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

Garrison Forest School

Head of School Search

Garrison Forest School Names Christopher "Chris" A. Hughes 12th Head
Head of School Christopher A. Hughes
12th Head of Garrison Forest School 
Christopher "Chris" A. Hughes

Dear Members of the Garrison Forest School Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Christopher "Chris" A. Hughes as the 12th Head of Garrison Forest School, effective July 1, 2018. After an extensive search, the Board voted unanimously to appoint Chris to lead our school. A gifted educator and administrator with a deep background in independent schools and significant experience in girls' education, Chris rose as an exceptional leader in a pool of outstanding candidates. With his passion for education, breadth of leadership experience and eagerness to empower young women, Chris possesses the qualities needed to move Garrison Forest forward into its next phase.

Chris holds a BA from Lafayette College and an MA from Lehigh, both in history and education. Chris is currently in his 10th year as Upper School Principal at St. Paul Academy and Summit School in St. Paul, Minnesota, a coed K-12 day school, where he oversees 420 students and more than 50 faculty members in the school's largest division. As chair of multiple K-12 task forces, Chris has been instrumental in the school's success in increasing enrollment, evaluating and improving its science program and a campaign to upgrade STEM facilities and redesign the Upper School. His commitment to education is evident as he continues his work in the classroom teaching courses in global issues and ethics during his tenure as Upper School Principal.

Chris developed a genuine understanding of the importance of empowering young women to lead during his time at Chatham Hall, an all-girls' boarding school in Chatham, Virginia, where he worked for seven years. At Chatham Hall, Chris wore many hats including teacher, advisor, soccer coach and Academic Dean. As Academic Dean, Chris was integral in helping to improve the academic program and reduce faculty attrition.

His day-boarding experience began at the start of his educational career at St. James School in Hagerstown, Maryland, where he served as Director of College Counseling and Dean of Students supervising student activities, residential life and student discipline.

Chris and his wife Farida, an artist and marketing professional, have two children; Jordan, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis, and Leah, a freshman at Parsons School of Design. The family is delighted to become a part of the GFS campus and community.

I want to express my sincerest gratitude to our Search Committee. Under the leadership of Kim Gordon and Helen Zinreich Shafer '93, the committee's hard work, commitment and spirit throughout this process has been vital to finding the best person to lead Garrison Forest. Thank you to the many alumnae, parents, faculty, staff, students and trustees for your time and participation in making finding our next head of school truly a community-wide effort.

We look enthusiastically forward to what promises to be a bright future at Garrison Forest under Chris's leadership. Please join me in welcoming Chris, Farida, Jordan and Leah to their new home.

 

Sincerely,

Kit Jackson

President, Board of Trustees

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 –October 2017 Semifinalist and finalist candidates visit Garrison Forest

October 2017 Board of Trustees names Christopher "Chris" A. Hughes the next Head of School

July 1, 2018 New Head of School arrives

Powered by Finalsite