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From the Head of School

Andy Sperling


MA; Educational Administration,
Northern Illinois University,
DeKalb, IL

Certification; Nonprofit Management, School Leadership
Northwestern University,
Evanston, IL

BS; PK-8 Education,
Mathematics Specialization
Illinois State University,
Normal, IL

Other Information

Employed Since



Andy has been an independent school educator and leader for more than twenty years at Lake Forest Country Day School on the North Shore of Chicago.  Throughout his tenure, he has remained dedicated to teaching mathematics with a focus on fostering and encouraging confident critical thinkers. 

Andy led the 5-8 Upper School at LFCDS as the Division Head there since 2012. A few of his successes include the development of a school-wide STEAM program, SEL curriculum, FLL Robotics, and faculty diversity and inclusion training.

Andy is a passionate educator and storyteller.  He and his wife, Hilary, who is from Baltimore, have three children between them. Andy’s son, Tim, is an architect working at a firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, while Hilary’s daughter, Avery, lives in New York and is pursuing her MBA at Johns Hopkins University. Her son, Ethan, is majoring in Information Sciences at The University of Maryland.

Andy is a recreational cyclist, NFL enthusiast, and contemporary jazz aficionado! He and Hilary love to travel, exercise, and take cooking lessons together.

Welcome from the Head of School

Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to explore Harbor Country Day School!

There are many reasons families choose independent schools for their children. Whether you are seeking change or simply contemplating a best-fit option, there are qualities that you are likely prioritizing. During my first visit to HCDS, I was struck by the authenticity of the mission, as well as the differentiating factors that I have come to know are deeply embedded in the culture. Harbor cherishes childhood, cultivates wonder, and inspires confident learners and leaders. This is our mission – and it is a reflection of what makes Harbor such a caring community. These words are our guide and have established a vision and framework for everything we do (and each decision we make) at Harbor Country Day School.

The most valuable learning takes place when a child feels safe, connected, and challenged. There must exist a dynamic rapport between teachers and students that affords each child regular opportunities to feel stretched; to push themselves just outside of their comfort zone. Great schools aspire to establish a child’s pattern of self-reflection as a way of shining a light on their evolving self-confidence. This happens in a school in which students feel deeply known; where a joyful spirit exists, and where the learning process is cultivated. At Harbor Country Day School, we celebrate this especially genuine connection that the faculty and staff create each day with great pride. 

The Harbor community is a vibrant one rooted in partnership and the spirit of acceptance. At HCDS, we believe that celebrating differences enriches the lives of everyone, and that embracing the essence of each individual makes us stronger.  We honor different perspectives, cultures, ways of life and the beliefs people bring with them each day. Together, we strive to build students of strong character who make a positive difference in the world; who listen first, and who approach new situations with curiosity and kindness.

Our graduates often reflect upon the school’s motto, “Sine labore nihil” as a life lesson learned -- that nothing comes without hard work. What you can expect from Harbor’s curriculum is a well-balanced model that contains both traditional and progressive approaches. Students need comprehensive, foundational experiences in reading, writing, and mathematics while expanding critical-thinking and abstract reasoning skills. This is why we have blended such programs as Singapore Math and Teachers College of Reading and Writing Program into our program. Finally, children thrive when they discover ways to navigate and manage relationships. Harbor students grow their social emotional tool kit and discover their independence by learning meaningful ways to express their best selves through service learning, SEL activities, public speaking, and interactive play.

Harbor inspires creativity and innovation. We are thrilled to be expanding our facilities to include a STEAM center so that we can further engage our students in the banter of problem-solving. Our focus is beginning from a place of empathy while allowing students to prototype, ideate, and create solutions. By empowering children as engineers and artists, we are setting the stage for them to carve their own future paths while honing risk-taking skills. 

I hope I have sparked your interest! We are so pleased that you have discovered HCDS and invite you to spend some time exploring our website. More importantly, we hope you have a chance to experience Harbor in person by scheduling a visit to campus. We look forward to getting to know your family!

With warm regards,