Head of The Howard School Announces Retirement in 2022

“Over these many years under Ms. Cilella’s leadership, The Howard School has remained true to its core mission, and continues to be the only K-12 language-immersion school for students with learning differences in the City of Atlanta,” said Board Chair Steve Young.

Ms. Cilella joined The Howard School as Head of School on July 1, 2005. Under her leadership, The Howard School has experienced a tremendous amount of physical growth, beginning with the transition from the previous location on Ponce de Leon Avenue to the school’s current location on Atlanta’s westside, to the latest and very successful $14.3 million Opening Doors Capital Campaign. An expanded campus, including two new facilities—the Young High School and the Marifred Cilella Student Center— have provided the physical structure that gives each student the true experience of a comprehensive school. “I know that every time anyone is on the campus they can look to the center of it and see the Marifred Cilella Student Center (The Fred), a tribute to a great person with a warm heart who truly cares about everything that is The Howard School,” Mr. Young said.

Ms. Cilella has held a variety of different volunteer leadership positions during her time in Atlanta, including President of the Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools (AAAIS) in 2009-2010, Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) Board Member from 2011-2018, Board Member for the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) from 2013-2019, Board Member for the International Dyslexia Association Georgia Branch (IDA-GA) from 2006-2012, and Committee Member for the Beltline Subarea and Master Plan in 2010-2011. She currently serves as President of the Georgia Association of Private Schools for Exceptional Children (GAPSEC). Ms. Cilella was recognized numerous times as a Who’s Who in the country, was a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2009, and is a current member of the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta.

“It has been a privilege to lead, serve, and be a part of such a talented and passionate community,” said Ms. Cilella. “Together we have remained committed to our mission to provide a Howard School education to as many children with language-based learning differences as possible.”

Mr. Young said a national search will be conducted for a new Head of School.