Aug. 03, 2001 Kaye Knoepfel has agreed to fill in for one year as headmistress of Antilles School, filling the spot left vacant by the unexpected death July 25 of headmaster Mark Marin.
Knoepfel, who retired in June after serving the school for 21 years, was, at the time of her retirement, head of the middle and upper schools.
Knoepfel said the decision to retire had not been easy and the decision to return was even more difficult.
"Going back was a bit more complicated," she said. "The school is so important in my life and to everyone there. There was no way I could … leave Antilles" leaderless.
Upon her retirement Marin told the Source, "Kaye and I see eye-to-eye with regard to education … and we both believe that children must be raised with solid values — to be honest, caring and tolerant." Working together for 20 years, Marin said, the two had developed an "almost unspoken sense of communication."
Knoepfel echoed those remarks Friday. "First of all Mark and I were friends. We were also partners in a team, along with Polly Watts and others, that made Antilles what it was."
They shared a common vision, she said.
Part of the complication of putting off her retirement for a year to give the board of trustees time to find the right person to replace Marin, she said, was "bringing my husband back from Vermont," where Knoepfel and her husband Richard had been looking forward to seeing the leaves change color in the fall for the first time in 20 years.
But Knoepfel credited her husband with knowing she couldn't turn her back on the request to lead the school through the loss of Marin, who had served for 22 years as headmaster.
"Richard said, 'I know you have to do it.'" Knoefel added, "He is so amazing."
He is also a smart attorney, she said. "He knows that what is good for me is good for us."
Knoepfel began her career at Antilles teaching first grade and eventually became dean of the faculty before assuming her most recent position.
When she retired, Marin had to replace her with two people. Enrollment had doubled in the time that Knoepfel served Antilles.
It was Marin who also said of Knoepfel, "She has been integral in maintaining the spirit and morale of the staff."