Chapman reflects on time at Masters in light of departure


Vincent Alban

Erica Chapman, Masters’ Dean of Faculty works in her office. This will be Chapman’s last year at the school, and she will be replaced by Sam Savage, the former chair of Deerfield Academy’s language department.

Drew Schott, Opinion Design Editor


After spending nine years as a member of the Masters community, serving in positions such as Director of CITYterm, the School’s semester-long academic program that combines classroom learning and education trips to New York City, and Dean of Faculty, Erica Chapman is departing from The Masters School.  

Chapman, who was a CITYterm student in 1999, returned to the program in 2004 as a member of its faculty until 2006. As a faculty member of CITYterm, she helped organize the Urban Core, an interdisciplinary curriculum that contains Honors-equivalent course of History, Literature and Urban Environments of New York City. Additionally, she spearheaded alumni programming and reunion events.

After six years, she returned to the program, this time as Director, a position she compared to being a “little mini Head of School.” In addition to overseeing curriculum at CITYterm, Chapman handled faculty recruitment and development, running the dorms, fundraising for the program and student enrollment.

In 2016-2017, Chapman continued to serve as the Director of CITYterm, in addition to acting as Interim Dean of Faculty. Chapman, during this year, was asked to help build the role as it “had not existed in this configuration before.” She was then made Dean of Faculty, a position she served in from 2017-2019. As Dean of Faculty, Chapman’s position contained responsibilities such as “end-to-end” support of the faculty, handling professional development and faculty recruitment and leading programs including the New Teacher Experience.

Chapman said she is going to miss the students she’s developed relationships with.  

“I’ve had the real honor of being an advisor to a group over the past two years that came in as ninth graders and it’s been amazing to watch them grow,” she said. “I’ve taught a number of public speaking sections this year, so I’ve gotten to know about half the junior class, which has been lovely.”

Additionally, she expressed admiration towards the makeup of the student body at Masters.  

“I’m really amazed at how diverse the group is, from the way they approach problems, to where they hail from,” Chapman said. “I think this is the most interesting part of the school that it is to be celebrated.  What makes Masters really special is how unique the student body is. There is a real reverence… (towards) the type of community that the students are.”

Chapman’s experience at Masters, which included teaching classes, working with faculty and designing new programs, are only some of the memories that Chapman will cherish. Additionally, she expressed gratitude towards the kind of community that Masters has built.

“This is a place that tries new things,” Chapman said, “and that’s fun to be a part of.”

Head of School Laura Danforth offered high praise of Chapman.

“Her departure is a huge loss for our school,” she said. “She is one of the most organized and thoughtful people I have ever worked with. She absolutely wants what’s best for the school. She has done a great job with the hiring process along with so many other initiatives and she is just an exceptional educator.”

Chapman’s successor as Dean of Faculty will be Sam Savage. Savage is currently a member of the Language faculty at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, MA. Savage served as Chair of the Language Department at Deerfield in a five-year rotation that ended in 2018 and has been honored with two chairs for excellence in teaching. He has previously taught at School Year Abroad in Viterbo, Italy and the Head-Royce School in Oakland, CA. In May, Savage will receive a Masters degree in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He will begin his role on July 1.

Despite Chapman’s departure, Danforth is excited for Savage’s arrival.

“At boarding schools, they have something called the triple threat,” she said, “which is teaching, coaching and living within the dorms. What I love about Sam is that he loves boarding schools and he’s all in. He wants to see and be with kids and faculty in the hallways, in the classrooms, in the dining room, on the athletic fields, in the theater.”