Karena (Kari) Ostrem has been named the seventh Head of School of Riverdale Country School. An accomplished and innovative educator with 25 years of experience as an administrator and teacher, Kari will begin in the 2023-24 academic year. She succeeds Dominic AA Randolph, who announced in February he will be stepping down in the spring of 2023, after serving since 2007.
Kari has spent a quarter century as a devoted educator at independent, public, and charter schools. She most recently served as the founding Head of School at the Haile-Manas Academy, the first nationwide residential school in Ethiopia dedicated to accepting students from different ethnic backgrounds. Kari built the academy from the ground up based on the principles of design thinking.
During her extensive career in education, Kari has also served as Academic Dean at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, where she advanced the school’s strong academic and experiential programs; Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Bronx Lab School, a public school tasked with providing an innovative and rigorous college-preparatory education to students in the Bronx; and Director of Science for KIPP NYC, a public charter school in New York City, leading the design of a new curriculum based on critical thinking and data analysis for elementary and middle school students. Kari also has extensive teaching experience at both the high school level (math and science) and collegiate level (adjunct professor of mathematics education) and was a founding faculty member of The Island School.
“I’m honored to join Riverdale Country School and am inspired by the legacy that Dominic has built with this dynamic community,” Kari said. “When I look at Riverdale, I see a forward-looking place where all students have an opportunity to thrive – inside and outside the classroom. My priority, with each of you, is to support all students and their well-being on their journey, and to ensure it’s filled with a sense of belonging, curiosity, and purpose.”
“We are grateful to Dominic for his exemplary leadership and dedication to Riverdale, and for helping ensure a seamless transition,” Chair of the Riverdale Country School Board of Trustees Daniel J. Rosen ‘92 shared. “We look forward to a continued tradition of innovative education under Kari’s leadership.”