People

Dominic A.A. Randolph is Riverdale’s sixth Head of School and a leader in the international character education movement. Randolph is a co-founder of the nonprofit educational research organization, Character Lab, along with Dave Levin ’88, founder of the KIPP charter schools, and Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the best-selling book, Grit. Randolph is a steering committee member of the International Positive Education Network, and a board member of the Mastery Transcript Consortium. He is a member of the leadership team of nXU, an out-of-school program that helps highly promising NYC high school students explore, identify, and pursue their life purpose. Randolph has written on character and opportunity for the Brookings Institute. In 2015, he published an exchange on the nature of education with Max Ventilla, CEO and founder of AltSchool, a San Francisco-based education startup that operates schools in San Francisco and New York City. 

Known as an innovator, Randolph is the founder of Plussed+, a learning experience design studio based at Riverdale. Working with IDEO’s Design for Learning Studio, Plussed+ developed The Teachers Guild, a platform for creating and sharing new teaching strategies. Also with IDEO, Randolph collaborated on the Design-Thinking Toolkit for Educators and The Purpose Project, a digital platform in beta testing designed to help students use design-thinking methods to prototype their purpose. 

Randolph has been featured in World Class: Tackling the 10 Greatest Challenges in Schools Today edited by David James and Ian Warwick, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough, and Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids For The Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith. 

Prior to Randolph’s appointment in 2007, he served as assistant headmaster at The Lawrenceville School and worked in a variety of teaching and administrative roles in schools in Europe and the Middle East. At Riverdale, his work has focused on curriculum development, interdisciplinary studies, design thinking, and the implications of cognitive and technological advancements for learning, character development, and positive psychology.

He lives with his wife, Kris, close to the Hill Campus in the school’s first building. A one-time fencer for Harvard University, he has been known to engage in an occasional bout with the Riverdale fencing team. He tweets with the handle, @daar17.

Articles and speeches by Randolph include:

“Be Alchemists, Not Auks,” 2021 graduation address

“Black Lives Matter at Riverdale,” 2020 graduation address

“The Weft of Learning,” an article in The Parents League of New York Review 2020

“Going Global Without Going,”  an online feature in Independent School magazine

“What Is School,” an exchange of letters with Max Ventilla, CEO of AltSchool, on Medium

“The Blank Plan”

“If I Were Secretary of State for Education”

“Schools of Character