Head of School Search

On behalf of Friends School's Community Board, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Honor Taft, our next Head of School, effective July 1, 2018. Please read the full announcement here and join me in welcoming Friends School's next Head of School. 

In April 2017, Head of School Steve de Beer announced that he would be leaving Friends School at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

The Friends School Community Board has formed a Search Committee charged with guiding the process toward a goal of recommending a Head of School candidate in the fall of 2018 (to start in July 2018). National search firm Carney, Sandoe & Associates has been engaged to support the Committee in our search. For more information, or for applications, nominations, and inquiries, please contact Jake Dresden at jake.dresden@carneysandoe.com.

Head of School job description 
Position Description

Timeline

April 2017
Head of School search announcement
Jacob Dresden of Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A) retained as search consultant
 
May 2017
Position profile completed, posted on CS&A and Friends websites
 
May-August 2017
CS&A develops candidate pool and conducts initial interviews
 
August 2017
CS&A presents strongest candidates to Search Committee for review
Search Committee selects and interviews semi-finalists
 
September 2017
Campus visits by finalists
 
October 2017
Search Committee recommends new head-elect to Community Board
Community Board elects new Head of School
Announcement of Appointment
Transition planning begins
 
November-June 2018
Transition implementation
 
July 2018
New Head of School begins work

Updates

List of 7 items.

  • 09/29/17 Friends Announces Next Head of School (effective 7/1/2018)

    Dear Friends School Community,

    On behalf of Friends School's Community Board, I am delighted to announce the appointment of our next Head of School, effective July 1, 2018. Please read the full announcement here and join me in welcoming Friends School's next Head of School. 
     
     
    Thank you,
     
    Elizabeth Henna
    Community Board Chair
  • 08/31/17 Update from Elizabeth Henna

    August 31, 2017

    Dear Friends School Teachers and Staff,


    I want to give you a brief update on the status of the head search, which is certainly now in high gear. After interviewing 10 semifinalists this past weekend, the Search Committee met, and after lengthy deliberation (a good problem to have - we had many good choices!), unanimously agreed to invite four candidates back as finalists for the Head of School position. I am delighted to announce that all four have now accepted the invitation and are scheduled for their 2-day finalist visits in September. More information on the visits and opportunities for you and other school constituencies to meet with the finalists will be announced soon, but in the meantime, please note the following dates the finalists will be on our campuses:

    #1: September 7-8
    #2: September 11-12
    #3: September 14-15
    #4: September 18-19

    Thank you!

    Elizabeth Henna
    Search Committee Chair
  • 06/19/17 Update from Elizabeth Henna

    Dear Friends School Families,

    I hope this note finds you well and enjoying the first month of summer! I don’t want to intrude too much on your summer break but do want to take a moment to let you know about an opportunity to be involved in the search for Friends School’s next Head of School. As noted in the most recent Search Committee update, the Search Committee is forming four Search Support Committees, who will have a critical role in the latter stages of the head search. These groups will host and interview finalist candidates this September and will provide comprehensive feedback (though not rankings) on the candidates to the Search Committee. They will receive training from the school's head search consultant, Jake Dresden, prior to the candidates’ visits to make sure that they understand their role and are prepared both to interview effectively and to market the school well. 

    We will have four Search Support Committees: alumni (former parents, students, staff, and trustees), current staff/teachers, current parents, and current students. I have several volunteers for the staff group and recommendations for some of the others, but if you or your child has a strong interest in being considered for the parent or student group, of if you know someone who would be interested in joining the alumni group, please let me know by June 30 by emailing me at friendsboard@friendsschoolboulder.org. The Search Committee will then finalize the Search Support Committees later this summer prior to the start of school.

    Thank you for your engagement in and support of the head search process!
     
    Best,

    Elizabeth Henna
    Search Committee Chair
  • 05/30/17 Search Committee Update

    Search Committee Report
    Prepared by Elizabeth Henna, Chair
     
    Day-to-day work on the head search is currently being conducted primarily by search consultant Jake Dresden and his associates at Carney Sandoe. The Search Committee met on May 22, though, to establish agreements for our upcoming work and also to hear firsthand from a few key members of the 2010 Search Committee, including Fred Marienthal and Carol Hampf, who co-chaired that search, and Shelby Pawlina, who was one of two staff members in the search group that year. Fred, Carol, and Shelby graciously shared their experiences and lessons learned about the process, and I believe the Search Committee will benefit a great deal from their insights and suggestions.
     
    Members of the Search Committee, including teaching and administrative staff as well as community trustees, also worked this month to refine the consultant’s position description, which will soon be posted on the Carney Sandoe website and on our website. The position will also be marketed in the “Blue Sheet,” a traditional advertising venue for head and senior administrator searches. While Jake advises that such traditional advertising is no longer as effective for head searches, we are choosing to include this one source to cover bases as the search community is still somewhat in transition in terms of marketing.
     
    Jake reports that initial responses to the position’s announcement on the Carney site and his personal sourcing have been positive. He still has a great deal of sourcing and vetting to do before presenting an initial field to the Committee in August.
     
    Dates for presentation of the initial field and for first-round interviews have been set for the second half of August. We are on track for second-round interviews and finalist visits to campus in September and an election of a new head in October, as planned.
     
    There are two more projects for the Search Committee to work on before we begin interviews in August.  The first will be a thorough review with Jake of the search survey results (thank you to all who participated!) and the head’s job description (recently updated by the Board) to develop consensus around non-negotiable and desired characteristics and experiences of the candidates. This work, which the representatives from the prior search indicated would have been helpful to them, will put the group in a stronger and more unified position to begin evaluation of the field of candidates in August.
     
    The second early summer task for the group will be to form the Search Support Committees, who will have a critical role in the latter stages of the head search. These groups will host and interview finalist candidates this fall and will provide comprehensive feedback (though not rankings) on the candidates to the Search Committee. They will receive training from Jake Dresden prior to the candidates’ visits to make sure that they understand their role and are prepared both to interview effectively and to market the school well. Both of these jobs will be equally important, because in every single interaction with candidates and anyone connected to them (references, family members, etc.), it’s imperative for us to remember that we need to attract strong candidates to our wonderful school just as much as candidates need to convince us they are right for the job!
     
    We will have four Search Support Committees: alumni (former parents, students, staff, and trustees), current staff/teachers, current parents, and current students. I have received several staff volunteers and recommendations for some of these groups, but If you know of individuals whom you would recommend to be considered for one of these roles, please do let me know as soon as possible, but no later than June 2.
  • Survey open until 5/5/17

    Dear Friends’ School Community, 

    As part of the search for the next Head of School, who will start in July 2018, the Search Committee is seeking input from all constituents of our community. We want to know what you value most about the school and what priorities and hopes you have for our next leader.

    Please follow this link to complete the survey, which will be live until 3 PM MDT on Friday, May 5.

    Head of School Search Community Survey

    Thank you in advance for your participation in this exciting next chapter in Friends’ School history.

    In gratitude,
     
    Elizabeth Henna
    Search Committee Chair
  • 04/21/17 Update

    Thank you to everyone who met with our head search consultant, Jake Dresden, of Carney, Sandoe & Associates on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. He had a wonderful site visit and came away with a good understanding of what makes our community special and is looking forward to recruiting great candidates for our next head of school. A community-wide survey will be emailed on 4/24/17 asking for input into the process.
  • 04/10/17 Update from Elizabeth Henna

    April 10, 2017
     
    Dear Friends’ School Community,
     
    Please take a moment to read this first update on the search for Friends’ next Head of School. I warmly invite you to participate as the search formally gets underway.
     
    The Community Board, which is responsible for hiring and supporting the Head of School, has moved quickly to take steps to ensure that we will have an inclusive, thorough, and professional search for our next Head.
     
    The Board has formed a Search Committee of trustees and staff to conduct the head search and to recommend a candidate to the Board. The Search Committee includes trustees Maureen Espinoza, Elizabeth Henna, Diane Hullet, Anne Hunter, Mindy Mullins, Howard Rubin, and Chris Wirth; teachers Liz Richards and Jessie Vanden Hogen; and administrative staff member Meg Hansen. Friends’ three Founder Trustees, Bev Cole, Larry Gold, and Hope Morrissett, are also members of the Search Committee.
     
    The Board has retained consultant Jacob Dresden of Carney, Sandoe & Associates to assist Friends’ in our search. Carney, Sandoe is the biggest and most well-known head and educator search firm, and we are pleased that our search will benefit from Carney’s extensive resources in attracting excellent applicants. What made our decision, though, was not the big search firm, but the personal and professional qualities of Jake himself.
     
    Jake is warm, engaging, and extremely knowledgeable about and experienced with head searches. He served as a long-time head and assistant head himself over several decades in independent schools. He conducted a successful search for another Colorado independent school and has a son who is a long-time teacher and now an administrator at Graland in Denver, so he is familiar with the landscape of independent schools in our state. A veteran of several progressive schools, Jake has a deep understanding of schools with open and collaborative cultures such as Friends’, and he has a strong affinity for working with those schools. He eagerly seeks to learn as much as he can about a school, from as many people as he can, and I know he will do his best to understand our leadership needs and desires for our next Head of School.
     
    Jake will be visiting Friends’ School next Tuesday and Wednesday, April 18 & 19. During his visit, he will attend community events, tour both campuses, and meet our wonderful teachers and staff. There will also be two opportunities for parents and other community members, including alumni students, alumni parents, and former trustees, to meet Jake, provide input into our search process, and ask questions. I highly encourage you to attend if you are able. Please note these two events:
     
    6:30-7:30 PM, Tuesday, April 18: Open House for alumni, alumni parents, former trustees, and current parents not able to attend Parent Council forum
     
    8:45-9:45 AM, Wednesday, April 19: Parent Council forum for all current parents 
    Both of these events will take place in the Great Room in the elementary building on the South Campus.
     
    As the search progresses, the Search Committee will continue to keep the community informed, and there will be opportunities for everyone to meet and provide feedback on finalists in September. The search process will also include use of a Search Support Committee to interview finalists during their visit to campus and to provide direct feedback to the Search Committee. This group will not rank finalists or make the final decision on a candidate but will provide critical feedback to the Search Committee and will also play an important role in hosting the finalists during their 2-day visits to campus. The group will comprise representatives of many school constituencies including parents, teachers and staff. We anticipate that the Community Board will announce the appointment of the new Head of School in October and will then begin planning for a smooth transition of school leadership in the summer of 2018.
     
    I am grateful to Steve for his commitment to making the transition to a new Head of School as smooth as possible. He has given the community ample notice for us to be able to do a comprehensive search for the next Head. Equally importantly, after the appointment of a new Head, the entire school will have time to plan and conduct a thoughtful and inclusive transition process. Steve’s support of the search and transition process has already proven invaluable, and his dedication to Friends’ will continue at full strength for the next 15 months at the school. He has also promised to remain available into the tenure of the new Head of School. While change is rarely easy, I am confident that his involvement will contribute to a successful start for our next Head.
     
    My fellow trustees and I know the selection of the next Head of Friends’ School is perhaps the most important decision we will make during our time on the Community Board, and we take that responsibility very seriously. I hope and trust that the search process we are beginning, with help from each of you and all members of our community, will lead Friends’ to an exciting new chapter in the school’s history. I look forward to sharing that journey with you.
     
    Please let me know if you have any questions.
     
    Thank you,
     
     
    Elizabeth Henna
    Chair, Friends’ School Community Board

Search Committee

Maureen Espinoza, Trustee
Elizabeth Henna, Trustee
Diane Hullet, Trustee
Anne Hunter, Trustee
Mindy Mullins, Trustee
Howard Rubin, Trustee
Chris Wirth, Trustee
Liz Richards, Elementary Teacher
Jessie Vanden Hogen, Preschool Teacher
Erika Norman, Math Teacher
Meg Hansen, Director of Marketing & Communications
Bev Cole, Founder Trustee
Larry Gold, Founder Trustee
Hope Morrissett, Founder Trustee

Important Dates for Parents

  • Tuesday, April 18, 6:30-7:30 PM: Open House for alumni, alumni parents, former trustees, and current parents not able to attend Parent Council forum 
  • Wednesday, April 19, 8:45-9:45 AM: Parent Council forum for all current parents
Both of these events will take place in the Great Room in the elementary building on the South Campus.