Inverness Associates
Supporting schools in sustainability, strategic planning, governance, and leadership mentoring.

Saving Anna Head School

As the former Head of Head-Royce School, I have long admired the iconic Anna Head School that was built beginning in 1892 by the founder, Anna Head. 

In late 2020 I was distressed to read in the San Francisco Chronicle about the University’s decision to close the significant Institute for the Study of Social Issues (ISSI) program that has done so much to advance diversity in higher education.  And I was especially concerned to read that ISSI “resides in a building that is falling apart,” that the “building that has been a strength for ISSI is now its downfall: the brown-shingled Anna Head building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is falling apart,” and that restoration would “run to the tens of millions of dollars.”

 When I became principal of Head-Royce in 1984, I quickly learned about the pioneering work of Anna Head, one of the first women to graduate from UC Berkeley, in 1879, who established a progressive, K-12 girls school that became nationally recognized for its mission of academic excellence and the development of young women leaders.  The school she built is listed on the National Register of Historic Places , is a Berkeley City Landmark, and serves as an iconic testament to the University’s commitment to women’s education. The University acquired the school property through right of eminent domain, thus forcing the school to move to Oakland in 1964, where it became the coeducational Head-Royce School.  Over the years I have spoken with countless Anna Head alumnae about their reverence for the school where they received a powerful education that inspired them to a life of service.  And I became convinced that this historic structure must be preserved.

A group of Friends of Anna Head School—alumnae; Head-Royce faculty, administration and board;  UC faculty, administration, and alumni; architects and builders; and members of the Berkeley community—has come together to urge that UC Berkeley preserve and restore the Anna Head School to meet the vital needs of the University.  I have had a long association with UC Berkeley and as principal of Head-Royce, I was proud that over 150 of my students enrolled at Cal.  I am grateful for the years I served as a Visiting Scholar from 2010-12, and I have enjoyed my service on the Library Board since 2009.  Out of love for the Anna Head School, and UC Berkeley, I am heading a campaign to Save Anna Head School.  Please visit the Anna Head School website ( to learn more about the school’s history, its architectural significance, Anna Head, and our campaign.  Please sign the petition and let me know if you can help our cause.

Paul Chapman