New Upper School Head

University Prep Welcomes New Director of Upper School, Joel Sohn


Photo: Episcopal High School Office of Communications

Joel Sohn teaches a class at his school, Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia.

On Feb. 6, 2020, incoming Head of School Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau announced the new director of upper school.

“The search for a new director began in December with the help of an agency known as Carney Sandoe, but the final decision came down to our incoming head of school based on input from the community,” Director of Community and Diversity and Director of Hiring E-chieh Lin said.

Codrington-Cazeau chose Joel Sohn, one of three finalists, as the new director of upper School.

“I was looking for a proven school leader, strategic thinker, warm personality and someone with the ability to be flexible and also to stand strong when making school decisions,” Codrington-Cazeau said.

Codrington-Cazeau said that Sohn fit the qualities that she was looking for.

“I admired Joel’s warmth, sense of humor, ability to connect with students and his steadfast commitment to equity and inclusion,” Codrington-Cazeau said. 

Sohn has been an educator for more than 20 years and has lived and worked on both coasts. In his current position, he is a senior administrator at the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia.

Sohn is thrilled to begin at University Prep in the fall, even if he may have a few first-day-of-school nerves.

“I think of how welcoming the people were during my brief time on campus, and that graciousness and kindness gives me full confidence that whatever nerves I may have will quickly dissipate,” Sohn said.

In his first year, Sohn plans to get to know the school and welcome voices of different perspectives.

“It is my responsibility to help build the capacity for change so when we make any big ask, everyone is willing to grab an oar and row in the same direction,” Sohn said.

Sohn believes that UPrep is influential in the world of independent schools.

“I also do think UPrep is uniquely poised to be a national model for independent schools rethinking what learning looks like” Sohn said. “I’d love to help the school fulfill that destiny.”

With the dual transition of a new director of upper school and head of school in the same  year, the new members of the administration will be focused on getting to know the community and how to best support it.

“We will also lean on the leadership team and others who have a deeper understanding of the school,” Sohn said.

Senior Hibak Hassan interviewed Sohn through her position on the Community, Ethics and Culture Council.

“Mr. Sohn is really cool. He has started a lot of programs that have allowed minorities to feel safer in affinity spaces through teaching and coaching,” Hassan said. “I think he will bring a lot of ways to connect with students and help our community become a more inclusive one, which is a huge part of UPrep’s mission”. 

Sohn is optimistic as well.

“My hope is that no matter what happens, we’re all connected by the common bond of making UPrep the most amazing place it can be,” Sohn said.