Autumn Graves - Educator, Student and Volunteer

President at Girard College



Current location

United States

Work category

Education and Training



Profile Activity

An experienced administrator with strong fundraising experience, Autumn Graves holds a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from the Teachers College of Columbia University as well as a Certificate in Fundraising from the School for Continuing and Professional Studies at New York University. More recently, Autumn Graves was accepted to the doctorate program in Higher Education Management at the University of Pennsylvania. She expects to obtain an Ed.D. in May 2014.

Over the last ten years, Autumn Graves has held senior administrative positions with a number of respected private academies. Her efforts in the field have drawn recognition from influential media outlets and communal foundations. In 2010, Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine named her to its list of Women to Watch for this Decade. This came just two months after the Philadelphia City Council recognized her as one of the Next Generation of Leaders

Autumn Graves's Education and Qualifications


PhD/Doctorate - Higher Education Management

University of Pennsylvania

Anticipated Graduation in May 2014


Certificate - Certificate in Fundraising

New York University, School for Continuing and Professional Studie


Masters/PostGrad - Educational Administration with a focus in Private School Leadership

Teachers College, Columbia University


Bachelor/Degree - Rhetoric/History

The University of Virginia

Autumn Graves's Professional Experience

2009 - 2012

Girard College - President

• Served as chief executive officer for 165-year-old, 100% scholarship, 1-12 boarding school for 500 children who come from families struggling with poverty
• Directed 190 staff and a $21.5 million operating budget
• Motivated and guided an eight-person senior leadership team in moving curricular, co-curricular, fundraising and facilities management into the 21st century
• Provided visionary leadership for academic and residential program growth
• Reported to three governance boards and managed the relationship with three collective bargaining units
• Worked collaboratively with the Girard College Alumni Association (a separate non-profit) and the Girard Estate (a quasi-government agency) in the management of the school’s resources and fundraising

2003 - 2009

Friends Seminary - Assistant Principal

• Assisted the principal in the overall operation of a 670-student, K-12 school served by 175 faculty and staff
• Provided direct leadership and supervision of Extended Programs, Community Service Program, Diversity Team, Technology Department, Support Services, Nurse’s Office and Athletic Department
• Managed program and personnel budgets totaling more than $2.3 million annually
• Oversaw the spending of 15 endowed funds; provided information on use to Development Office
• Co-led School Committee’s Strategic Planning Committee; served as staff liaison to School Committee and its Personnel and Finance Committees, and served on Lift Every Voice Capital Campaign Committee
• Worked closely with PTA leadership to design opportunities and programs that communicate and further the school’s mission
• Coordinated various facets of faculty/staff hiring, evaluation and development
• Assessed, facilitated and coordinated most internal/external communications and documents, including monthly e-newsletter, school website, Faculty/Staff Handbook and calendars
• Designed and executed emergency plan and drills
• Taught grade 11 United States History (2006-2008) and grade 6 Health and Wellness (2003-2006, 2008-2009)
• Served as Director of Technology (2004-2005), Director of Diversity (2007-2009), and Library-Media Department Chair (2004) during staffing transitions

2000 - 2003

Sidwell Friends School - Upper School Dean

• Shaped student behavior and upheld community standards for 460 students in grades 9-12, collaborating regularly with administrators, faculty, students and parents to resolve a myriad of emotional, academic and behavioral issues
• Assisted divisional principal with short- and long-term management and leadership initiatives that involved faculty, students, and parents
• Coordinated the division’s Professional Development Program and maintained $38,000 annual budget
• Served as commencement coordinator; grade 11 United States History teacher; Freshman Studies teacher; advisor for 13 students; and member of Admissions Committee and search committees for Upper School Principal and Director of Finance

1996 - 1999

Breck School - Upper School Counselor and Community Service Coordinator

• Counseled students struggling with various academic, emotional and physical issues; communicated with parents, teachers, staff and outside clinicians about student needs and situations for 370 students in grades 9-12
• Chaired Internalizing Values-Global Issues Committee for ISACS self-study; taught grade 11 United States History; advised 12 students; assisted in general leadership of Upper School

1994 - 1996

ercersburg Academy - Director of Special Programs

• Programmed social, cultural, community service and academic activities for 380 residential students
• Maintained budgets in excess of $36,000, including endowed funds
• Served as dorm parent, girls varsity assistant soccer coach, United States History teacher, advisor and member of Board of Trustees’ Residential Planning Steering Group

Autumn Graves's Additional Information



World Class Education and Talent Development Strategy Team for World Class Greater Philadelphia, member, spring 2012

The Links, Incorporated, volunteer, 2011-present, National Trends and Arts Committees, Financial Sustainability Taskforce

The Shipley School, trustee, 2010-present

The Library Company of Philadelphia, trustee, 2010-present, Strategic Planning Committee, 2012-present, Nominations and Governance Committee 2010-present

Friends Council on Education, Development Committee member, 2005-2010; trustee, 2006-2010; Nominations and Governance Committee member, 2007-2010; Strategic Planning Committee, 2007-2009

Klingenstein New York Metro Alumni Association, founding member, 2005-2007

Junior League, volunteer, 1998-present. Committee projects have included conducting Nonprofit Board Training Course in New York City, co-creating New York Junior League University, mentoring in Girl’s Club of Washington, DC, Children’s Hospital and co-teaching third grade art history at P.S. 64