Blog Viewer

Unsung Hero: Julia Gabriele, St. Luke’s School

By Net Assets posted 16 days ago


Leadership |

Gabriele has modernized everything from campus facilities and risk management to human resources and benefits – all while making time for the students she used to teach.

The Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award is given to business officers who have made extraordinary contributions to their schools and exemplify exceptional integrity, knowledge and motivation. At the end of each school year, new Unsung Heroes receive their award from their head of school, often at a significant school occasion such as a board meeting or an all-school ceremony. What makes these Unsung Heroes so special? The highlights below come straight from their colleagues' nominations.

See a full list of the 2020 recipients. Stay tuned to for additional profiles.

Title: Associate Head of School and Chief Financial Officer
School: St. Luke’s School, New Canaan, Connecticut
Years in position: 12
Years in an independent school business office: 12

Superpower: Unparalleled commitment: “Julia began her independent school career as a teacher and has performed nearly every lead academic and administrative role at St. Luke's in her 32-year career, including director of admissions and communications, dean of studies and head of upper school. She knows every inch and every nuance of every program and initiative, and has played a leading hand in most of them. Through all of her CFO work, she has continued to teach, to take advisees and to care about the student experience. And, not for nothing, the students also love her.”

Power project manager: “Since assuming the role of CFO in 2008, Julia has led a massive campus building program with vision, creativity and skilled management of the building committee, architects, contractors and vendors. Though much of what Julia does is [behind the scenes], the transformative results of her efforts are visible to everyone. Her guiding hand has transformed St. Luke's physically, in the soundness of financial policies, and in its reputation as a forward-thinking school from which others can learn.”

Industry trailblazer: Gabriele led efforts to bring the strongest health insurance options and consortium purchasing to independent schools in Connecticut. 

Voice of reason: “Julia has a blend of vision and management skills that makes her invaluable. She finds solutions when I and others see none, and she creatively turns challenges into opportunities for growth and impact. Just as important, she is cool, measured and steady in a crisis, the wise voice that keeps a group pointed toward true north rather than veering into precipitous decisions in the heat of an uncharted moment. That is no less true in this time of pandemic.”

Pinch hitter: For six months, Gabriele served as acting head of school while Davis was on sabbatical, during which, “the school never missed a beat. Students, colleagues and parents saw her estimable skills on full display. Every school should be as fortunate as I have been to have a partner and friend such as Julia.”

See a full list of the 2020 recipients and read more about the Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award. Net Assets will post additional profiles of Unsung Heroes throughout the summer and fall — check in to learn more about other recipients.


Sign in to leave a comment