NEXT Up: Meet the new Head of The Ellis School Macon Finley

Macon Finley

Head of The Ellis School, Macon Finley, during the first week of school.

Fresh on the heels of moving to Pittsburgh from St. Louis to become the 15th Head of The Ellis School, Macon Finley shares what she loves about her newly adopted hometown — from her favorite burger spot to hosting coffee dates with parents. Macon, who began her tenure on July 1, 2017, joined Ellis after working in various positions at the John Burroughs School in St. Louis, Missouri. Finley has also worked in the corporate sector for Ralston Purina and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and has been active in community leadership roles. Macon and her husband Peter — who have one daughter and two sons — live with their beloved Golden Retriever, Scout, in Pittsburgh’s East End.

What events are you attending this week?

I start every day with an early morning walk with my dog, Scout. I’ll pick up coffee and take some time to read the paper before walking to school across the Mellon Park hill.

On Wednesday, I’ll attend our biweekly assembly for Middle and Upper School girls. This assembly will feature author Jake Oresick speaking about “The Schenley Experiment.” After work on Wednesday, I’ll join my husband, Peter, for a quick dinner at our favorite burger spot — BRGR, in East Liberty. I have a crush on their “make-your-own” burger menu.

Macon Finley

Head of The Ellis School, Macon Finley.

Thursday will be a special day, as we’ll host a curriculum night for all our Middle and Upper School parents. It’s such a great way for parents to get a sense of their daughters’ experience at Ellis.

I’ll host a coffee for parents on Friday morning. This is a fun way for me to get to know the parents in my school community, since this is my first year at Ellis. I’ll end my day with the Lower School Family Fun Fest — an annual favorite in the Ellis community.

Saturday brings an early morning walk to Five Points Artisan Bakeshop, which has quickly become my favorite spot for amazing croissants and fresh bread. Peter and I will continue our exploration of our new city by checking out the Andy Warhol Museum on Saturday afternoon. Sunday we’ll venture to Sand Hill Berries and Greendance Winery.

Favorite Pittsburgh view?

The Grandview Overlook. I’ve been there many times already, and the view always takes my breath away.

Last photo you took on your phone?

My daughter trying on her wedding dress. We’re planning a wedding for next September!

We arrive for dinner. What’s on the menu?

Grilled salmon with a sweet and spicy rub, fresh asparagus, arugula salad with feta, and fresh bread.

Macon Finley

Head of The Ellis School Macon Finley.

What Pittsburgh museum do you visit the most?

Carnegie Museum of Art.

Iconic Pittsburgh place you’ve still never visited?

Duquesne Incline.

At what Pittsburgh restaurant do you always order dessert

Mercurio’s on Walnut Street in Shadyside. They have killer gelato — the chocolate peanut butter cup is to die for.

Best part of your job?

Hands-down, the very best part of my job is seeing Ellis girls arrive at school every morning. I love the enthusiasm they bring to school, and the warmth with which they greet each other and their teachers.

Who is the last person you texted (and what was it about?)

My son, who is a new teacher in Oakland, California. It was about teaching!

What’s your Pittsburgh comfort food?

Macaroni and cheese. I thought I knew what great mac and cheese tasted like before I moved here, but Pittsburgh beats other cities hands-down. Try Harris Grill on Ellsworth!

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