Suzannah Hopkins Joins TNCS as Admissions Director!

With the start of any new academic year comes changes. The New Century School is ever-evolving, striving to grow not just in size but also in substance. What is sometimes a difficult change to accept is the departure of friends—staff, students, teachers, and so on. Although saying goodbye can be hard, there’s always a bright side: new friends to be made. So, say hello to TNCS’s new Admissions Director Suzannah Hopkins!

Meet Suzannah Hopkins!

015Suzannah Hopkins is a native Marylander, having grown up in Montgomery County. She graduated from Ithaca College in New York State with concentrations in English, Art History, and Italian and then spent some time in Florence and other parts of Italy. In Florence, she got a post-baccalaureate degree in Art History (and enjoyed trying to fool the locals into thinking she was from there with her language and dialect skills). Later, at Johns Hopkins University, she attained a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies.

On returning to the United States, she worked in Washington, D.C., where she met her husband, another native Marylander. They currently reside in Anne Arundel County with their two sons, one 24 years old and the other going on 16.

When she isn’t helping steward children along their ideal educational paths, Ms. Hopkins enjoys attending her younger son’s lacrosse games, spending time with her family, and cooking. Her favorite local museums are The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, where Mary Young Pickersgill sewed that flag in 1813; The Walters Museum of Art; and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Why TNCS?

Although Ms. Hopkins jokes that her education doesn’t seem to relate to what she does now, admissions has long been her career—for 14 years, in fact. Before joining TNCS, she was in admissions at St. Annes’ School of Annapolis and before that, at Sandy Spring  Friends School in Olney and Indian Creek School in Crownsville. “I really like admissions,” she says, “I enjoy meeting families and learning about their children and finding the right fit for them.”

She also circled back to her arts background and how it actually does relate to her current role. “Museums and schools are both educational institutions,” she explained. “There’s a lot of crossover in how promotion and fundraising happens as well as in how core advancement and development take place. People are choosing to come to your institution to learn something. How do you welcome them? There’s a level of customer service. How can the family experience the place?”

She also explains that every school has its own culture and methods, but coming in at the start of the school year will allow her to shape her admissions procedures to what she knows works for her. “But, there are so many good things here,” she continued, “that I don’t think it will  be hard to get in the groove. All of the schools I’ve worked in have been progressive, whole child–centric, and cross-disciplinary, and so my joining TNCS is in line with my background. Plus I love the language aspect! I’m hoping to learn a thing or two.”

Another advantage that Ms. Hopkins had on her side was the help of former TNCS Admissions Director Dominique Sanchies to show her the ropes specific to TNCS. (As an aside, Ms. Sanchies is still affiliated with TNCS in an administrative capacity while she em”barks” on a new adventure. More to come.) “She’s been terrific,” said Ms. Hopkins. “In fact, I have her on speed dial.” Finally, this time of year is not a crucial admissions window, so she has had the breadth and space to enjoy what’s happening with the first few weeks of school as well as to get her Blackbaud admissions pages put together in a way that works for her and for the school. She was already familiar with Blackbaud from the parent perspective, which is another bonus. “I’m also reading through school materials and learning routines, but so is everybody else, so we’re all in this together.”

So Far, So Good!

This should come as no surprise, but Ms. Hopkins reports that things have been going really well for her at TNCS so far. “Everybody on the faculty and staff is lovely. It’s been really nice to get to know everybody bit by bit. The students here are great. The littlest babies are just adorable, and the older students seem so kind to each other—it’s really nice to see.”

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She is gaining ground quickly on putting names with faces, and morning drop-off has helped a lot there.

Drawing once more on her arts background, Ms. Hopkins commented on what a rich environment TNCS sits in, artistically and architecturally. “This community as a whole is so rich in history, and I think the school is very lucky to be located here. Look at the stained glass windows in building north! They are so gorgeous and can be studied and enjoyed right here in our space,” she remarked.

Goals for Admissions

“The first year is a learning curve with new systems and structures, getting to know families, and building relationships with faculty and staff. One way to do this is to jump right in and give tours.” Formerly, tours happened in groups (and still will in certain contexts, such as Admissions Fridays tours and Open Houses—the next one takes place November 2nd, at 10:00 am), but Ms. Hopkins is eager to give one-on-family tours and has already begun doing those. Her first tour happened on September 4th. “I really like giving tours,” she said. “I enjoy meeting the family and having the chance to talk to them individually and getting a moment to connect. You’ll see me frequently walking through the hallways with families. I’ll continue doing group tours as well to strike a nice balance of both and to make this as convenient as possible for families.”

She really means it when she talks about enjoying getting to know the community: “I’m pretty approachable,” she said. If there’s anything you need from me, come find me. That helps me to get to know you, too, so come say hello!”


With that, welcome to The New Century School community, Suzannah Hopkins!

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TNCS Admissions Director Suzannah Hopkins and Primary Teacher Maria Mosby attend Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance’s annual School Far!

Admissions Fridays: Your Ticket To Getting To Know TNCS!

Our very own Robin Munro, TNCS Admissions Director

Our very own Robin Munro, TNCS Admissions Director

Friday, April 25th, marked the first-ever Admissions Friday event at The New Century School, and what a success it was! The brainchild of Admissions Director Robin Munro, this weekly event is designed to give prospective families a taste of TNCS and to give currently enrolled families the chance to drop by and hang out. Ms. Munro says she came up with this idea to be able to respond to more families more quickly and hopes to make it a standing happening. Families interested in the school naturally have lots of questions; Admissions Fridays not only get those questions answered in a timely fashion, but also show you the real deal—this is what TNCS looks like and how it operates in real time.

The inaugural event was well attended by parents (as well as a couple of prospective students!) curious about TNCS’s inner workings. The morning began informally with attendees gathering in the Multipurpose Room for coffee and a nosh prepared by Chef Emma. (Her lemon poppyseed cake was divine!) Prospective parents were looking at a range of enrollment levels from nursery-age, to preschool-age, right up to elementary-age, which Ms. Munro was particularly glad to see. Although TNCS started as a preschool, it has grown up right alongside its original student body and is thriving as it broadens its scope to encompass school-age children. After a chat to get acquainted and a preliminary Q&A, Ms. Munro escorted the group around the school, giving everyone a chance to see each program in action and all of the other special aspects of TNCS that set it apart.

Chef Emma baked lemon poppyseed cake and provided bagels courtesy of Cunningham's Cafe and Bakery. The butter rosettes were Chef's own special flourish!

Chef Emma baked lemon poppyseed cake and provided bagels courtesy of Cunningham’s Cafe and Bakery. The butter rosettes were Chef’s own special flourish!

Refreshing citrus and strong coffee---the perfect combo! Cream is courtesy of Trickling Springs dairy farm.

Refreshing citrus and strong coffee—the perfect combo! Cream was courtesy of Trickling Springs dairy farm.

TNCS offers three divisions: pre-primary (ages 2–3), primary (ages 3–5), and elementary (ages 6 and up). A fourth division in the form of a middle school will debut in the Fall of 2016 for grades 6–8. Extended care and before care are also available. Across all programs, emphases include small classes, language learning, and independent (but guided) academic exploration. Though all share common guiding principles, each program also boasts a unique identity. The pre-primary is complete immersion in either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish, the primary is Montessori, and the elementary is progressive and technology- and inquiry-based. This is, of course, a very cursory description of program highlights. Observing these classes in action tells the complete story, and they really are wondrous sights to behold. The mix of ages all helping one another, the classroom harmony, the freedom-within-limits to choose a topic of exploration . . . these are very integral to TNCS and are best appreciated firsthand.

Then there are the features that put the finishing touches on this one-of-a-kind school—the Kitchen Garden Tuck Shop, the music and art programs, and The Lingo Leap. These are, again, aspects of TNCS that deserve to be appreciated in person, but, in brief, TNCS students have the option of a daily locally sourced lunch of the freshest, best ingredients around (if not from the school greenhouse itself); they get formal instruction in art and music by instructors Jenny Raccuglia and Martellies Warren; and they have gym class with Gerstung equipment and the Imagination Playground!

With so much exciting  information to absorb, Ms. Munro recognized that families might prefer to mull details over later and gave each attendee a comprehensive packet to take home. Prospective families enjoyed getting to know TNCS, while currently enrolled families relished the chance to be there taking part.

So if you are exploring options for where to educate your child(ren), register for an Admissions Friday now through June 6th. Figuring out where your child will be enabled to flourish is no small decision. TNCS openly welcomes your observation, your questions, and you.