Mr. Polasko resigns: Hirsch now Head of Middle School


By Haleigh Miller ’12, Editor in Chief

Relatively late in this past summer, it became apparent that drastic changes were going to be made to the administration of the Cincinnati Country Day School Middle School. Mr. John Polasko is not returning as Middle School Head, and Athletic Director Theresa Hirschauer has taken his place for the year as the interim Head until a replacement can be found.

“My resignation from Country Day has nothing to do with the institution, the wonderful professionals who work there, or the kind, welcoming community,” said Mr. Polasko of his decision to leave CCDS. “I love Country Day and I love being a Country Day parent!”

“Mr. Polasko left to pursue other opportunities,” said Head of School Dr. Robert Macrae. Dr. Macrae supported the statement that he made earlier in the summer, when Mr. Polasko’s departure was announced. “He is always welcome on campus,” added Dr. Macrae. “Things are really great between him and me, and between him and the school.”

After Mr. Polasko decided to leave CCDS, Dr. Macrae was faced with the decision of who should replace him as Middle School Head. Macrae explained that he was pressed for time to make a decision because Mr. Polasko decided to leave so late in the summer, but that he did have options. “I could have gone to a national search firm, and there are people that do interim headships,” Dr. Macrae explained. He could have looked on the national market, or for a different internal candidate, but Hirsch has already acted as Interim Middle School Head once before, in the 2006-2007 school year, before Mr. Polasko was hired. Dr. Macrae stated that Hirsch was his first choice because she had done such a fantastic job before. “I was worried about overwhelming her, but I decided that she needed to know that she was my first choice,” said Macrae.

“It totally came out of left field,” said Hirsch of Dr. Macrae’s request. “Dr. Macrae came to me and I basically said I’d do whatever the school needed.” The recently-graduated class of 2011 was in 8th grade when Hirsch acted as

Interim Head last time; she joked that they seemed to have turned out all right, and so she agreed to act as Interim once again.

Perhaps the only concern Dr. Macrae had when he requested that Hirsch rejoin the Middle School was how she would juggle her myriad responsibilities: Hirsch is the Athletic Director and Girls Varsity Soccer coach, in addition to now handling the middle school.

In terms of handling the Athletic Department and the Middle School, “It is going extremely well because I have a fantastic faculty in the Middle School, Greg Ross [the Associate Athletic Director] is doing a great job even with his schedule amped up,” Hirsch explained. She added that she loves getting to school in the morning, enjoys her current position, and looks forward to soccer practice after school, which she views as a “great release point.”

Although Hirsch certainly has more than enough on her plate, she has one less responsibility than she in in the 2006-2007 year: she isn’t teaching a math class. “That’s the worst part!” Hirsch explained that she certainly misses teaching, and has repeatedly told Middle Schoolers that if they ever need assistance with math, to go and see her.

In terms of searching for a permanent Middle School Head, Dr. Macrae explained the route he and Board of Trustees will be taking. Sometime mid-fall, a search committee will be created which will spend several meetings discussing the qualities they’re looking for in a candidate. Following that discussion, they will assess the needs of the Middle School, and compare those needs with the qualities they decided on. Dr. Macrae is planning that this cross-reference will reveal more specifically the attributes they want and need in a candidate, which will help refine the search. Dr. Macrae hopes to start the search for a new Head in November or December, to have candidates coming to visit CCDS in January, and to hopefully hire one of the candidates by Spring Break. He added that “There will be some internal candidates, and we’ll work through that as it progresses.”

As Country Day settles into the rhythm of a new year and welcomes Hirsch to her new position, Dr. Macrae added that “Hirsch is off to a magnificent start with this positive, can-do energy and an appreciation for country day, and appreciation for being in education, and that positive energy is contagious.” He continued that, with regard to Mr. Polasko “I’m really grateful for the four years he had here.”