Head Of School At Harpeth Hall Passes Away

Posted at 3:31 PM, Feb 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-19 23:50:44-05

School officials and students at Harpeth Hall gathered to remember their Head of School, Dr. Stephanie Balmer.

A candlelight vigil was held at the school Monday evening.  Students, faculty, and staff came together to honor Dr. Balmer.  She passed away over the weekend.

On Thursday, the chair of the Board of Trustees, Emily Cate Tidwell, notified families of Harpeth Hall students that Dr. Balmer had fallen ill with what was initially believed to be the flu.

Reports stated Balmer was a 14-year survivor of breast cancer. After she fell ill, recent tests showed she was experiencing additional complications from cancer.  She was 50 years old.

Tidwell released the following letter to families:

Our vibrant Head of School, Dr. Stephanie Balmer, has passed away. Surrounded by her loving family, she departed this life peacefully on Saturday, February 17, 2018. As we mourn this deep loss, we also celebrate the life of our inspiring leader. We will honor her legacy for all time to come. We were blessed to know her and call her our own.

Our hearts are with her husband, Lauren Balmer, and their daughter, Isabel Balmer ’20. Our community will surround them with ongoing love and support.

Plans for her celebration of life will be announced once they are finalized.

On Tuesday, school at Harpeth Hall will be delayed until 10 a.m., with students arriving between 9:40 a.m. and 10 a.m., so staff can prepare to support the students.

A Celebration of Life service will be held Thursday, Feb. 22 at 1:30 p.m. on the school's campus.  A memorial service for Dr. Balmer will take place Friday, Feb. 23 at 1:30 p.m. at St. George's Episcopal Church in Nashville.  Visitation will begin at noon.

School officials also announced a memorial fund has been established to honor Dr. Balmer's life. Donations may be made online at or mailed to the Harpeth Hall Advancement Office at 3801 Hobbs Road, Nashville, TN, 37215.