The Year Ahead


A Conversation with SYA President Tom Hassan and
Newly Appointed Board Chair Holland Goss Lynch FR’86

Recently, SYA President Tom Hassan sat down for a conversation with newly appointed Chair of the Board, Holland Goss Lynch FR’86. Holland, who is the first alumna chair in SYA’s history, shared her SYA story and talked with Tom about the beginning of the school year. She also provided a 30,000 foot view on what the Board will be working on this year. For the full conversation, please watch the video.


Meet Holland
Holland came to SYA as a junior from The Hotchkiss School after being strongly encouraged by her French teacher and an upperclassman who attended SYA that year. She remembers fondly her teachers Mme Heurtin and M. Lemée, who instilled in her the deep interest in French literature and art that would define her future studies and career. After high school Holland received her degree in French literature from Georgetown University and Masters’ degrees in library science and medieval history from the University of Maryland. She notes that SYA remains the singular most important educational experience she has had.

Following her career as a research curator and coordinator at the New York Public Library, Holland moved to San Francisco where she now resides with her husband and three children.

Before joining the SYA Board of Trustees, she served as an admissions interviewer, a member of SYA’s Philanthropy Council and she hosted SYA events at her home. She has prior board service at organizations focused on art and education where she has assisted with strategic planning, governance, facilities and development.

Upon being named Chair of the Board of Trustees, and its first alumna chair, Holland feels both excitement and gratitude. She said, “SYA is an amazing organization with an outstanding leadership, faculty and administrative team implementing a powerful and successful mission. To the visionaries of 50 years ago, the 13 brave young women of the Class of SYA Spain 1971 who forged the path for nearly 5,200 other young women to follow, and the first female head of the board, Barbara Landis Chase, who served in the late 90s, I feel fortunate to be following in the footsteps of all of them.”

Priorities for the Board of Trustees
The Board’s top priority is always to support Tom and his team in their work to further SYA’s mission. This year, the Board will also be working on big-picture visioning of SYA for the next five years. SYA is well positioned following The Campaign for SYA, but also needs to plan and respond to the changing educational environment. Another top priority is for the board to define SYA’s commitment to diversity, justice and inclusion and to engage with that work more deeply.

Students are abroad!
Our faculty, host families and even local shop owners are beyond thrilled to have SYA students back “on campus.” Students are currently spending their first weeks in a newly designed and implemented Immersion Unit where they get to know their host families and new surroundings, and to start challenging themselves to use the language daily. They have already had their first place-based “fieldwork” experience, a specific assignment to promote their language and cultural immersion by requiring them to engage with their local communities in direct and meaningful ways.

Health and safety are top priorities for SYA. All students are fully vaccinated and must wear masks indoors. For the time being we have limited travel to school-related adventures and day independent travel.

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Changing of the Guard

SYA is pleased to introduce its newly-appointed board members, including Holland Goss Lynch FR’86, its first alumna chair. Holland follows former chair Kirk Davenport FR’77 FR’11P, who led SYA through its last strategic plan and the culminating The Campaign for SYA, along with Carl Moor FR’78 IT’13P, Rick Hardy, Head of School at Concord Academy, Sheila Culbert, Head of School at Loomis Chaffee. We are grateful for the vision and guidance.

Joining the board are Nahin Jorgge IT'06, Darcy Pottle Meals ES’01, Julianne Puente, Head of School at Albuquerque Academy, Bryan Simmons FR’78 and Jim Ventre, Assistant Head of School for Admissions and Financial Aid at Phillips Academy. See the full board membership here.


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School Year Abroad

SYA President Tom Hassan and newly appointed Chair of the Board Holland Goss Lynch FR'86 recently sat down to talk about the year ahead.

School Year Abroad

A personal look back from Director of Advancement Erin Ericson

This year, you will likely read many reflections and remembrances from those who lived through the events of September 11, 2001. As you can imagine, SYA’s story is somewhat unique in that September is the beginning of our school year, when students are boarding planes for their adventure abroad.