Kim Wargo serves as Head of School of The Lab School of Washington, a school for 1st through 12th grade students with language-based learning differences in Washington, DC.
Prior to her headship at Lab, Kim has been head of three independent schools around the country, and has also had other senior leadership roles. Kim served as Head of School at the Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco, as Eugene McDermott Headmistress at The Hockaday School in Dallas, and as Head of School at GEMS World Academy in Chicago. Kim has also served as Associate Head of School at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans and as Head of the Upper School at the Louise S. McGehee School in New Orleans. Kim began her career in education at the Hill School of Ft. Worth, a school for students with learning differences, where she taught 2nd through 8th grade students and was named Teacher of the Year. Kim has also served as Director of College Counseling, History Department Chair, and middle and upper school history and government teacher.
At Burke’s, Kim focused on improving professional development for faculty and staff, building parent-school partnership through parent education and conversation, and examining all programs with a focus on mission-alignment. At Hockaday, Kim led the school through its Centennial celebrations and a successful Centennial Capital Campaign, which included building a state-of-the-art integrated Science and Arts building, while also developing a new strategic plan and guiding the school’s ISAS self-study. At GEMS, Kim focused on building school culture and enrollment, critical components of developing a successful new school. At Newman, Kim led a board-level task force to develop principles for civil discourse and a new mission statement highlighting the school’s commitment to inclusion, while also leading the school through a successful self-study. At McGehee, Kim was instrumental in leading the Upper School through the challenges associated with Hurricane Katrina. She also focused on growing the enrollment of the Upper School and fostering excellence in the academic, athletic, and extracurricular programs.
Since beginning her tenure at Lab in July of 2020, Kim has focused on guiding the school through the COVID-19 pandemic, while also working to align the school’s divisions around a schoolwide philosophy and culture. She spearheaded the creation of Lab’s Global Division, a virtual arm of the school’s program which is now serving students from many international and domestic locations. She is focused on improving student retention through graduation, often a challenge for LD schools. She is also working with the Board of Trustees to address long-term facilities and financial sustainability goals as the school approaches its 60th anniversary in 2027.
Kim currently serves on the board of The Heads Network. She has served on the boards of ERB, the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, the Southwest Preparatory Athletic Conference, and Aim High in San Francisco.
Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Louisiana State University, where she graduated summa cum laude with minors in history and English. She earned a master’s degree in History and is ABD from Tulane University.
Kim is married to Mark Cortez, a career math teacher in independent schools who currently teaches Upper School Math at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, VA. Kim and Mark have one daughter, Ida Cortez, a graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and a teacher at Maret School in Washington, DC. Kim enjoys traveling, entertaining, jogging, reading, cheering on her beloved Saints, and spending time with friends and family.