for the award.

Webb Schools Head of Schools Taylor B. Stockdale, left, with life trustee Susan A. Nelson, center, and Associate Head of Schools Dr. Theresa Smith during Webb’s 2022 Alumni Weekend 2022. Smith will succeed Stockdale in July 2023. Photo/courtesy of Nancy Newman Photography.

“She inspires people around her to march up the hill, if you will, and really take on the really difficult work, but to do so with a sense of joy and a sense of pride,” Stockdale said in a statement.

In 1988, Nelson moved to Claremont with her family and joined Webb as head of Vivian Webb School. In 1991, she was appointed the first female head of The Webb Schools, which encompasses VWS, Webb School of California and the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. She served Webb from 1988 to 2011.

video highlighting Nelson’s achievements is viewable at


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