Ms. Kim Wargo – Commissioner

Kim Wargo serves as the Associate Head of School at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, where she has oversight over the day-to-day operations of the school.  Prior to stepping into this role in 2017, Kim served as Head of School at three independent schools around the country.  Most recently, she was the Head of School at GEMS World Academy in Chicago, a new international co-educational school. Prior to her work at GEMS, Kim was Eugene McDermott Headmistress at The Hockaday School in Dallas from 2011 through 2015 and Head of School at the Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco from 2008 through 2011.  Previously, she was Head of the Upper School at the Louise S. McGehee School in New Orleans, where she also served as Director of College Counseling, History Department Chair, and middle and upper school teacher.  In 1996, she was named Teacher of the Year at the Hill School of Ft. Worth, where she taught 2nd through 8th grade students.

At GEMS, Kim focused on building school culture and enrollment, critical components of developing a successful new school.  At Hockaday, Kim led the school through its Centennial celebrations and a successful Centennial Capital Campaign, while also developing a new strategic plan and guiding the school’s ISAS self-study.  At Burke’s, Kim focused on improving professional development for faculty and staff, building parent-school partnership through parent education and conversation, and examining all programs with a focus on mission-alignment.  At McGehee, Kim was instrumental in leading the Upper School through the challenges of Hurricane Katrina.  She also focused on growing the enrollment of the Upper School and fostering excellence in the academic, athletic, and extracurricular programs.

Kim currently serves on the board of ERB, and has been a Vice President of The Heads Network and a board member of the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest and the Southwest Preparatory Athletic Conference.  She served on the board of Aim High in San Francisco, and on the teacher advisory board of the National D-Day Museum.

Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Louisiana State University, where she graduated summa cum laude with minors in history and English.  She earned a master’s degree in History and is ABD from Tulane University.

Kim is married to Mark Cortez, math teacher at Newman.  Kim and Mark have one daughter, Ida Cortez, who is a senior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.  Kim enjoys traveling, entertaining, jogging, reading, cheering on her beloved Saints, and spending time with friends and family.

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