6 Questions with Director of signature and special programs, Michelle Odell

Flint Hill’s 2018-2019 school year is officially underway, and there are several new faces among our faculty and staff. Throughout the month of September, we will use the headmaster’s section of the Weekly Newsletter to get to know some of them.


Where are you originally from and what is your background?
I grew up in Northwest Texas. As an adult, I’ve lived in Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and now Virginia. I’m fortunate to have been able to teach at the college, upper school, and middle school levels and in both public and independent schools. I’ve spent most of my career in independent schools. For 15 years, I worked at Lake Highland Preparatory in Orlando, FL, and most recently at York Country Day in York, PA. I’m an avid learner so my background is varied. I began my teaching career in the life sciences, teaching physiology, biology, and environmental science. I’ve also coached basketball, cross-country, and track and field. In addition, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to serve in the roles of assistant division head, division head, and assistant head of school.

What attracted you to your position at Flint Hill?
Flint Hill has a wonderful reputation for its student-centered focus. This focus, as well as the collegial learning community I encountered on my visits here, were big attractors! The opportunity to work closely with the signature programs at Flint Hill,  in a slightly different role than I’ve previously enjoyed, was also a big attractor.

What are your initial impressions of Flint Hill and its community?
Flint Hill is really who it says it is: a warm, friendly, person-centered community guided by a vision and core values that really speak to me. Flint Hill’s vision for its students of “Take meaningful risks, be yourself and make a difference,” aligns really well with my personal mantra of being open to opportunities and possibilities.

What are you hoping to accomplish during your first year?
I want to immerse myself in the climate and culture of the school. I have a goal of meeting a new person and/or exploring a new aspect of the school every day. I hope that by engaging with the people and programs here, I’ll be able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Flint Hill faculty and students.

What are you most looking forward to?
Meeting and engaging with the community through the myriad of opportunities at Flint Hill.

Now for the fun part — what sorts of hobbies or fun activities do you enjoy outside of work?
I absolutely love being outside, so hiking, cycling, and exploring places on foot are joys to me. I love to explore by learning about people and experiencing places, both locally and through travel. My husband and I are creating a list of places to explore and things to do in the DMV area. I would love to add the community’s suggestions to our list. We have crossed off many places on our original list already so please feel free to flood me with new ideas!