Garrison Forest empowers students to realize their full potential and live lives of purpose.

Garrison Forest School

Head of School Search

June Update from the Search Committee

Dear Garrison Forest Community,

While our students are celebrating the end of the school year, we are very excited to update you on the progress of the search for our 11th Head of School for Garrison Forest.

Communication and transparency will be vital during this process and we are thrilled to report that we have had an amazing start because of all of you. We are so thankful to everyone in the Garrison Forest community who participated in the site visit and took the time to complete the search survey. Your support, thoughtful insights, and nominations were greatly appreciated.

On May 17 – 18, Ben Bolté and Rayna Loeb, our Carney Sandoe search firm consultants, visited GFS to speak with faculty, staff, students, alumnae and representatives from the Parent and Alumnae Associations, as well as our Board of Trustees, to gain an in-depth understanding of our school. During their two-day visit, the consultants met with 152 members of the GFS community to understand our strengths, challenges and opportunities for growth. The meetings were exceptionally well-attended and it was clear to both Ben and Rayna how deeply caring and dedicated our community is.

Ben was especially impressed by the number of GFS alumnae who showed up during the visit to meet with him, noting that he has never had such a large alumnae response to a site visit in all of his years as a consultant.

The consultants were equally impressed during their visits with Lower, Middle and Upper School students on how strongly the Garrison Forest spirit is conveyed through our girls. Among the many takeaways from the student visits, one Lower School student expressed that GFS is where "her brain grows the most." This is a sentiment that is at the heart of who we are and what we believe.

We also had about 300 community members made up of faculty, staff, administrators, alumnae, Board of Trustee members, parents and students who participated in the survey—a vital piece of helping Carney Sandoe and the search committee learn more about what our community is looking for in the next leader of Garrison Forest.

The site visit clearly emphasized the spirit and passion of our community, the dedication of our faculty and staff, and how invested every member of the GFS community is in the future of our school.

From the feedback gained from site visits and survey results, Carney Sandoe created a position description for our next Head of School that is now posted on our website. You can read the position description here.

Our search process continues, now moving into what is known as the quiet phase. The search committee has begun meeting potential candidates and it is with unsuppressed Garrison Forest spirit and passion that we can share how exceptional the candidate pool has been.

In keeping with the integrity of the process, these initial meetings are confidential; however we will continue to provide you with updates throughout the summer.

Once we have a pool of finalists in the fall, we will begin the process of setting up dates for visits so that all of our community members can have the opportunity meet with the candidates. From our progress so far, we are well underway and incredibly positive about our next steps.

The future of GFS remains bright. As always, please contact us with any questions. Sending you all warm wishes for a great summer ahead.

Sincerely,

Kim Gordon
Helen Zinreich Shafer '93
Search Committee Co-Chairs

Search Updates

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is leading the search process?

A. The Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting and hiring Garrison Forest’s next Head of School. To facilitate the search process, the Board created a Search Committee that will recommend a Head of School candidate to the Board. The group is comprised of a Faculty member from each division of the school and Trustees who are current parents, past parents and alumnae. Recognizing that selecting our next leader is a critical milestone for the School, the Board has engaged Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a renowned search firm based in Boston, to serve as consultants to the Search Committee throughout the process. The consultants, who have participated in hundreds of national searches for independent schools, will assist the Search Committee in managing the search process from start to finish.

Q. What is the expected timeline for the search process?

A. February 22, 2017 Kim Roberts announces plans to leave Garrison Forest School at the conclusion of the 2016-17 academic year. Lila Boyce Lohr ’63 is announced as Interim Head for 2017-18

Mid-April 2017 Search Committee outlines the search process for the Garrison Forest School community

May 2017 Community-wide online survey launches

May 17 - 18, 2017 Carney, Sandoe & Associates consultants visit Garrison Forest for onsite interviews

Late May 2017 Search Committee distributes Position Description for the next Head of School

June - August 2017 Search Committee and CS&A begin to review candidates’ credentials

September – November 2017 Semifinalist and finalist candidates visit Garrison Forest

November 2017 Board of Trustees selects the next Head of School

July 1, 2018 New Head of School arrives

In the spring of 2017, the primary focus of the Search Committee and our consultants is to develop a position statement for Garrison Forest’s next Head of School. In Mid-May, all members of the GFS community will be invited to complete an online questionnaire. Based on their findings from the questionnaire and extensive interviews with many of the parent, faculty and staff, alumnae, and trustee constituencies, the Search Committee, together with the consultants, will create the Position Statement, which will serve as a primary tool in describing the Head of School position to all potential candidates.

This document will then be disseminated nationally and internationally as the consultants identify and recruit candidates in order to secure the best possible pool of applicants for the position. After spending the majority of the summer vetting the candidates, the consultants will meet with the Search Committee in August to present the dossiers of a small group of potential candidates. Interviews will then be conducted, references will be checked (and double checked), finalists will be selected to visit campus and to meet with constituents of the Garrison Forest School community, the Search Committee will recommend a final candidate to the Board of Trustees for approval and, if all goes according to plan with the right fit for GFS, the announcement of a new Head of School will be made to our school community in late fall of 2017.

Q. What is the role of the Search Committee?

A. The Search Committee directs the search process from start to finish. They will coordinate input from Garrison Forest’s varied constituencies – both groups and individuals, work with the search firm to craft the Position Statement, sort through the initial round of candidates vetted by the search firm, and organize and conduct interviews with the semifinalists and finalists. At the end of the process, the Search Committee will present one broadly supported candidate to be confirmed by the Board of Trustees. Upon confirmation of the candidate, the Committee facilitates the leadership transition and integration into the School. A major function of the Search Committee is to keep the Garrison Forest School community informed and engaged throughout the search process, while respecting the confidentiality of the candidate recruitment process.

Q. What is the role of the consultant?

A. Carney, Sandoe & Associates provides advice to the Search Committee concerning format, logistics, procedure, and best practices in the search process. In May 2017, the consultants will gather data from the online questionnaire and personal interviews to fully understand the Garrison Forest culture. Then, working closely with the Search Committee, they will translate the School’s mission, philosophy, and objectives into a leadership profile. The consultants ensure that the Position Description includes the personal characteristics and style required for the new Head to “fit” effectively with the Garrison Forest School culture and values. Together with the Search Committee, CS&A interviews and checks references of all candidates before referring their credentials to the Search Committee for review. The consultants provide Committee members detailed interview questions custom-designed to probe whether candidates possess the specific leadership qualities identified as required by the school. They help structure interviews, visits, and reference checks to ensure that these meet the candidates’ and the Committee’s needs for information. The consultants also facilitate the flow of feedback between the candidates and the Search Committee.

Q. What is the current head’s role?

A. Kim Roberts' primary focus will be continuing to lead the School and implementing existing strategic priorities until June 30, 2017, at which time Lila Boyce Lohr ‘63 will begin as Interim Head of School for 2017-18.

Q. What is the interim head’s role?

A. Lila Boyce Lohr '63 will meet with each finalist when he/she visits the School to share her insight about education, Garrison Forest School and its workings. Once the new Head of School has been named, Lila will work closely with him or her throughout the transition process and will remain available, as needed, to consult throughout the new head’s initial year at Garrison Forest.

Q. What is the Board’s role?

A. The Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring Garrison Forest’s next Head of School. Working closely with the Search Co-chairs, the Board assures a high level of congruence between the School’s mission, core values, challenges and opportunities for Garrison Forest, and the desired candidate profile. The Board of Trustees will meet the finalist candidates in the fall of 2017, and acting on the recommendation of the Search Committee, will approve the appointment of Garrison Forest’s new Head of School.

Q. What is the faculty, staff and administration’s role?

A. Three Faculty members, one from Upper School, one from Middle School, and one representing Preschool and Lower School, are part of the Search Committee. Garrison Forest’s Faculty will remain actively engaged throughout the search, from giving feedback and commentary to the search firm during the information gathering stage prior to publication of the Head of School Position Statement to meeting semifinalist and finalist candidates. Faculty, staff, and administrators will remain in close contact with the Search Committee throughout the process.

Q. What is the role of current parents?

A. In May, parents can complete the online questionnaire which will inform the Position Description. Parent representatives will meet with the consultants during the May site visit and with candidates during the candidate site visits next fall. Throughout the search process, parents are encouraged to share their thoughts with the Search Co-chairs via email: Kim Gordon and Helen Zinreich Shafer ’93.

Q. What is the students’ role?

A. Students will be asked to participate in different ways, depending upon what is most age appropriate. Groups of Lower, Middle and Upper School students will be invited to meet with our consultants to offer their thoughts on qualities they would like to see in a new Head of School and all Middle and Upper School students will be asked to complete the online questionnaire. The Search Committee also plans to involve students next fall to offer their insights during candidate site visits. In addition, faculty will be encouraged to discuss the Search and its process and progress with their students.

Q. What is the role for alumnae?

A. Alumnae will be asked to participate in the search, beginning with the online questionnaire. Alumnae representatives will meet with the consultants during the May site visit and with candidates during the candidate site visits next fall.

Q. How can I participate in the search process? How can I contribute?

A. All members of the Garrison Forest School community are encouraged to share their thoughts with the Search Committee via email: Kim Gordon and Helen Zinreich Shafer ‘93. In May 2017, the community will be invited to complete an online questionnaire via email.

Q. When will the Garrison Forest School community get to meet the candidates?

A. We expect to introduce the finalists of the Head of School Search in the fall of 2017.

Q. Who do I contact if I have any questions, concerns, or thoughts around the search?

A. You can contact Search Committee Co-chairs Kim Gordon or Helen Zinreich Shafer ’93.

Q. Who is on the Search Committee?

A.

Kim Gordon, Co-chair

Helen Zinreich Shafer ’93, Co-chair

Kimberly Hubbard Cashman ’85

Augie Chiasera

Stacy Garrett-Ray ’92

Tim Hathaway

Kit Jackson ’83

Nick Burns, Upper School

Tung Trinh, Middle School

Amy Welling, Pre-School and Lower School

Q. How did Garrison Forest choose the search firm?

A. Following Kim Roberts' announcement, Garrison Forest solicited requests for proposals from several leading search firms. Following an extensive review process, the Search Committee unanimously selected Carney, Sandoe & Associates to serve as consultants in this search. CS&A is a leader in recruiting heads at independent schools around the country, and we are excited to be working with this renowned search firm. Our consultants, Ben Bolté and Rayna Loeb, are Senior Search Consultants with CS&A and are highly qualified to help find the best candidate to become Garrison Forest’s next Head of School.

Search Committee

Kim Gordon, Co-chair

Helen Zinreich Shafer ’93, Co-chair

Kimberly Hubbard Cashman ’85

Augie Chiasera

Stacy Garrett-Ray ’92

Tim Hathaway

Kit Jackson ’83

Nick Burns, Upper School

Tung Trinh, Middle School

Amy Welling, Preschool and Lower School

Please click here for Search Committee member bios.

For questions, please contact Search Committee Co-chairs, Kim Gordon and Helen Zinreich Shafer '93.

Search Timeline


February 2017 Kim Roberts announces plans to leave Garrison Forest School at the conclusion of the 2016-17 academic year. Lila Boyce Lohr ’63 is announced as Interim Head for 2017-18

Mid-April 2017 Search Committee outlines the search process for the Garrison Forest School community

May 2017 Community-wide online survey launches

May 17 - 18, 2017 Carney, Sandoe & Associates consultants visit Garrison Forest for onsite interviews

Late May 2017 Search Committee distributes Position Description for the next Head of School

June - August 2017 Search Committee and CS&A begin to review candidates’ credentials

September – November 2017 Semifinalist and finalist candidates visit Garrison Forest

November 2017 Board of Trustees selects the next Head of School

July 1, 2018 New Head of School arrives

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