Julia Eells Senior Consultant, Coach

Julia will continue her affiliation with Carney, Sandoe after an interim headship at Castilleja School ending in June 2025.

Julia is a Senior Consultant in our Search & Consulting Group. In addition to conducting leadership searches, she consults with board chairs, school heads, and senior administrators, advising on governance and leadership transition. Julia also serves as a Coach in our Leadership Coaching Practice.

Background & Experience

Julia most recently served as the Head of School at San Francisco University High School from 2013 to 2022. During her leadership, she led the school through a transformational strategic design process resulting in a redesign of student wellness and support programming, and a new model for faculty professional growth. Other accomplishments of note include launching the Equity and Community (DEIB) Stewardship and Oversight Committee, expanding diversity all all levels of the organization, leading significant assessment and curriculum reform, building an athletic complex in Presidio National Park, becoming a founding school of the Mastery Transcript Consortium, and securing an EE Ford Leadership Grant for Institutional Research. 

Prior to her headship in California, Julia served as Head of School at Lincoln School (RI) from 2005 to 2013. While at Lincoln, she played a pivotal role in many capital, financial, enrollment, and curricular improvements. Julia increased the annual fund by 70%, led a number of campus developments (athletic, science, classrooms, historic home preservation), and implemented a grades 6-12 model through staffing, program, and curriculum review.

Before her headships, Julia served as Assistant Head of School at Westminster School (CT) from 2000-2005. She led all aspects of faculty hiring and retention, established a marketing department, restructured the college counseling office, and co-authored the school’s first statement on diversity. Prior to Westminster, she spent 11 years at Miss Porter’s School (CT) serving in a variety of roles including Dean of Admission and College Counseling, Director of College Counseling, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, and Associate Director of Admissions. Julia has also served as Director of College Counseling and Director of Publications and Research at The Ethel Walker School (CT) and Assistant Director of Admissions at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY), and she held a variety of teaching and residential life roles before transitioning to senior administration.

Professional activities and affiliations include serving as Chair of the CAIS and NEASC accreditation teams for several schools on both coasts. Julia  has served on the boards of Simsbury ABC House (CT), St. Michael’s School (RI), Community Prep (RI), San Francisco School (CA), School Year Abroad (MA), as well as National Coalition of Girls Schools (now ICGS), Mastery Transcript Consortium, and California Teacher Development Collaborative.

In 2023, Julia co-authored a comprehensive guide on Navigating the Head of School Transition.  

Education & Interests

Julia received a B.A. from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in studio art and art history and her MALS with a concentration in literature from Wesleyan University. She is a gardening warrior, dabbles in her art studio from time to time, and loves reading historical fiction. She and her musician husband John live on the farm coast of Rhode Island and have two grown children as well as two very active and awesome granddaughters.