Lisa Joel
November 29, 2018

Lisa Joel, longtime educator and coach, named athletic director

She will succeed Leon Modeste, who after 32 years at PA announced his plans to retire in June 2019

Veteran faculty member, varsity coach, and director of enrollment management, Lisa Joel will become Phillips Academy’s next Director of Athletics. She will succeed Leon Modeste, who after 32 years at PA announced his plans to retire in June 2019. Joel brings to the position an exceptional skillset honed during 26 years working with students, families, and colleagues across the school.

“I am thrilled to name Lisa as Andover’s next Athletic Director,” said Head of School John Palfrey P’21. “In addition to her many strengths as a coach, teacher, and administrator, she inspires us with her commitment to our community’s values and her unwavering focus on what is best for students.”

Currently the Director of Enrollment Management in the Office of Admission and Financial Aid, where she has held a progression of roles since 1995, Joel is also the liaison to varsity coaches and coordinator of the post-graduate program. As head coach of girls’ varsity soccer since 1998, she has worked with hundreds of Andover athletes, guiding their individual growth and team development.

Joel follows a string of legendary coaches and educators who have served as AD over the last three decades. In addition to Modeste, Mike Kuta (2007-2014) and Martha Fenton (2000-2007) both served in the role and remain members of the Department of Physical Education.

Joel’s philosophy on athletics draws from the school’s values and her own versatile experience. “Continuing to develop an athletic program that emphasizes skill-building as much as character and team culture is essential,” she said.

The role of athletics at Andover must remain an essential part of the educational program for every student.

Lisa Joel

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A graduate of Amherst College, where she captained womens’ soccer, basketball, and lacrosse teams, Joel twice earned the Friends of Amherst Athletics award, given to the scholar-athlete who contributes most to team and college. Likewise, her Andover contributions, including those as a coach and colleague, former house counselor and cluster dean, reflect her desire to cultivate a positive culture based on integrity and respect.

Making the announcement on campus, Palfrey expressed thanks to those faculty and staff who offered feedback on each finalist, especially members of the search committee whose process “netted a strong candidate pool of seasoned athletic directors and educators, resulted in three exceptional finalists, and gave the community the opportunity to meet with and offer feedback on each.”

He also congratulated Modeste on his record of success over 32 years—14 of which comprise two terms as athletic director. “We are grateful for Coach Mo’s passionate advancement of ‘athletics for all’ and look forward to Lisa beginning her own legacy of Big Blue sportsmanship, athleticism, and education in this next chapter.”

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