Biography

Melissa Soderberg started her tenure as Columbus Academy’s eighth Head of School in 2013. She arrived from Minneapolis, where she worked as the upper school head, director of college counseling, dean of students, history teacher and coach at Breck School for 20 years, and before that for five years as assistant college counselor, dorm parent, history teacher and coach at St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island. A graduate of Sunset Hill School (now Pembroke Hill) in Kansas City, she earned her B.A. from Middlebury College and was selected for the regional (New England) All-America team in field hockey. Her M.A. was earned at Teachers College, Columbia University as a Joseph Klingenstein Fellow.

At Columbus Academy, Mrs. Soderberg has overseen the recent completion of a $20-million campaign, multiple facilities improvements in the arts, athletics, technology and innovative classroom spaces and initiated the school’s 2016 Strategic Vision. The Vision provides a focus on schoolwide student-service initiatives, excellent and innovative teaching and learning practices, developing the school’s 231-acre campus as an open classroom, and establishing comprehensive work on cultural competency and the well-being of students.

She serves on the board of the Ohio Association of Independent Schools (OAIS) as its vice president, the board finance committee of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), the Joyce Ivy Foundation board and the board of the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives – Student Participatory Action Research out of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, for five years she enjoyed working as a faculty member of the NAIS Institute for Aspiring Heads, identifying and mentoring the next leaders in independent schools. Mrs. Soderberg is a member of the Headmasters Association, the Headmistresses Association of the East, the Country Day Headmasters Association and the Head’s Network.

Her husband, Dr. John Soderberg, is an archaeologist at Denison University. They have two sons: Angus, who graduated from Columbus Academy in 2018 and attends Kenyon College, and Philip, currently a junior.

Education
  • B.A. Middlebury College
  • M.A. Columbia University