Read Vanessa’s first message as Head of School. Video included.
Introducing Head of School Vanessa Walker-Oakes
On July 12, 2021, Flintridge Prep proudly announced that Vanessa Walker-Oakes will be Head of School.
Vanessa is well-known to our community, having joined the Prep faculty in 2004 teaching World History and A.P. Art History. A teacher at heart, she has taught every year since. Vanessa served as Dean of the 12th Grade from 2005-2010 and was Director of College Counseling from 2010-2013. She was Co-Dean of Faculty from 2013-2015. Vanessa has been a member of the Admissions Committee since 2005 and has served as an advisor for several years in both our 7th and 9th grade Advisory Programs. She was the recipient of the Class of 1987 Award in 2008 and the Senior Class Award in 2009. In 2015, she was named Dean of Faculty. In 2020 she was promoted to Assistant Head for Student Life.
Vanessa has a B.A. in Fine Arts and History from Harvard College. She completed post-baccalaureate premedical courses at Harvard and the University of California, Los Angeles, spent a year as a research assistant at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and completed a year at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, before choosing to pursue teaching and postgraduate work in Art History. Vanessa earned an M.A. in Art History from UCLA, completed all coursework, and began writing her dissertation in the Ph.D. program in Critical Theory and Renaissance Art History, also at UCLA.
Outside Prep, Vanessa serves on the Board of Directors of Inner-City Arts, an organization providing arts education to underserved youth in Los Angeles County. Vanessa and her husband, Dan, an orthopaedic surgeon, have four sons, including two Prep alumni, Conrad ’18 and Bennett ’21, as well as a current Prep student, Elliott ’25. Her youngest son, Theodore, is about to begin 6th grade at Saint Mark’s School.
Latest Messages from the Head of School
In a letter to the Prep community, Kris Leslie, Flintridge Prep’s Board of Trustees Chair, welcomes Vanessa Walker-Oakes as the new Head of School and thanks Jim Pickett for his tireless service.