Head of School Search

Dear Academy Family,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are pleased to announce the launch of the search to identify and appoint the next Head of School of The Academy at Ocean Reef. Since the late winter, the Board has been laying the groundwork for this important process, and we are eager to share our progress with you.

In May, the Board sent Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to multiple prominent search firms across the country. After reviewing three proposals and phone interviews, the Executive Committee has retained Mike Vachow from Knuckleball Consulting and Sam Richards from Educational Directions to assist with the search.

Based in St. Louis, MO, Knuckleball Consultancy is a boutique executive search firm that specializes exclusively in serving nonprofit organizations and has experience conducting head of school and other senior administrative searches for independent schools across the nation. Educational Directions is based in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  Educational Directions is a nationally recognized consulting firm for independent schools and is an acknowledged leader in executive search.  This partnership gives The Academy at Ocean Reef the benefit of two outstanding search firms.

The Board has appointed a Search Committee, which will be charged with vetting candidates and recommending the next Head of School to the Board of Trustees. These individuals include trustees, and parents.

The Committee will be co-chaired by Steve Slovick and Dan Leben. Steve is in his fourth year on the Board of Trustees, Steve currently as the Chair of the Development Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee. Steve serves as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of Jupiter Life Science Consulting. Steve serves as President and US Partner at PriceSpective Limited. Steve has two sons at The Academy.  Dan Leben is currently the Chair of the Building and Grounds committee.  Dan runs a private real estate investment fund and is the President of SmartScript Pharmacy. Dan has two sons at The Academy.

Additional Search Committee members include:

Darrell Helms, Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee

Pat Roberts, Board member

Kat Fritter, parent

Aly Shaw, parent

Because the most important responsibility of any Board of Trustees is the hiring of the Head of School, the Search Committee has been comprised primarily of current Board members. At the same time, the Board and Search Committee are committed to involving all Academy constituencies in the search process in order to benefit from the multiple perspectives and wisdom of our various stakeholders. Although some aspects of the search must remain confidential to protect the current positions of prospective candidates, the Search Committee is very interested in input from the broader community at key points of the search and is committed to ongoing communication about the process itself. We have developed a “Head of School Search” page on the Academy’s website, and we encourage you to check this page regularly for updates and other search-related information.

The search process will begin officially June 6-7 when our consultant from Knuckleball visits campus to meet with faculty, staff, parents, students, alumni, trustees, and other constituents. In particular, the consultants will host open meetings for all parents and faculty members. In addition to providing an overview of the search process and timeline, Knuckleball will spend time getting to know our community and culture. By learning about our values and collective aspirations, the consultants will be well prepared to identify candidates whose own values and skills match our needs. These conversations will also inform the development of the search profile document, which describes our school and the qualities we seek in our next leader. Further details, including meeting times and locations, will be announced soon. We encourage you to mark your calendars and to participate in this critical phase of the search by sharing your perspectives on our school and its future.

The Search Committee will continue to keep The Academy community apprised of the progress of the search and of opportunities to provide input. We thank you in advance for your involvement and support in this exciting and vital moment in our school’s history.


Russ Post

President, Board of Trustees

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