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 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 as treasurer on the board of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), immediate past board chair of the Student Participatory Action Research Collaborative (SPARC) -- connected to the University of Pennsylvania -- and is a former board chair for the Ohio Association of Independent Schools (OAIS). Throughout her headship she has enjoyed working as a faculty member of both the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Institute for Aspiring Heads and Institute for New Heads, helping to identify and mentor the next leaders in independent schools. Mrs. Soderberg is a member of the Heads and Principals Association (formerly the Headmasters Association), the Headmistresses Association of the East and the Heads Collegiate Forum (formerly the Country Day Headmasters Association).
Her husband, Dr. John Soderberg, is an archaeologist teaching at Denison University. They have two sons who graduated from Academy: Angus '18, Kenyon College ‘22, and Philip '20, who is in the Johns Hopkins University class of 2024.
- B.A. Middlebury College
- M.A. Columbia University