Dolly Ryan, Belmont Day School’s Longest-Serving Employee, To Leave At End of School Year

March 17, 2023

After thirty-six remarkable years, the inimitable Dolly Ryan will leave Belmont Day in June. Dolly arrived at BDS in a temporary role; it wasn’t long before Head of School James Farr (1979-1988) offered her a permanent position as assistant to the head. Over her storied career, Dolly has worked with seven of the thirteen heads of school in Belmont Day’s proud history.

Dolly has the extraordinary ability to be both visionary and practical, insightfully preparing for the future while thoughtfully responsive to teachers and students in the moment. She is every bit the homegrown technologist, creating the role of director of technology at the school and, in 1988, launching the first computer program here. The program brought the very first computer—the Apple II Plus!—to Belmont Day, the first laptop, the first iPad, the first network, the first server. No doubt Dolly could tell you the location of each fiber and cable connecting the school’s infrastructure, figuratively and literally. In every way, Dolly knows BDS inside and out.

She thoughtfully carries our school’s culture, purpose, and mission, having dedicated herself to inspiring and challenging students and faculty for over three decades. Immersed in best practices, Dolly stays ahead of the curve on trends, online safety and security, and digital wellness to prepare students—and their teachers and parents—for a rapidly changing future. Dolly is a collaborative and generous leader—she regularly engages with independent and public school peers, lending her expertise and knowledge.

In the summer of 2000, Dolly introduced the Pioneer Program, which provides a summer stipend to faculty to integrate technology and innovative tools into the classroom. Countless teachers have taken advantage of opportunities made possible by Dolly’s vision. She is relentlessly committed to her BDS colleagues’ professional growth and development, standing by to cheer them on to take a risk, try something new, iterate, and problem-solve.

Never satisfied with good, Dolly continually aspires to be excellent in all she does and all that she contributes. Her spirited approach inspires everyone around her to do the same. Belmont Day is deeply grateful for her service, and we wish her all good things in the future! Stay tuned for more information about a gathering to celebrate Dolly this spring.

By John O'Neill, director of athletics |

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