Born and raised in British Guiana (now Guyana), Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Mathematics, having completed her junior year abroad at The University of Sussex, UK. Whilst at Brown, she spent summers teaching in Mexico, New York and on a Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona. She taught mathematics at The Agnes Irwin School and whilst there, studied in the graduate education department of the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Master’s in Educational Philosophy from The University of Toronto, Canada and her Doctorate from St. Mary’s College of California with her dissertation concentration on the experience of female heads of NAIS schools. In 2018, she earned a Klingenstein Fellowship for Heads of Schools at Columbia University and in 2019 was elected to membership of the Heads Collegiate Forum. Dr Pernambuco-Wise has led Full-Service Schools in Florida, ran the residential life programme at Mid-Pacific Institute in Hawai`i and was a High School Head and Middle School Head at two schools in the San Francisco Bay area before her first Headship at Sea Crest School in Half Moon Bay, CA followed by an Acting Headship at Helios School (CA). She is an executive coach to school heads and senior administrators, a consultant with The Jane Group and began Headship at Wyndcroft School (PA) in July, 2021.
Dr Pernambuco-Wise has presented at numerous national and international conferences on topics such as online/blended learning, leadership, governance, boarding school life, school transformation, inclusion and full-service schools. She was a faculty member of NAIS’ Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads for 6 years and is currently on the faculty of THN’s Women in Leadership Seminar. She has served on the Boards of Trinity School (CA) and Archbishop Mitty High School (CA). She is the Secretary of the NAIS Board and serves on the boards of THN and the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools. She holds a third-degree black belt in Judo and was an international competitor and national champion for Guyana. During her years in Hawai`i, she danced hula, including competing in the highly selective Merrie Monarch Festival.