Head of School Search
Dear King Community,
After fifteen years of helping build King into the outstanding school it is today, our friend and long-time leader, Tom Main, will be leaving his position as Head of School in June of 2018. We are extremely grateful for everything Tom has accomplished during his tenure at King. Finding the right person to lead King into the future is a top priority for the Board of Trustees. We are excited around future possibilities for King as we begin this new chapter in our history.
The Board is committed to keeping the King Community informed throughout this process. This website section will provide updates on the search.
President, Board of Trustees
Please click on the tabs below to read more.
- July 5, 2017 Update
- May 26, 2017 Update
- May 16, 2017 Update
- Search Committee
- Search Consulting Firm, Resource Group 175
- Search Process Overview
- April 2017 Letter from Tom Main
- April 2017 Letter from Tom Conheeney
- Press Release
Dear King Community,
Since our update of May 26, our consultants at RG175 have created a Head of School Position Statement (accessible through the Search Process Overview) and have been building a pool of Head of School candidates. We are pleased that, as expected, there is a high level of interest in the opportunity to be the next leader of our School. The candidate pool currently consists of sitting heads, promising senior administrators, and candidates from outside independent secondary education.
As this pool continues to grow through July and August, RG175 will be providing the Search Committee with resumes and select opportunities to meet with some of the most promising candidates within the pool. We emphasize that these are very preliminary meetings designed to allow us to gauge the trajectory of the search. During this phase of the process, the vetting of candidates is at an early stage and confidentiality is at a premium. So, as we said in the Search Process Overview, contact with candidates will be limited to the Search Committee. We will work to identify perhaps six to nine semi-finalist candidates whom the Search Committee will interview intensively at the end of August. From these, we will select three to four finalists who will interview broadly on Campus in September.
While most of the work currently is going on behind the scenes, we continue to welcome, indeed encourage, members of the Community to reach out to us with comments, concerns, or input. E-mail is the best way to get in touch with us preliminarily, but we are happy to speak by phone as well.
Ed Cesare '78, P'12
Lynn King – P'20, '20, and '23
Co-Chairs, Search Committee
Dear King Community,
The members of our Head of School Search Committee have been posted on the King website Head of School Search page under the “Search Committee” tab. We spent quite a bit of time and talked to many people as this was put together. As best practices suggest and our consultants, RG175, advised, we have kept the Committee to a manageable size. While we recognize the need for this, it kept us from including as many people as we would have ideally liked. However, the Search Committee is nothing more or less than the group who manages this exciting and important exercise for our community. We are committed to a continuing effort to listen and solicit the thoughts and opinions of all. We urge you to contact us with any viewpoints or concerns that you may have, and we will continue to reach out and contact you.
Tom Olverson and Clay Stites of RG175 were on campus this week for two very full days during which they embarked on their “Discovery Visit.” In over 25 meetings with individuals or groups, Tom and Clay collected a great deal of material and data about our School, its history, defining attributes, and future aspirations. You won’t be surprised to learn that they were most impressed by our students, whom they characterized as bright, engaging, self-possessed, and huge fans of King. You will also not be surprised to hear that they were challenged by that group on a number of fronts. In addition to students, RG175 met with faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, parents, and alumni. Tom and Clay will take their learning, digest it, and, together with the Search Committee, will produce a “Position Statement” that will describe King and the opportunity that King offers for its next Head of School.
As you can see on the website Search Process Overview tab, the next steps will be for RG175 to complete the Position Statement and then build a stable of candidates and share those with the Search Committee, so we can gauge the trajectory of the search and ensure we have a very strong pool of semifinalists by the end of August.
Thanks to each and every member of the Community for their commitment to the search process, and we look forward to ongoing collaboration with you all.
Co-Chairs, Search Committee
Dear King Community:
I wanted to take this opportunity to share an update with you on the progress that has been made on King’s Head Search.
As you know, finding the right person to lead King into the future is our top priority as a Board. I am pleased to let you know important steps that have already been accomplished to set us on the best path for the Head Search. You can read further details on the activities recapped in this letter on the King website Head of School Search page.
- Past Board President Ed Cesare ‘78 and Trustee Lynn King will serve as the Search Committee Co-Chairs. They are working diligently with the Executive Committee to select the full Search Committee that will be announced by May 22.
- The Board Executive Committee, with Ed and Lynn, have spoken with five search consulting firms and have interviewed four. We selected a world-class search firm, Resource Group 175 (RG175), to provide their expert guidance to King.
- In my April letter to you, I affirmed the Board’s commitment to actively seek input from the School community to build our collective vision for King's future. The Search Consultants from RG175 are eager to learn the perspectives of members of the King community during their Discovery Visit to King on May 23 and May 24. During these two days, the consultants will engage in a series of meeting with faculty, staff, administrators, current parents, PA Board, students, Alumni Board and alumni, and trustees.
As part of RG175’s Discovery Visit, the consultants also will host an Open Parent Session to which we invite all current parents who are interested in attending. The meeting for current parents will be Wednesday, May 24, 8:45-9:30 a.m. in the PA Conference Room (in the Lower School).
- The Board and RG175 have worked together to define a robust search process and timeline.
The Board is committed to keeping you informed regularly throughout the Head Search. Please see the King website Head of School Search page for details on the activities summarized in this letter.
President, Board of Trustees
MEET THE SEARCH COMMITTEE
- Ed Cesare ‘78 (Co-Chair, Past President Board of Trustees), email: email@example.com
- Lynn King (Co-Chair, Trustee), email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tom Conheeney (President Board of Trustees)
- Mi-Sun Freeman (PA President)
- Rob Holtz (Trustee)
- Sue Mirza (Trustee)
- Patrick O'Neil (History and Social Sciences Faculty, Grade 9 Dean)
- Linda Petrone (Trustee)
- Marnie Sadlowsky (Head of Upper School)
- Helen Santoro (Grade 4 Faculty, Assistant Dean of Faculty)
- Robert Waller (History and Social Sciences Faculty, Grade 6 Dean)
We have selected a world-class search firm, Resource Group 175, a twelve member educational consulting firm whose search practice includes only those for Heads of School. Our team at RG175 will be led by Clay Stites and Tom Olverson. Clay is the current President of the firm and has personally conducted over 100 searches. Tom’s career is highlighted by two tenures as a long sitting Head, first at Seabury Hall in Hawaii and then the Rivers School in Weston, MA. Tom is a thought leader in the area of the independent school Head search process. Tom and Clay will be supported by their colleague Robert Henderson.
During a Discovery Visit to King on May 23 and May 24, Clay and Tom are eager to meet with and learn the perspective of members of the King community. Over these two days, the consultants will engage in a series of meetings with Faculty, staff, administrators, current parents, PA Board, students, Alumni Board and alumni, and trustees.
As part of RG175’s Discovery Visit, the consultants will also host several Open Session meetings:
- Current parents are invited to join: Wednesday, May 24, 8:45-9:30 a.m. in the PA Conference Room (in the Lower School).
- Current Faculty, Administrators, and Staff are invited to join: Tuesday, May 23, 4:15–5:15 p.m. in the MS Conference Room and Wednesday, May 24, 4:00–4:45 p.m. in the PA Conference Room (LS).
- Select Search Committee Co-Chairs (Complete)
- Interview potential Search Consulting Firms (Complete)
- Select Search Consulting Firm (Complete)
- Form Search Committee (Complete)
- Search Consultants’ Discovery Visit to King School campus, May 23 and May 24, to meet with and learn from King Community members (Faculty, staff, administrators, current parents, PA Board, students, Alumni Board, alumni, and trustees). (Complete)
June - August 2017
- Complete Head of School Position Statement (Complete)
- Current Parents, Students, Faculty & Staff: Please click here to access the positioning statement. You will need to use your portal login information to access the document.
- If you do no have access to the King School website portal areas and would like to request access to this document, please click here.
- Search Committee works with RG175, in June and July, to develop group of candidates and vet to 6-10 semi-finalists
- Search Committee and RG175, in late August, interview semi-finalist candidates
September - October 2017
- Search Committee and RG175 identify a finalists list of 3-4 candidates
- Finalists visit King School to meet broadly with members of the community and tour the campus and classes
- Search Committee meets to recommend top candidate to the Board
- Board votes on Search Committee's recommendation
- Announcement of Head of School-Elect to the community
- July: New Head of School begins
- Sept: King School community welcomes new Head of School
Dear King Community,
The world of education is bordered by constant beginnings and endings, fresh starts, and final moments. There is a cyclical quality to schools that is always front and center. Classes begin and end, as do days and weeks. Students begin and end their time in grades and divisions. There always remains a promise, an energy, a constant renewal that is central to these cycles and profoundly valuable.
I believe this concept of beginnings and endings applies to all of us. It is in this spirit that I write to let you know that next year, the 2017-2018 school year, will be my final year as Head of King School.
It is the right time for a change. I will have led the School for sixteen years. That is a long tenure by any measure, well over twice the average tenure of an independent school Head. And we have been successful. I could not have imagined, back in 2002, just how far we might have come in the last fifteen years. I am confident that the progress will continue, and it really must, which is central to the timing of this transition.
King is about to embark on the creation of a new Strategic Plan, which will include new educational initiatives, new master facilities planning, and new campaigns. These are efforts that will carry on for years. This is a perfect time for a new leader with a new perspective and a fresh set of ideas and inspirations to come and give everything he or she can to this graceful and elegant community.
I will leave our School deeply thankful for all it has given to me and my family. I know that the education my three children have received here is top shelf and they will benefit from this education for their entire lives.
We should take great pride in all we have accomplished together – establishing and developing meaningful educational programs, building a wide range of inspiring new learning facilities – essentially rebuilding the entire campus - cultivating an incredibly able and dedicated faculty and staff, generating tremendous philanthropic support, and so much more. This has all been accomplished by working together. This is an important point. A school Head can only play his or her role in this work; no more, no less. I have done my best to do my part, but mine was really only a small part when compared to the efforts of so many of you. Thank you for all you have done.
I am most proud of the fact that in the midst of all of the great things that have happened here, we have not lost track of the value of the culture that exists at King. In fact, we have gone to great lengths to develop and protect it. It is that culture that serves as the social fabric in which such meaningful learning takes place. It is our culture that assures our students are valued and feel safe when taking risks. It is our culture that stands up when we are challenged and asserts that how we treat each other is really the most important characteristic of this community. King has a very special culture, and I am so proud that we have never taken it for granted.
I want to thank the incredible people who have helped make my success possible.
First, the dozens of Board members I have worked with over the years. The School community does not always realize the degree of effort and commitment required of them. King has benefitted from a profoundly committed and caring group, and they have gone above and beyond the call of duty in doing their part to make the School what it is today. And, with your input and support, I have great confidence in the current Board's ability to find an outstanding new Head of School to lead King into the future.
Further, I want to thank the six truly superb Board Presidents with whom I have worked: Mary Sommer, Addie Jones, Peter Reinemann, Ed Cesare, Lou Paglia, and Tom Conheeney. Each has been a great friend, mentor, and colleague. Each has served as the embodiment of selfless commitment, and each has demonstrated a true love for our school. It has been a privilege to work with them.
It is hard to convey how appreciative I am of the efforts, quality, and dedication of our faculty, staff, and administration. This exceptional team works tirelessly to support and challenge our students and develop programs. They keep a really complicated, sophisticated operation running smoothly. Most significant, however, it is their deep care for and commitment to our students that defines them. This quality, this visceral and powerful concern for the well-being of our students, sets them apart. It is an honor to count them all as colleagues.
Finally, I want to thank the students of our school. We have such great kids! I am inspired by their ability, empathy, creativity, cleverness, intellect, passion, humor, and so much more. I have learned more from our students than I could possibly capture in a letter, and I will be forever thankful. I smile just thinking about them.
I want you to know that this is also a very good time for a professional transition for me. I welcome a new challenge. Sixteen years is a long time! I am eyeing some fascinating opportunities, and I know that I will offer a new lens, a new perspective, new ideas, and a true depth of experience to that next challenge. That’s exciting. Change is good – for me and for King!
I will be at King through graduation in 2018, and you will get my best effort until then. After June of 2018, I look forward to returning to campus to see all the great work that will continue, to attend Parents Night, to watch my daughter compete on King's athletic teams and to see her graduate in June of 2020. All good!
Thank you all. I’ll see many of you at drop-off tomorrow!
Thomas B. Main
Head of School
Dear King Community:
After fifteen years of helping build King into the outstanding school it is today, our friend and long-time leader, Tom Main, will be leaving his position as Head of School in June of 2018.
We are extremely grateful for everything Tom has accomplished during his tenure at King. Tom has been instrumental in raising King’s academic bar. Under his watch, we retained and attracted exceptional faculty, expanded offerings of AP and honors courses, increased technology offerings with a Computer Science and Digital Applications department, and established important programs in service, global education, diversity, and sustainability. In addition, Tom continued former Head of School Sue Cesare’s commitment to making King the inclusive and diverse community it is today.
In addition, Tom’s vision, and his ability to engage the School and neighbor communities in that vision, led us through the “night and day” transformation of our campus, including the creation of a new Middle School and Performing Arts Center, the refurbishing of the Upper School, and the addition of the turf field. Tom has also overseen two very successful fundraising campaigns -- the Campaign for Excellence and the 150th Anniversary Initiative -- and created a College Counseling Department that gives our students a highly competitive edge as they plan for their next educational experiences.
Perhaps most importantly, Tom has been a driver of our culture of respect, civility, and service, and has helped us achieve our current standing as a widely sought-after independent school known for academic excellence and our personalized approach to teaching and learning.
Though change can be hard, it is also exciting. Both the Board of Trustees and Tom agree that King has reached a point in its growth where the School will benefit from new leadership that will build on Tom’s contributions and take us to the next level as an institution.
Finding the right person to lead King into the future is our top priority as a Board. We are very fortunate to have an outstanding leadership team in place as we begin the search process. We are working on engaging a world-class search firm and assembling the Search Committee that will have broad stakeholder representation. As part of the search process, we will actively seek input from the School community to build our collective vision for King's future -- you will be hearing more details about this in the months to come. The Board is committed to keeping you informed regularly throughout this process; thus, we will establish a section on King's website devoted to Head Search updates.
I know you will join me in wishing Tom the very best in his future endeavors. As both a friend and a richly valued member of the King family, he will be missed. When you see him, take time to thank him for all he has done. I also hope you will share the Board’s feelings of excitement around future possibilities for King as we begin this new chapter in our history.
President, Board of Trustees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Head of King School Announces June 2018 Departure: Board of Trustees Begins Head Search
April 18, 2017, Stamford – Longtime Head of School Tom Main announced on Tuesday he intends to leave his position in June of 2018.
“It is the right time for a change,” says Main, who has served as Head of School since 2002. “As King embarks on its new strategic plan and continues with new educational initiatives and facilities planning, it is the perfect time for a new leader with a fresh set of ideas to lead the School.”
Main raised the academic bar, retaining and attracting exceptional faculty, adding AP and honors courses, and establishing new programs in service, global education, diversity, and sustainability. Under his direction, King greatly enhanced the services of the College Counseling Department. Main also led King through a transformation of its campus, which included a new Middle School, a new Performing Arts Center, and upgrades to its Upper School and athletic fields.
"We are extremely grateful for everything Tom has accomplished during his 15 years at King," says Tom Conheeney, President, Board of Trustees. "His vision enabled King not only to establish us as an independent school widely known for academic excellence and a personalized approach to teaching and learning, but also to improve significantly our physical campus."
Main will stay on as Head of School through June 2018 and the Board of Trustees will begin a national search for his replacement. “We are committed to finding the best person to lead King into the future,” says Conheeney. Details will be posted on the King website as the search process moves forward.
Contact: Kathleen O’Rourke, Director of Marketing and Communication, King School
Phone: (203) 322-3496, Ext. 417
Date: April 18, 2017