Saint Mary's School names 13th Head of School
The Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s School is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Monica M. Gillespie as the 13th Head of School in Saint Mary’s 170 year history. Monica brings to Saint Mary’s nine years of head of school experience, a passion for educating girls, deep appreciation for the Episcopal heritage of Saint Mary’s School, and a distinguished background in education. We believe that she’s the right person to succeed Theo and to successfully lead Saint Mary’s in the years ahead. She will be both an exemplary leader and a remarkable role model for our students. Read the full article here.
Board of Trustees announces interim head for 2012-2013 school year
The Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s School is pleased to announce the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Smokey Oats as interim head of school for the July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013 school year. Read the full story here.
Update from Search Committee Chair William Taylor
On behalf of the Saint Mary’s Head of School Search Committee, I want to update the SMS community on our search. We are most appreciative of the time and feedback of the SMS community throughout the process and want you to know that this involvement has been and remains very important to us.
We have interviewed many fine candidates, three of whom we brought to campus to meet faculty, staff, students, parents, trustees, alumnae, and friends. At this point we have not yet found what, in the school world, is called “the right fit” and therefore intend to continue the search until we find the best possible person to lead Saint Mary’s. In the meantime, we are moving forward to hire an Interim Head for the 2012-13 school year while we continue to search diligently for the next Head of Saint Mary’s School.
The Search Committee is comfortable with where the search process has led us. We are confident in our decision to continue to seek the best fit for Saint Mary’s. We ask that everyone also share our confidence and trust in the process. We will keep the SMS community advised of developments as is appropriate.
Again, the Committee is most grateful to the community for being a part of this important process. Happy holidays!
Head of School Candidates to Come to Campus
For the last seven months, the Search Committee has been actively engaged with search consultants from Wickenden Associates, sourcing, vetting, and recently meeting prospective candidates. The Committee has seen strong interest in the Head of School position; over recent weeks the Committee has reviewed many candidate credentials and interviewed experienced and very talented educators.
After much deliberation, the Committee has invited three candidates back to campus, each for a two-day visit. During these visits, candidates will meet with important constituencies including faculty and staff, students, trustees, donors, alumnae, and parents. Parents and alumnae are invited to an open forum discussion for each candidate, an opportunity to hear brief candidates from each finalist followed by a question and answer period. At each meeting, the Committee will distribute candidate background information and ask for feedback at the meeting's conclusion. Each meeting will be held in Pittman Auditorium from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Candidate #1: Monday, October 3
- Candidate #2: Wednesday, October 5
- Candidate #3: Monday, October 17
Feedback from these sessions along with other interviews from the two days, is very important to the Search Committee and will meaningfully help us as we ascertain who is the best fit to lead Saint Mary's in the years ahead. The Committee hopes to make their recommendation to the Board of Trustees before Thanksgiving.
Board of Trustees Members lead Student Forums
Although many had participated in the Head of School online survey, on Wednesday, May 4, every student, teacher, and staff member at Saint Mary’s School had an opportunity to personally participate in the Head of School search. Nineteen members of the Saint Mary’s School Board of Trustees set aside the afternoon to spend time with those closely involved in the daily life of the School. Students gathered in groups of 16-19 with two trustees for a 40-minute forum to answer these four questions: What makes Saint Mary’s a special place? What should be preserved about Saint Mary’s? What should the School aspire to? What should the new Head of School pay attention to and treat as a priority? Faculty and staff met in similar forums. After the forums, Trustees met to absorb and discuss what they had heard. Students and employees alike commented on how much they appreciated having the opportunity to share their ideas and vision about the future of Saint Mary’s School with members of the Board.
Wickenden Associates Selected to Conduct Head of School Search
William Taylor, Chair of the Head of School Search Committee and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees announces the selection of Wickenden Associates to conduct the search for the next Head of Saint Mary's School.
Founded 25 years ago, Wickenden Associates has conducted more than 300 Head of School searches and consulted with over 500 independent schools. Our search is being led by Jim Wickenden and assisted by Jo Butler, whom we believe form an outstanding team. Jim is the former Dean of Admissions at Princeton and has, since founding the firm in 1986, built an extraordinarily deep and impressive reputation for successfully assisting schools in searches. He and his team came very highly recommended from a number of independent sources. We are confident he and Jo will do a fine job of helping to identify and vet the most promising candidates. Incidentally, Jim and his firm were used to most successfully recruit Theo Coonrod eleven years ago to Saint Mary’s, so they indeed know us well. One of their important roles will be to hear from faculty, parents, alumnae, students and others within our Saint Mary’s School Community to gather feedback about the qualities that should be exemplified by our next head of school. Jim and Jo will be on campus March 30 and 31 to meet with the Search Committee and to conduct a series of interviews with representatives of each of the school’s constituencies. The information they collect will be used in the development of a position description that will inform potential candidates about this exciting career opportunity.
Information about how you can participate in this process is located on the right side of the page under "Your Input Needed."
Following the creation of the opportunity statement, Wickenden Associates will work to gather a well-screened candidate pool for the Search Committee. Given the nature of independent secondary schools, the initial review of candidate information will be confidential as it requires a great deal of discretion. This will be a quieter time in the process in which the Search Committee is vetting applicants and narrowing the field. Upon the identification of three to four finalists (likely in October), the process will again become public as all relevant constituencies reengage to meet the candidates. Our hope is that the Search Committee will be prepared in mid-November to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees regarding the next Head of School. We will provide you with periodic updates throughout the search process through the Buzz, email, and this page.
Head of School Search Committee Members Announced
W. Trent Ragland III, Chair of the Board of Trustees, announces the formation of the Head of School Search Committee, which will undertake the search for the thirteenth Head of School of Saint Mary's School. The committee members are
- William G. Taylor, Vice Chair of the Board P'08 (Chair)
- W. Trent Ragland III, Chair of the Board
- John F. Nash, Immediate Past Chair of the Board P'01, P'04
- R. Marks Arnold, P'11
- Dr. Allison Moore Garrott, '58HS
- Lanier Brown May, '78HS' 80C
- Rev. Dr. Louis "Smokey" Oats
- Margaret Williams Williams, '78HS '80C, P'07
The committee is composed of eight members of the Board and includes the past, present and future Chairs; a current parent; past parents; alumnae; a head of school; deeply rooted Saint Mary's families; and individuals with varied and extensive experience in non-profit and corporate searches. The committee looks forward to working with alumnae, parents, employees and students as they undertake the search process. The next step of the search process will be the search committee’s selection of a search firm, which will solicit candidates nationwide and vet candidates for consideration.