WMS people

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Dear WMS Community,

In a previous message about our ongoing Head of School search, we promised to communicate with you throughout the process. We send you this letter in the spirit of this promise and to encourage each of you to participate throughout the remainder of our search.

One charge before us has been to determine the start date of a new Head of School – July of 2021 or 2022. We have patiently gathered all information needed to make that decision, and we are pleased to announce that:

1.) The Board has accepted the recommendation of the Search Committee to wait a year before bringing on a new Head of School. The reasons for the extra year are as follows:
We heard loud and clear through our survey to faculty, staff, and parents that members of our community need some time.

It allows the community a year of minimal change and time to regroup following this challenging year of COVID.

It affords the Board time to prepare adequately to support our new leader.

We will therefore seek to hire a new Head to begin July 1, 2022.

2.) David Newman has graciously and enthusiastically accepted our offer as Interim Head of School for the next academic year, 2021-2022. We feel very fortunate to have had David so seamlessly slide into his current position. Though he did not submit his candidacy for our Head of School search, we are equally grateful for his willingness to partner with us for another year, and we look forward to our continued work with him as we prepare our school for our next long-term leader.

The Search Committee continues, then, in the selection of a new Head of School, now with the definitive start date of 2022.

Despite this later timeframe, we are still moving forward with finalist interviews this spring. It makes sense for us to move ahead with the work we have started, knowing that we have an incredibly impressive and talented pool of candidates.

We are hoping, therefore, to make an offer to a candidate this Spring for July 2022. This will give us the advantage of over a year to work on the transition.

We’d like to share with you where we are at this moment.
At the end of February, our consultants sent an impressive group of dossiers they deemed worthy of our consideration.

The Search Committee reviewed those applications and on March 3rd we met and selected eight semifinalist candidates from among them.

This past weekend, we interviewed each of the semifinalists and will be inviting four of them to visit WMS as finalist candidates.

Our finalists will come to New Preston, one by one, for a preliminary evening and two subsequent days with the WMS community. These will be “hybrid visits,” in that the candidate will be in-person for individual meetings and online for all group interactions. We will, of course, be prioritizing COVID-safe practices.
Here is where your participation is needed! Your input will help us know how the community has experienced each candidate. In all group meetings (parent group meetings and staff group meetings), you will have an opportunity to engage with the candidate, ask questions, and form an impression of him or her.

Following each visit, we ask that every member of the community provide individual feedback directly to the Search Committee through an online survey.

Again, we encourage you to participate in both activities:

Engaging with the candidates on the group Zoom meetings (dates below)

Providing feedback via online surveys about those you have met.

A short bio, a Zoom invitation, and a link to the survey will be emailed to the community the day before each candidate begins the visit.
Times/Dates of Finalist Visits

Here are the dates the four finalist candidates will visit WMS:

April 11-13 – Candidate #1
April 14-16 – Candidate #2

April 19-21 – Candidate #3

April 27-29 – Candidate #4

Most individual meetings are with administrators or trustees who will be receiving their schedules separately, and we will share a more robust “representative” Candidate schedule on the website.
The schedule for group meetings is as follows:

April 12, 15, 20, 28 Group Meetings:

Staff Meeting (Zoom) – 3:45-4:45pm
Parents/Alum Meeting (Zoom) – 7:30-8:30pm

Please put these dates and respective times on your calendar!

Out of respect for the individual candidates and to allow those selected to appropriately inform their current employer, the names of finalists will remain confidential until the day prior to their arrival on campus. This is standard practice in Head of School searches.

The strength of our candidate pool is a testament to the strength of our community and the reputation of WMS. We know you will enjoy getting to know each of these impressive educators.

This has been a very exciting process so far, and we know it is about to become even more so! We hope you will feel as honored as we are to be a part of it. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns going forward.

Sincerely,

Coco Sellman
Chair, WMS Board of Trustees

Bailey Martignetti
Chair, WMS Search Committee

Matt Woodhall
Vice-Chair, WMS Seach Committee