Information about the StratéGenius Team
Orpheus Crutchfield, President and Founder
Orpheus has over 30 years of experience working in and with independent schools across the country, and globally. His career has been devoted to helping independent schools work towards equity and inclusion, diversifying and training their personnel and boards, as well as cultivating and mentoring diverse educators for success and leadership. Orpheus’ experiences as a teacher, nonprofit administrator, trustee, parent of an independent school former student, and as an entrepreneur give him a unique perspective on, and a deep understanding of, the needs of independent schools. He is presently on several social justice nonprofit boards, and has served on five independent school boards. His network of teachers, administrators and school leaders is vast and relationships deep. Orpheus has appeared on CNN, NPR and in the San Francisco Chronicle for his work in attracting underrepresented groups to independent schools. He has a BA from UC Berkeley and Master’s work in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco.
Mary Rose Fernandez, VP for Recruitment, Partnerships and Strategy
Mary Rose joined StratéGenius in the spring of 2015. She started her education career as a teacher at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, TX. She then became the Western Regional Director of the Multicultural Alliance, an initiative by independent schools to develop a pipeline of diverse teachers through internships and fellowships. Mary Rose later co-founded and directed the TEAMS Program (Teacher Education for the Advancement of a Multicultural Society) at the University of San Francisco to recruit, train and develop teachers of color for urban public schools across California and Washington State. Serving 400 teachers a year, TEAMS was the most diverse teacher development program in the country. Mary Rose has served on several non-profit and school boards. She has a BA from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s Degree in Social and Cultural Studies from UC Berkeley. She met Orpheus 20 years ago at a job fair where he recruited her for her first independent school teaching job. Mary Rose serves on the Board of Trustees at French American International School and International High School of San Francisco. She is an independent school parent and lives with her family in San Francisco.
Ara Brown, Search Consultant
Ara Brown has worked for over 20 years at the middle school, high school, and collegiate levels. He started his career in 2000 as the Program Coordinator at the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. He then moved into independent schools and served in many positions including Director of Student Activities, Diversity Director, Associate Director of Admissions, Dean of Students, Head of Middle School, Head of Upper School, and Assistant Head of School. His career has brought him to boarding and day schools in western Massachusetts, southeast Michigan, southern California, and Washington D.C. where he helped found a K–12 private school. Ara has presented nationally on DEI issues, made a documentary on the experiences of people of color in independent schools, and has published articles on topics including pedagogy, recruitment practices, and pathways to headship for people of color. He served as a faculty member at the Kingswood-Oxford Leadership Institute for Educators of Color (KOLIEC) and the inaugural Building Opportunities for Leaders of Diversity (BOLD) Summit, both of which are dedicated to supporting educators of color advance their careers within independent schools. He also served as an editor for The Color of Excellence: Hiring and Keeping Teachers of Color in Independent Schools and as chair of the editorial board for Independent School magazine. Ara earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Sociology at Ursinus College, an M.A. in Organizational Psychology and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.
Julie Brown, Director of Operations and Search Logistics
Julie joined the StratéGenius team mid-2021, after being on the client end of our business while working in the Head of School's office at The School at Columbia University in New York City. After a move back to her roots in Southern California, she joined StratéGenius where she aligns her organizational, administrative and leadership experience with her continued passion for social justice with a focus on equity and inclusion in education. Prior to being at The School at Columbia University, Julie helped to launch, organize and shape 100 Resilient Cities, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, which helped cities across the world build resilience to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. Julie is a graduate of John Jay University, where she earned a BA in Culture Deviance.