Head of School Search
The Board of Trustees at Baker Demonstration School has launched an international search for the next Head of School. Over the coming months, the search will engage members of our community – including students, families, staff and teachers – to help guide this critically important work.
Baker is a beloved institution of progressive education with a 104-year history. As such, the search for our new leader will be marked by careful deliberation and thoughtfulness at every step, with the aim of having the next Head of School selected by the fall of 2023 for a term that will begin July 1, 2024.
Educators Collaborative, a nationally-known consulting group that specializes in finding senior leaders for independent schools, has been retained to shepherd the process and ensure we identify candidates with the skills and experience necessary to lead Baker’s diverse community, uphold our progressive values and continue to deliver on our promise of educational excellence.
Nat Conard, co-managing partner of the firm, and André Withers, a partner, have already begun their work, and a Search Committee made up of members of the Baker community has been formed. Together, this team feels confident that our search will attract an excellent pool of candidates, both internal and external.
While the search unfolds, Mason Rocca – an educator, Baker alum and parent of Sofia (‘19), Theo (‘21), Vito (8th), Renzo (5th), and Livia (K) – is serving as Interim Head of School.
More information will be added to this page as the search process unfolds.
How can I be involved in the Head of School search process?
The Board of Trustees is committed to making the search an inclusive process and will provide opportunities for community input at various times throughout the search. The first opportunities will occur when the search consultants from Educators Collaborative visit campus early in 2023 to learn more about Baker’s strengths, the opportunities facing the school over the next several years, and the traits, skills, and experience desired in the next Head of School. Members of the faculty and staff, parents, and students will be invited to participate in these sessions. In addition, members of the school community including alumni will be invited to share their thoughts about the school and the search through a confidential online survey administered by Educators Collaborative consultants.
Finally, when the search nears its conclusion, members of the school community will have an opportunity to meet the finalist candidates and provide feedback to the Search Committee as to their impressions of each.
What is the general timeline for the Head of School search?
One way to think about the search process is that it essentially consists of three phases.
In the first phase, the Educators Collaborative consultants get to know the school through conversations with the Search Committee, the Board of Trustees, the administration and faculty, parents, and students; a community survey; and reviewing data and documents provided by the school. This enables the consultants to develop a leadership profile for the next Head of Baker Demonstration School. Simultaneously, the consultants publicize the leadership opportunity and begin their outreach to prospective candidates.
The second phase takes place almost exclusively behind the scenes and is highly confidential, as the Educators Collaborative consultants recruit and do the initial vetting of candidates through interviews and reference checks. While any qualified candidate will be considered up until the completion of the search, interested candidates will be asked to contact Educators Collaborative and be appropriately vetted.
In the final phase, the Search Committee will conduct preliminary confidential interviews, select the finalists, and coordinate the finalists’ visits to the school. The work of the Search Committee will conclude when it presents its nomination of the candidate of choice to the Board of Trustees.
The final phase will conclude before the end of November 2023. Each search has its own unique pace and timing, however, and the time frame may shift, if necessary.
What is the role of the Search Committee?
The Search Committee will take the lead in the search process and is charged with recommending a candidate to the Baker Board of Trustees, which bears the ultimate responsibility for appointing the Head of School.
What is the role of Educators Collaborative, the search firm, and how were they selected?
The Board of Trustees conducted broad research on national search firms. They reviewed proposals and conducted initial and follow-up interviews. Following reference checks, the Board of Trustees selected Educators Collaborative.
Educators Collaborative is a nationally-known search consulting firm which specializes in finding heads and senior leaders for independent schools. Nat Conard and André Withers have been engaged to assist with the search. Nat and André both have many years of experience as independent school leaders themselves. Collectively, they have assisted numerous schools with head and senior administrator searches.
André and Nat will provide guidance to the Search Committee on format, logistics, procedures, and best practices in the search process. In addition, they will interview candidates, check references, and support the Search Committee throughout the interview process. Educators Collaborative will also provide transition support to the new Head of School after that person has been hired and throughout the new Head’s first year.
What is the scope of the search?
The search for the new Head of School for Baker is international in scope. Candidates from throughout the United States and abroad will be considered, and nominations are welcome. The consultants also devote considerable effort to recruiting candidates who might not be actively seeking a new position. Many candidates will not want it known at their current institutions that they are considering a change, and for this reason we must maintain strict confidentiality about individual candidates right up until the finalist stage of the process.
Will there be any internal candidates?
All candidates, both internal and external, who are interested in the opportunity to be the next Head of Baker are encouraged to apply. In addition, the confidentiality of internal candidates is as important as that of candidates from outside the school.
To every extent possible, the Search Committee will attempt to create a level playing field, ensuring that the eventual nominee is assessed in the context of the entire field of candidates.
How will candidates be evaluated?
Candidates will be assessed in light of the skills and characteristics identified by the community and described in a leadership profile. Those skills and characteristics will be drawn from the survey responses and listening sessions conducted by the Educators Collaborative consultants. With the assistance of the consultants, the Search Committee will go through a series of steps to acquaint themselves with the pool of candidates before narrowing that group down to a group of semi-finalists who will be confidentially interviewed, and then to a smaller group of finalists (likely three or four).
What is the role of the School's Board of Trustees in the search process?
The Head of School is the only employee that is hired by and reports directly to the Board of Trustees, and, as a result, choosing a new Head of School is one of the Board’s most important responsibilities. The Board of Trustees researched and approved the retention of the search consultants, Educators Collaborative. The Board decided on the membership of the Search Committee and has charged the Search Committee with conducting a comprehensive search for a new Head of School. The Board of Trustees will refer all inquiries related to the search to the Co-Chairs of the Search Committee and Educators Collaborative. As the process draws to completion, the Board will review the recommendations of the Search Committee, formally resolve to pursue a candidate, bear responsibility for negotiating any terms of employment, and ultimately appoint the new Head of School.
When will the new Head of School begin?
The next Head of School will start on July 1, 2024. The Head-Elect may be moving across the country or the world for this exciting new opportunity. Thus, it is customary for the Head-Elect to be chosen with enough time to relocate or get other affairs in order to begin work July 1. We anticipate that there will be opportunities during the 2023-24 school year when the Head-Elect will be on campus and have a chance to learn more about the school, but it is a high probability that the selected individual will have ongoing professional responsibilities elsewhere.