New Head: Envisioning the next 75 years for Verde Valley School

Ben Lee, with his wife Lixue Lin, is the new head of school at Verde Valley School. (Contributed photo)

Ben Lee, with his wife Lixue Lin, is the new head of school at Verde Valley School. (Contributed photo)

Verde Valley School celebrated its 75th anniversary in June of this year. Over the school’s three-quarters of a century – so far – the lives of thousands of students and teachers have been transformed. And we are just getting started.

Verde Valley School began as a love story. Hamilton Warren, fresh out of Harvard on the eve of World War II, joined the military, serving with distinction until the end of the conflict when he and Barbara – daughter of a British coffee plantation owner in Guatemala – married and set out to transform the world through a unique educational vision.

Ham and Babs created an international school in the beauty and safety of the spectacular red rocks of Sedona, providing a refuge where students find acceptance, challenge, support, and world-class education.

The Warrens established the guiding principles that anchor the lives of VVS students and faculty. Even now, we live them 24/7/365:

• Academic Excellence

• World Citizenship

• Environmental Stewardship

•Service to Others

• The Value of Physical Labor

Following Paul Amadio, whose departure at the end of June marked the second-longest tenure for a Head of School since Ham Warren himself, it is my honor to join the VVS community and the larger VOC/Sedona community as we embark on a next chapter of collaboration, growth, and community building.

Among my goals is to foster an even stronger bond between VVS and the wonderful community that surrounds it.

Our school’s commitment is to cultivate global citizens, environmental stewards, and servant leaders who possess not only exceptional academic abilities but also a deep sense of compassion, resilience, and intercultural understanding.

Our aim is to nurture and empower the next generation of leaders, innovators, and change-makers who will shape our world for the better.

As the new Head of Verde Valley School, my vision is to build upon the strong foundation that has been laid by others long before me. I believe in the power of collaboration and open communication, and I am dedicated to forging meaningful partnerships with our neighbors and community organizations.

Together, we can create a harmonious and supportive environment that enriches the lives of our students, enhances the vitality of the Verde Valley, and fosters a sense of belonging for all.

Please engage with me and share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Our school’s success depends not only on the dedication of our talented faculty and staff but also on the collective wisdom and involvement of our community. We are excited to explore opportunities for collaboration, whether it be through mentorship programs, community service initiatives, or cultural exchanges that bring the richness of diverse perspectives into our school.

Our doors are always open, and we welcome your involvement in shaping the educational experiences of our students. May this shared journey be filled with many possibilities and lasting friendships.

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