About the Head of School

Rachel Stevens Deems was named Spartanburg Day School’s head of school in 2012. For more than 17 years, she has shared an engaging and inspiring life’s work with students, colleagues and families in three independent schools. She previously served as head of school of The Westfield School in Georgia and as director of development at Stratford Academy, also in Georgia.

Prior to her independent school tenure, she was a college and university administrator serving two institutions: Judson College, her undergraduate alma mater, and Mercer University. At both of these institutions, she gained valuable leadership and administrative experience in the areas of advancement, student affairs, strategic planning and finance.

Beyond the K-12 schools and colleges she has served, Rachel has been involved as a volunteer for church, civic and humanitarian organizations in the cities she has called home. In Spartanburg, she is president of the board of trustees of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, has been an education team leader for the United Way of the Piedmont, and, through the Day School, supports a partnership with Globalbike, a local non-profit providing student and faculty trips to Tanzania. She is a Paul Harris Fellow and active member of the Rotary Club of Spartanburg, as well as a 2015-16 Spartanburg Regional Hospital System Fellow. Formerly a member of the board of trustees for the Georgia Independent School Association, she currently serves on the board of trustees for the Southern Association of Independent Schools.

A native Alabamian, Rachel earned a bachelor of arts from Judson College and a master of arts from The University of Alabama. She and her husband Ken have been married for 35 years, and they are the parents of a young adult daughter, Morgan Guice, an independent school lifer at Stratford Academy and a 2013 graduate of The University of Alabama. Rounding out their family are two loveable dogs, Alice and the granddog, Jingles.

When asked about her approach to work and other interests, Rachel says, “Every day is an opportunity to learn something new or at a deeper level, the kind of life-long learning that we at the Day School model for our students. I am energized and challenged when working together with students, faculty and families toward shared goals. Student success, in its many forms and at all ages, is an endless source of delight. Time away from school finds me puttering in my flowers. A little known fact about me is that I am a tree farmer and I am always at peace on the back of a good horse. My parents encouraged what has been a life-long love of music, history and literature. My music play list is long and varied – Beethoven to James Taylor, Allman Brothers to Benjamin Britten and many more genres including sacred music and jazz, New Orleans style. I am an avid reader and long for more hours to read for pleasure. I collect stories of Southern eccentricities, of which there seems to be an endless supply. Our family enjoys unstructured days at the beach, and my daughter and I always have another art museum on our list to visit.”