University appoints Lab director with history in elite schools


Westtown school

In an email to parents, faculty and alumni, Victoria Jueds was named the next director of the Laboratory Schools.

Amanda Cassel and Caroline Hohner

Victoria “Tori” Jueds will take over as the Lab director of schools Aug. 16. 

Ms. Jueds will finish the year at her current job as head of school at Westtown School, a pre-K to Grade12 college preparatory day and boarding school in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where she has served since 2017. 

Ms. Jueds was chosen for the role by University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer and Provost Ka Yee Lee. The Search Advisory Committee led by Jason Tyler, a 1989 alumnus, board member and Lab parent; and Daniel Abebe, vice provost, advanced Ms. Jueds and one other finalist last month after the search began last fall. 

Ms. Jueds graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1991 and earned her bachelor’s degree at Harvard College, graduating magna cum laude. She is a 2001 graduate of Harvard Law School. Ms. Jueds worked as a law clerk and on civil liberties cases from 2001 to 2006, before teaching at George Washington University Law School. From 2007-2017 she was assistant, associate and then the senior associate dean of undergraduate students at Princeton University.

According to Interim Director David Magill, what distinguished Ms. Jueds as a candidate were her experiences in education and in diversity, equity and inclusion work in the legal field. Mr. Magill described that as head of school at Westtown, Ms. Jueds led the transition to distance learning and return to in-person learning.

“She’s already dealt with some of those issues at her own school — the going remote and in person and also having a boarding school associated with it all, so she’s experienced,” Mr. Magill said.

Samuel Nekrosius, a middle school humanities teacher and a faculty representative on the Search Advisory Committee, said he was struck by Ms. Jueds’ priorities and experiences in concrete applications to anti-racist DEI work and progressive education.

“She spoke really passionately about the value of academic rigor in ways that were reaffirming for me as a teacher,” Mr. Nekrosius said. “It’s something that I care deeply about, but I also recognize that our internal dialogue as a school has changed, and it’s become this very loaded word. For her to value the notion of challenging students in ways that are compassionate and student-centered but challenging — that to me was something that stood out.”

Ms. Jueds also met with community leaders in interviews conducted with the final two candidates. She also toured Lab’s campus, according to the announcement. 

All-School President Omar Siddiqui also participated in the interviews. According to Omar, student leaders were impressed by Ms. Jueds’ experience in DEI work and commitment to transparency.

“She seemed like to really, really care what the students had to say,” Omar said, “and she kind of had a clear vision of where she wanted Lab to be and where she wanted Lab to go.”


The full email from President Zimmer and Provost Lee is below.

We are pleased to announce that Victoria (Tori) Jueds has been appointed as Director of the Laboratory Schools, commencing August 16, 2021.  

Tori is currently Head of School at Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania, a college preparatory day and boarding school for students pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Before joining Westtown in 2017, she served for 10 years in a variety of roles at Princeton University focused on the student experience, rising to Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students. She previously held the positions of Teacher, Resident Faculty, and Dorm Head at the summer session of Phillips Exeter Academy and was a lecturer at George Washington University Law School. Earlier in her career, she worked as an attorney in New York and Washington, D.C., litigating cases involving civil rights and civil liberties issues.

 At Westtown, Tori oversaw the creation of a long-range strategic vision focused on academic development, sustainable maximization of campus resources, and diversity and inclusion. Under her leadership, Westtown undertook significant program innovations, including the expansion of world language choice, a three-divisional approach to visual and performing arts, the introduction of history electives from diverse perspectives, expanded support for student mental health, and a deep dive into curricular and co-curricular science offerings. Tori also was instrumental in strengthening donor relations and increasing alumni engagement.

 Tori is committed to academic excellence and collaborative decision-making processes. The Search Advisory Committee was impressed by her deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a learning model that promotes character building and innovation. Westtown’s curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, teamwork, and service, which aligns strongly with the educational approach and culture at Lab. Colleagues with whom she has worked at Westtown and Princeton praise her commitment to rigorous student-centered education, her ability to bring people together, and her empathy and exceptional leadership qualities. Tori is very excited about the richness and quality of the Lab education and the opportunity to collaborate with the entire community to enhance the student experience at Lab. She had an opportunity to spend time with some of our elected student leaders and to visit the campus. Her experiences made her even more eager to join Lab and the broader University of Chicago community.

Tori holds a JD from Harvard Law School and an AB in History & Literature from Harvard College.

The appointment was made with the input of the Lab Search Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Jason Tyler, LAB ’89, a member of the Laboratory Schools Board, and parent of a Lab alumnus and current U-High student, and Vice Provost Daniel Abebe, who has oversight of Lab in the Office of the Provost. We thank the entire Advisory Committee for their careful and hard work.

 We would like to thank all of you who were engaged and active participants in our search process. Your feedback informed the search in many important ways, and we are grateful for your commitment to Lab.

We also would like to express deep appreciation to David Magill, who has led the Schools since May, tirelessly working to help Lab deliver an excellent education while navigating the uncertainty of the pandemic. We will continue to benefit from Dave’s deep experience, strong connections to the University and community, and wisdom about Lab as he facilitates a smooth transition for Tori as the next Director.  

 Please join us in welcoming Tori to Lab and thanking Dave for his service.