[ ] As a high school physics teacher at The Westminster Schools, the prestigious co-educational Christian academy in Atlanta, Ann Marie Krejcarek had no way of knowing that one of her students would ultimately co-star in the highest-grossing R-rated comedy in U.S. movie history. But as faculty liaison to the business manager and director of studies for the high school, in addition to part-time teaching duties, Krejcarek could see that her time at Westminster was preparing her for a future beyond the classroom.

[ ] “Westminster had recently received a $40 million endowment,” says Krejcarek, who taught Ed Helms of “The Hangover” fame (and TV’s “The Office”). “I was learning how this organization worked, how the school functioned financially, and I was using my administrative skills.” By 1997, after nearly nine years in Atlanta, Krejcarek was ready to “make the jump to the next level.”

[ ] That leap took Krejcarek, husband Randy and their three children to Boca Raton, where she would become head of the upper school at Saint Andrew’s School. A decade later, in 2007, following the retirement of George Andrews, Krejcarek would become the first female headmaster in Saint Andrew’s history—a position that requires her to manage everything from curriculum, staffing and human resources to the independent college preparatory school’s $30 million budget ... all while reporting to a board of directors.

[ ] “What scared me was whether I was going to be able to do the work I needed to do while also breaking these glass ceilings,” she says of the school and its 1,315 students in grades JK through 12. “When people think of a leader and CEO of an institution, they don’t always think they’re going to encounter a woman. ... I thought, ultimately, that it was going to take more courage to stay than leave—and it would make me a better leader. There wasn’t going to be a honeymoon here. But I believe in learning from the school of hard knocks.”

[ ] Despite following one of the most popular headmasters in school history, Krejcarek quickly distinguished herself with boundless energy and forward thinking that continues to raise Saint Andrew’s already considerable profile. Under her watch, the Moabery Early Years Learning Center became “LEED for Schools” certified at the Gold Level, the first school in Florida to receive that designation from the U.S. Green Building Council; in 2010, Saint Andrew’s received International Baccalaureate World School designation; and, last year, the school gained membership in the exclusive Round Square organization.

[ ] Round Square, with only 80-plus members worldwide, is steeped in the theories of educational philosopher Kurt Hahn, who felt it was imperative for pre-college students to experience life’s challenges head-on to better prepare for tomorrow. Student do this by embracing “IDEALS”—internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership and service. In fall 2013, Saint Andrew’s will host the World Round Square Conference; more than 1,000 educators and students from Australia, Europe, Asia and the Americas will descend on Boca Raton for curriculum prepared by the host school.

[ ] “Hosting the Round Square Conference has the potential to impact the entire city,” Krejcarek says of the nine-day event. “Our students who’ve participated—one of the speaker at the Round Square event in England was the Queen—have called it life changing. It’s a way to view the world through the eyes of people living around the world, and then bringing those shared ideas together. It’s going to be an amazing event.”

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