Looking for a New Leader

Inside UPrep’s plans to find a head of school

Anna Inghram

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Photo courtesy: Paul Dudley Board of Trustees president and ex officio Head Search Committee member Cheryl Scott updates UPrep families on the head of school search at the Jan. 30 State of the School.

The team working to find a new head of school for the 2019-2020 school year has identified 120 potential candidates, and has invited six to eight potential candidates to participate in the first round of interviews in late February.

Spencer Stuart, a search firm hired by the University Prep Head Search Committee, has carried out most of the work to identify potential candidates. The Head Search Committee, assembled after current Head of School Matt Levinson’s announcement that he would be leaving UPrep at the end of the school year, is led by UPrep parents and Board of Trustees members Laura Domoto and Tori Ragen, and is comprised of seven members, including members of the Board of Trustees and UPrep faculty and staff. 

In early December, the Head Search Committee made the decision to hire Spencer Stuart to help with outreach and preliminary screening. 

“The search firm really is the primary conduit to any potential candidates,” Domoto said. “We’re working with a faction within Spencer Stuart that focuses on schools and nonprofits, so they have already made contact with lots and lots of potential candidates out there for prior searches or just continuing work to keep their databases up to date.”

To help identify potential candidates, the Head Search Committee and Spencer Stuart released a position specification in January detailing the qualities and qualifications they would like to see in candidates. 

Ragen said that the UPrep Head Search Committee used feedback from people across the UPrep community, including feedback from the survey that was sent to students on Jan. 14, to form the position specification. 

“We met with a lot of constituents so that people could inform us of what they thought important leadership qualities were for the next head,” Ragen said. “The results of the survey also informed the position [specification] to include the student voice in terms of their thoughts for the next head.”

Input from UPrep community members would, according to Ragen, ideally continue to play a role in UPrep’s search for a new head of school, though the Head Search Committee is still facing concerns about candidate confidentiality.

“Our hope would be that we would have some ability for the community and faculty and staff to meet [the candidates], but we just don’t know based on confidentiality issues,” Ragen said. 

Looking forward, the Head Search Committee feels confident they will find a good match to lead the UPrep community given the current pool of candidates, whom whey described as “dynamic, visionary, collaborative leaders,” in a Feb. 7 letter addressed to the UPrep community. The possibility of an interim head, however, is still on the table. 

“The need for an interim head will have more to do with the availability of the candidate. Even if it’s a candidate that we have identified already, because of the timing, they may not be able to make themselves available when we need them,” Domoto said. 

The Head Search Committee plans to make their final recommendation to the Board of Trustees in April 2019 and announce their final decision to the UPrep community in early May.