Abbey College Cambridge Welcomes New Principal

Abbey College Cambridge has consolidated its senior leadership team with the appointment of Dr Elena (Ellen) Hesse, who will take up the position of Principal from the start of the Summer 2023 Term.

With a wealth of senior leadership experience spanning eight years, Ellen joins the leading independent boarding college from St Clare’s, Oxford, where she held the role of Vice Principal. Prior to this, Ellen was Head of Pastoral Care and Head of Boarding at The Royal School in Surrey where she also taught science, and has worked at Cobham Hall School in Kent after starting her teaching career in the UK at King’s Ely.

Ellen obtained a Master’s Degree from Matej Bel University in Slovakia, where she majored in Biology and English, and has a Doctorate Degree in the Theory and Practice of Teaching from Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia.

In addition to extensive experience of working with international students, Ellen is also an experienced ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) Inspector, and a fully-qualified Human Resources professional (Associate CIPD). Throughout her career, Ellen has featured as a speaker and panellist at several Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) events; she was invited to speak at the BSA Inclusion and Diversity Conference 2023 on the topic of ‘Global Inclusiveness’, has contributed to the BSA Conference entitled ‘Sharpening Our Focus’, and was involved in the BSA’s Quality Diversity Inclusivity Professional Practice Day. Furthermore, Ellen has also shared her expertise at a British Association of Independent Schools with International Students (BAISIS) Conference, ‘Supporting International Students in British Independent Schools’.

Throughout her school years, Ellen secured a place at a prestigious school for elite young athletes, the Sports Grammar School in Slovakia.  Outside of the classroom Ellen is an avid runner, competing in marathons and ultra-trials. She has a keen interest in different cultural perspectives and travels extensively with her husband Oliver, with many countries visited including South Africa, Oman, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, the USA, Cuba and most European countries.

Commenting on her appointment as Principal Dr Elena Hesse said: “I feel very privileged to be appointed Principal of Abbey College Cambridge. The college encapsulates my own personal passions: academic rigour, personal development and diversity.

“The students I met on my visit to Abbey College Cambridge and at events such as the Model United Nations Day and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity and Social Justice conference, were self-assured young people who spoke eloquently and impressed me with their high levels of motivation and engagement. I am looking forward to working alongside such a fantastic and high-performing team.”

Abbey College Cambridge, based at Homerton Gardens, Cambridge, is renowned for teaching and supporting both UK and international students, in a community that is energised by the love of learning. The college is a place where students feel at home, where they can make friends from all over the world, share unforgettable experiences and go on to achieve amazing things together.

The college specialises in helping students from across the world achieve the personal, social and academic growth needed for success at the UK’s best universities.

The campus boasts impressive contemporary facilities including 410 single and 8 twin en-suite student bedrooms with full board facilities, 230-seater dining room, common rooms and social areas, 42 fully equipped classrooms, 12 state-of-the-art science laboratories, two libraries, two Art studios, student gym and two dedicated music performance studios.


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