Ten facts about Coreen Hester (ASL 2007-17), ASL's seventh Head of School

Ten facts about Coreen Hester (ASL 2007-17), ASL's seventh Head of School


During the 2020-21 school year, we're celebrating ASL’s 70th anniversary with a series of 70 stories highlighting our school’s vibrant past, present and future.


Written by Isabel Daly ’15

Coreen at the 2017 PCA's "One of a Kind" auction

  1. Coreen is the only head who has been part of our community’s “boomerang” population, meaning she joined the School for a time, left, and came back again. In her first stint at ASL, from 1995 to 1997, Coreen served as high school principal. Her children, Tyler ’02 and Molly ’04, spent two memorable years as Eagles and remain proud alumni.
    Coreen enjoying cake with some high school students during her tenure as HS principal 
  2. Coreen is a true California girl. Born and raised in the Golden State’s Central Valley, she earned her BA and MA from Stanford and was head of school at the Hamlin School in San Francisco for 10 years prior to joining ASL. She now lives in Corte Madera, California.
    A young Coreen with her signature smile 
  3. Mrs. Hester is the eldest daughter of an almond and grape farmer and often tells stories about growing up on a farm.
  4. Before she taught high school English and launched her career in education, Coreen was a summer lifeguard. Among her other roles were coach, advisor, college counselor and recruiter. 
  5. Coreen loves jigsaw puzzles! 
  6. In partnership with the ASL Board of Trustees, Coreen steered the New Frontiers capital campaign, the School’s most ambitious and successful campaign to date, transforming our campus into a world-class facility with a pool, a community arts building, improved science labs and increased endowment for student financial assistance. 
    Coreen was always game to dress up at the LS Halloween Assembly
  7. 5:20 am was a typical start to the day for Coreen. She was known for sending emails around the clock, and some questioned whether she ever slept! 
  8. Coreen is a voracious reader, and 19th-century British and American literature is her specialty.
  9. Speechwriting and public speaking are also passions of Coreen, who recited Henry James’ advice, “Be kind, be kind, be kind” at nearly every student assembly. During her leaving ceremony in 2017, the Lower School presented Coreen with “1000 acts of kindness,” a heartwarming display of good deeds performed by students. Kindness continues to be the cornerstone of Mrs. Hester’s educational philosophy.
    Coreen was overjoyed to be presented with 1000 acts of kindness at her leaving ceremony in 2017
  10. Coreen loves the theater. During her time in London, she saw hundreds of plays (including Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet at the Barbican). She didn’t just frequent the Old Vic and the Globe; during her time as head, she made a point to see every High School play twice, attend every Middle School concert, and play the piano for the Lower School, among attending other arts performances. Well over 150 events!
    Coreen with her children Tyler '02 and Molly '04. The three celebrated Molly's graduation from Boston University, where she earned her master's in 2015