Menlo’s new Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Brooke Wilson replaces former director Beth Bishop who moved back to Massachusetts following eight years at Menlo. Wilson brings a unique perspective to the role from her time working at the Making Waves Education Program in Richmond, Calif., a non-profit helping place low-income students into private schools like Menlo.
Before joining the Menlo community, Wilson spent four years at Making Waves, assisting underrepresented students and learning about inequalities in the education system. “[At Making Waves] we did a lot of placement of our students into independent schools, and that’s how I became familiar with independent schools,” Wilson said.
She then worked at The Bay School of San Francisco for 10 years and served as the Director of Admissions for four more. According to Wilson, her career in admissions happened “by accident” when she took her first admissions role at The Bay School. She was planning on staying there for a year or two before pursuing another career, but ended up falling in love with her new role.
Now, Wilson is entering her 12th year working in admissions. “Once you become a school person, it’s really hard to think of better things to do,” she said.
Wilson was interested in joining Menlo specifically because of its financial aid program. “Having [that financial aid program] to draw families in is amazing and really unusual,” she said. Wilson is passionate about making quality education more accessible to those who may not be able to afford it. “The kind of education that we offer at independent schools should really be available to everybody,” she said.
During her on-campus interview last fall, Wilson met a few Menlo students and was impressed with their maturity and thoughtfulness, as well as their love for the school. “Something that’s really important to me as an admissions director is to create and maintain kind communities, so I felt really confident about that [after meeting with Menlo students],” Wilson said. The nature of the Menlo community was a convincing factor in Wilson’s decision to begin working here.
Wilson hopes to help Menlo continue to diversify socioeconomically, racially and ethnically. She also wants private schools such as Menlo to be more oriented towards a public purpose. “I hope that independent schools can start turning more outward and supporting other public schools with resources and opportunities,” Wilson said.
Wilson is aware of how important her predecessor, Beth Bishop, was to Menlo’s growth as a school. “I feel like I have these big shoes to fill,” Wilson said. “I almost am not even thinking about [this job] as a fresh start this year, I’m thinking of it as a continuation of a legacy,” she said. “I feel like I’ve inherited something really special.”