Dear Sacred Heart community,
I hope your summer is off to a great start. As incoming and outgoing Board Chairs Kathleen O’Connor and Chris Ryan communicated in their last letter, I am writing with important updates on the work of the Head of School Search Committee. To summarize our work to date, we have formed an Advisory Committee, selected a search consultant and completed a Head of School position description and a timeline for the Search Committee’s work. I offer more detail on each of these below. Today, we are asking each one of you to take time to complete the following survey to inform and support the work of the Search Committee and our newly hired search consultant, RG175.
Please respond to this survey by July 1: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SHGSURVEY
The role of the Advisory Committee is to help the Search Committee fulfill its responsibility to find and recommend an outstanding Head of School candidate to the Board of Trustees for its approval. The Advisory Committee has already begun its work by assisting us in developing our position description and will play a key role in attracting promising candidates to apply for the position and in evaluating and interviewing finalist candidates. In forming the Advisory Committee, we sought individuals who represent well all constituencies of the School, including faculty and staff, alumnae, parents, and students.
The Advisory Committee consists of the following fourteen persons. We are grateful for their willingness to serve:
- Head of Upper School - Jennifer P. Bensen H'15, P'10
- Head of Middle School and Assistant Head of School - Dave Olson
- Assistant Head of Middle School - John Zwack
- Head of Lower School - Christine D'Alessandro
- Chair of English Department, Upper School English teacher - Dr. William Mottolese
- Director of Center for Research, Teaching and Learning; Assistant Head, PreK-12 Academic Programs and Curriculum; Upper School English teacher - Linda Vasu
- Co-Chair of Science Department, STEAM Advisory Board member - Marion Kieltyka
- Upper School theology, literature, and world languages teacher - John Martone
- President, Alumnae Association - Margot Kearney Navins '02
- Chair of Parents' Association - Siobhan Toohey P'22, '24, '25
- President of Student Council - Sally Carter '20
- Trustee and Head of Fairfield Prep - Fr. Thomas Simisky
- Former Trustee - Lisa Fallon '89, P'22, '25
- Former Trustee - Neil Augustine P'22
Search Consultant and Survey
The Search Committee has selected RG175’s Tom Hudnut and Arlyce Seibert (rg175.com) to assist us in our search process. Tom and Arlyce distinguished themselves during our extensive evaluation of six search consulting firms. Both Tom and Arlyce have served as Heads of School for many years, at Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles, California and at the Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan respectively. We are confident that Tom and Arlyce can help us run an outstanding search process and look forward to working with them in the months ahead. We ask that you take time to help them and the Search Committee by completing this survey no later than July 1.
In consultation with the Advisory Committee, the Search Committee is happy to share our completed Head of School position description, which is available here. As you will see, we are focused on finding a new Head of School with the following important qualifications, among others. First, the ideal candidate must embody and articulate our School’s mission consistent with that of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Second, the candidate we seek is a proven instructional leader – that is, a great teacher – with demonstrated excellence in other areas of school operations. Third, we are looking for a candidate with outstanding communications skills and the capacity to attract, retain, and develop outstanding faculty and staff members, who can help us deliver the outstanding education our students and families deserve. Fourth, the Sacred Heart Network and the Board of Trustees require that our next school leader be a practicing Catholic with a vibrant faith, who will serve as the spiritual leader of our Sacred Heart community. Finally, we are searching for a new Head of School who demonstrates an understanding of, an appreciation for, and a capacity to communicate effectively the teachings of the Catholic Church, while also having a genuine respect for religious freedom and the faith and religious beliefs of others.
We will post this position description on our website, and our search consultant will use it to source and recruit outstanding candidates who are a good fit for the role. We encourage you to share this job description with potential candidates and ask them to apply for the position or request more information by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Search Committee has laid out the following timeline for executing the Head of School search:
- June 2019: Search Committee posts and distributes position description, following consultation with Advisory Committee. Search Committee posts the position description to the Sacred Heart Greenwich website and encourages community members to identify and suggest candidates for the role by emailing the Search Committee at email@example.com.
- September 2019: All applications for Head of School position are due. Search consultant assists the Search Committee in analyzing the applications.
- October 2019: Preliminary video interviews with a broad set of candidates take place, and semi-finalist candidate interviews follow.
- November 2019: Search Committee determines finalist candidates and hosts finalists for on-campus visits and in-person meetings with Advisory Committee and other members of the Sacred Heart school community.
- January-March 2020: Search Committee recommends a new Head of School to the Board. Board announces selection of new Head of School.
We are conscious that our desire for a disciplined timeline must not cause us to rush into a choice that falls short of what is in best interests of the School and its students. The Search Committee will not recommend a person for Head of School to the full Board of Trustees unless we have great confidence in that person’s ability to excel as the next Head of School of Sacred Heart Greenwich. Furthermore, should the ideal candidate be unable to commit to Sacred Heart Greenwich until the Fall of 2021, we are prepared to wait for that person. We believe that the faculty and staff of this great school, the parents and students, and the alumnae, deserve nothing less.
In closing, I would like to emphasize that the most valuable way any member of the Sacred Heart Community can contribute to the search process is to share this opportunity with outstanding educators and to persuade potential candidates to apply for this role. If you have any candidate suggestions or other suggestions or questions, I encourage you to reach out to the Search Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to keep you posted on our progress at regular intervals throughout the year. We are grateful for your support and encouragement and will work hard to vindicate the trust you have placed in us.
Thomas Lehrman P’22, ’32
Search Committee Chair