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Frequently Asked Questions

Head of School Search FAQs

Who is leading the search process?

The CDS Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting and hiring CDS’ next Head of School. To facilitate the search process, the Board created a Head Search Committee that will recommend a Head of School candidate to the Board. The group is comprised of a majority of Trustees, as well as faculty and administrators. Recognizing that selecting our next leader is an important decision, the Board has engaged Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A), a renowned search firm, to serve as consultants to the Board and to the Head Search Committee. Our CS&A search consultant, Bob Fricker, has participated in hundreds of national searches for independent and progressive schools. He will assist the Search Committee in managing the process from start to finish.

How did CDS choose the search firm of Carney, Sandoe & Associates?

In the fall/winter of 2016, CDS solicited requests for proposals from several leading search firms. Following an extensive review process, the Search Committee selected Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A). CS&A is a leader in recruiting Heads at independent schools around the country, and we are excited to be working with this renowned search firm. Bob Fricker, our search consultant, is a Senior Search Consultant with the firm and has done over 100 Head searches over the past 11 years. Previously, Bob served as Head of School at an independent Day School and as a 4th grade classroom teacher. Bob has also Chaired the Board of Directors for the Responsive Classroom Organization. He is highly qualified and is already aware of the unique qualities that make CDS such a special place. Bob’s associate Jennifer Christensen will also be assisting him in our search.

What is the role of the search committee?

The Search Committee directs the search process from start to finish. It will coordinate input from CDS’ varied constituencies – both groups and individuals, work with the search firm to craft the Position Description, review the initial round of candidates vetted by the search firm, and organize and conduct interviews with the semifinalists and finalists (all finalists will have multiple meetings with all key constituencies). At the end of the process, the Search Committee will recommend one broadly supported candidate to the Board of Trustees. After the Board’s selection, the Committee facilitates the leadership transition and integration into the school, in collaboration with the Chair of the Board of Trustees. A major function of the Search Committee is to keep the CDS school community informed and engaged throughout the search process, while respecting the confidentiality of the candidate recruitment process. Search Committee membership will be finalized after the Consultant visit to campus in February 2017.

What is the consultant's role?

Carney, Sandoe & Associates provides advice to the Search Committee concerning format, logistics, procedure, and best practices in the search process. In February 2017, the consultant will gather data from an online survey and personal interviews to better understand the CDS academic program, culture, and strategic goals. Then, working closely with the Search Committee, the consultant will translate the school’s mission, philosophy, and objectives into a Position Description. The consultant ensures that the Position Description includes the qualifications, personal characteristics, and style required for the new Head to “fit” effectively with the CDS curriculum, teaching methods, culture, and values. CS&A interviews and checks references of all candidates before referring their credentials to the Search Committee for review. The consultant provides Committee members detailed interview questions that are custom-designed to probe whether candidates possess the specific leadership qualities identified as required by the school. The consultant will help structure interviews, visits, and reference checks to ensure that these meet the candidates’ and the Search Committee’s needs for information. The consultant also facilitates the flow of feedback between the candidates and the Search Committee.

What is the current Head's role?

The current Head’s primary focus will be continuing to lead the School and implementing existing strategic priorities until June 30, 2018. Molly will serve as a resource to the Search Committee, to the Board, and to the consultant. Molly plans to meet with each finalist when he/she visits the school in September to share her insight about preK-8 education, CDS, and its workings.

What is the Board's role?

The Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring CDS’ next Head of School. In 2016, the Board approved the formation of the Search Committee and hired CS&A as its search consultant. Working closely with the Search Committee Chairs, the Board assures a high level of congruence between the school’s mission, challenges and opportunities for CDS, and the desired candidate profile. The Board of Trustees will meet the finalist candidates in the fall of 2017, and will select the next Head of School. The Board of Trustees and Search Committee are committed to clear and timely communications and updates to the whole community throughout this process.

What is the role of the faculty, staff, and administration?

The CDS faculty, staff, and administration will remain engaged throughout the search. They will have representation on the Head Search Committee. They will be surveyed and will have designated meeting times with the Search Consultant during his February visit. Their feedback will inform the Head of School Position Description, which will be the basis of our recruiting. They will also be asked to meet finalist candidates and provide feedback on each one.

What is the role of current parents/guardians?

Throughout the search process, parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to share their thoughts with the Search Committee via email at headsearch@cds-sf.org. In February, parents/guardians will be invited to complete an online survey which will inform the Position Description. Opportunities for parents/guardians, faculty, staff, and administrators to meet with the Consultant will be available during his visit to CDS on February 15 and 16 and with the final candidates during the interviews in September. Formal announcements for each event, survey, and finalist visits will be made to the entire community in the Coop and through ParentSquare.

What is the students' role?

The students will be involved in the process in developmentally appropriate ways, including potential classroom visits and/or student meeting sessions.The Division Heads will decide how to discuss the Head Search and transition period with their students.

What is the role for CDS Alumni? or Alumni Parents/Guardians?

Alumni and alumni parents/guardians can participate in the search, beginning with the online survey. Alumni may meet with the Consultant during the February site visit and with candidates during the finalist visits this fall.

Whom do I contact if I have any questions, concerns, or thoughts around the search?

You may contact Head Search Committee Chairs Angie Jolie, Lindsay Woollerson, and Tracy Kirkham at headsearch@cds-sf.org.

Who is on the search committee?

Head Search Committee members were selected and approved by the Board and include: Jill Linwood (Trustee), Liza Ramrayka (Trustee), Michelle Schoen (Trustee), Richard Hylton (Alumni Parent and former Trustee), Terry Ashkinos (CDS Eighth Grade Teacher), Kristina Berman (First Grade Teacher), Alicia Perdue (Preschool Head Teacher) and Diane Larabee (Director of Admissions). The three Co-Chairs are Angie Jolie (Trustee), Tracy Kirkham (Alumni Parent and Trustee) and Lindsay Woollerson (Trustee). Full bios of each member can be found here.

What is the general timeline for the process?

February 1 – Head of School Transition announcement

February 15 & 16 – Search Consultant visits CDS campus. Visit includes multiple meetings with faculty & administration, two parent/guardian sessions (one evening and one morning), specific times for Senior Administration, the Board of Trustees and others deemed appropriate. Finally, he will hold a debriefing with the Search Committee.

February 17 (TBC) – Online Community Survey launches.

Spring 2017 – Search Consultant and Head Search committee utilize feedback from campus visit and survey to develop Position Description and Search Consultant manages recruitment process.

Summer 2017– Search Consultant presents candidates for consideration to the Head Search Committee. Committee evaluates, interviews and presents finalists to the Board of Trustees for approval.

September/October 2017 – Finalists visit campus for intensive two-day interviews. Meetings will be scheduled with Board, faculty & administration, parents/guardians and any other constituencies deemed appropriate. Input on each candidate will be solicited after each candidate’s visit.

Late 2017 – Head Search Committee presents final candidate to full Board for approval. Board selects next Head of School.

June 30, 2018 – Head’s last day at CDS.

July 1, 2018 – New Head of School starts at CDS.