Greg Vogel returns to Oliverian in a new role that connects students, faculty, and administrators in upholding the school’s mission to offer an alternative academic experience that prioritizes holistic wellbeing.
Greg Vogel, who served as Oli’s Associate Headmaster from 2004 to 2012, returned to campus this spring in a brand-new role. Though Vogel and Oli go way back, his return represents the start of a new chapter; he’ll be serving as Executive Director of Program and Culture, a role that hasn’t previously existed at Oli and that will take our tight-knit community to the next level.
Vogel spoke with us to discuss his exciting new plans, his unique background, and the love for Oliverian that led him back to a leadership position in our special community.
A: Thank you! I feel similarly about this incredible opportunity. My title is Executive Director of Program and Culture, and in my official capacity I’ll be working with a variety of departments to ensure the delivery of the Oliverian mission on a day-to-day basis.
In other words, I’ll be implementing a meticulous, intentional approach to how we work with the kids to make sure that we’re providing the best possible Oliverian experience, and building a community that combines college preparatory curriculum with the social programs of a boarding environment and the supportive counseling of an alternative school.
A: The five departments that make up Oliverian are counseling, student life, academic life, business, and admissions. The counseling, residential, and academic departments are, in essence, the educational component — they directly affect Oliverian students’ experience as they physically, intellectually, and emotionally grow.
What makes my job as Executive Director of Program and Culture exciting is that, while I’ll most likely work across all departments in my tenure, I get to really engage with these three departments to standardize the culture in a way that best supports student wellness in every arena.
This helps the school in two primary ways. The first is that my role acts as something of a right-hand man to Will Laughlin, Head of School. While I focus on culture, he has more bandwidth to expand into other domains.
The second benefit of my cultural focus is that, in interfacing with the three departments involved directly with students, I’ll be able to streamline their work and ensure they’re aligned around the plan that’s best for each individual student. As a high school, we receive students when they are going through an undeniably difficult time of life. They may be questioning their ability to do challenging coursework, to make friends, to avoid substance use, to develop a dream and a future for themselves, and to build or repair relationships all at once.
Here at Oli, our students learn how to recognize each of these pressures and cope with them using healthy management strategies. By ensuring that teachers, counselors, and dorm parents are communicating about the needs of individual students and our community overall, I can make sure that every Oli student gets the support and accommodation they need to overcome obstacles, grow, and ultimately thrive.
A: Before my first role at Oliverian, I was a soccer coach at Dartmouth College from 1999 to 2004. After Oli, I served as the executive director of the Mountain Valley Treatment Center, a short-term treatment center for adolescents suffering from extreme anxiety disorders and OCD. Three or four years later, I became associate director and focused on internal operations, which allowed me to found a therapeutic equine program at the center. Finally and most recently, I worked with adjudicated youth, many of whom were in and had come from tough circumstances.
My professional path has placed me in alternative boarding, traditional boarding, college, and treatment settings. The sum of these experiences has left me equipped to work for a school that offers therapeutic support while having a more residential, rather than clinically intensive, atmosphere. Oliverian is an alternative where I, and every non-parental adult employed by the school, understands the importance of our role in delivering programming that features dedicated faculty, supports emotional growth, and offers stellar lifepath advising.
A: This institution has had a special place in my heart for a long time, and just to come back is rewarding. I truly feel that I’m happiest when I’m collaborating, and I am thrilled to be working with all the excellent people at Oliverian as a team once again.
I’m delighted to work across departments to streamline communication on behalf of our students, always advocating for them. My highest priority is ensuring that the work we do in student life means that Oli kids feel good about waking up in the morning to go to class; that they feel like they deserve enjoyment and choose to go on weekend activities; that they feel empowered to nourish, exercise, and cherish their bodies. It is a joy to continue fostering a community that facilitates and celebrates those things.