Somaliland: Trudy Hall to become Abaarso School’s Next Headmaster



(Somaliland, Africa June 12) The Board of Trustees of Abaarso School is pleased to announce that Trudy Hall, former head of Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y., has accepted the position as Abaarso’s next Head of School, to begin during the 2019-2020 school year.


This follows Abaarso School, based in Somaliland, Africa, gaining American accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in 2018. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the school that was founded by financial executive, Jonathan Starr, who had no experience as an educator when he opened Abaarso School.

Major milestones for the school include awards its students have received including more than $27 million in scholarship aid.


Abaarso has gained international attention for its students receiving the first Somaliland scholarships to U.S. universities in several decades. It now has graduates who have matriculated at universities and boarding schools around the world, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, MIT, and Cambridge. Many have returned to Somaliland to take up leadership positions in their country or work for the Abaarso School fulfilling the vision Starr has for the school.


Hall, a resident of Seattle, WA comes to Abaarso with a distinguished career in independent schools in the United States, as a senior administrator in schools located in the Midwest, South, New England and the Pacific Northwest.  During her career she has focused primarily on boarding school education, spending more than three decades in residential school communities, including 17 years as the head of Emma Willard School, where she executed the Bicentennial Celebration of this historic school.


Hall served for 14 years on the board of the National Coalition of Girls Schools, including four years as President, during which the Global Forum for Girls Education was conceived and trademarked. Her career and professional travels have taken her to schools around the world in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America, North America, and southern Africa in her search for learning environments that inspire and engage adolescents. Hall also serves as the President of the Board for Leadership and Design, a non-profit organization that designs leadership experience for those creating the future of education.


Trudy has a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Lawrence University, an M.Ed. from Harvard University, and an MALS from Duke University. Abaarso’s founder, Jonathan Starr, says of the appointment, “With Trudy Hall at the helm, Abaarso’s innovation and tenacity will be paired with a proven and visionary leader in educational excellence.”


Trudy will succeed James Linville, who has done an exceptional job during his six-year tenure. Among other accomplishments and milestones, Linville led Abaarso’s successful accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and oversaw a major expansion of the school’s campus. After completing his work at Abaarso, Linville will become the founding head of the USAP School in Zimbabwe.  “The work of leading Abaarso through the last six years has been a privilege,” says Linville, “I will graduate with the class that I entered with. Our time together has been as transformational for me as it has for these promising young men and women. I look forward to partnering with Trudy as Abaarso builds from strength to strength.”


Representative Bashir Goth, Somaliland’s new Representative to the United States, noted: “Somaliland takes pride in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Abaarso, an American-accredited, world-class school. We welcome Trudy Hall to Somaliland and appreciate her vision in seeing Somaliland’s great potential. The Somaliland Government hopes she will pave the way for other great international educators to follow her lead.”


Hall, in reflecting on her appointment, remarked: “I cannot imagine a better school, a better faculty or a better student body to demonstrate what ‘world-class education’ looks like. These students know the eyes of the world are upon them, and I know they will make the world proud.”



Abaarso School is an American-accredited school in Somaliland serving grades 7 through 12. Abaarso nurtures the academic, intellectual and character development of promising Somali boys and girls so that they can effectively and ethically advance their society as the leaders of tomorrow.


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