Head of School Search

Envisioning Town's Future.

Identifying Town's Next Leader

At the end of the 2017-18 school year, Head of School Tony Featherston will conclude a successful tenure of six years at Town. As we spend this year working together on current school initiatives and celebrating the excellent work achieved under Tony's leadership, we will also take this opportunity to think boldly and strategically about Town's future.

As we begin our search for Town's next leader, we will keep our community members - current, past and future - updated on our search process here. 

Announcement Letters

Overview of Search Timeline

  • September, 2017: Our search process begins with a two-day visit by search consulting firm Wickenden Associates to get to know our program and community.
  • October - December, 2017: Application period; the Head Search Committee will review applications and interview semi-finalists.
  • January, 2018: Finalist interviews will include current parent and faculty forums and feedback opportunities.
  • February, 2018: Our goal is to have an announcement about Town's next leader and begin to design a plan with Tony Featherston for a seamless transition.

Opportunity Statement

Click Here to Review the Opportunity Statement

Updates from the Search Committee Co-Chairs

Updates will be posted here at key intervals as we progress in our search.

September 20, 2017 Letter with Search Overview

September 20, 2017

Dear Town Community, 



We are looking forward to leading the search process for Town's next Head of School. We write to introduce ourselves and to give you an overview of important information and what to expect in the coming weeks and months. As Town parents who love this school, both of us are honored to be serving as members of the Board of Trustees. Valerie is the current Vice Chair of the Board and chairs the Audit Committee; she has two children here at Town: Max in 6th grade and Zoe in 4th grade. Karyn chairs the Board's Strategic Visioning Committee and she just watched her oldest son Jack graduate from Town last spring. Her daughter Alexa is currently in 6th grade.


We would also like to introduce you to the other members of the Head Search Committee: 


  • Philip Bien '95, Director of Annual Giving and Alumni/ae Affairs


  • Jonathan Bilzin, Trustee, Current Parent, Alumni/ae Parent


  • Rashidah Bowen White, Upper School Psychologist


  • Jieun Choe, Trustee, Current Parent


  • Ava Collins, Fourth Grade Teacher


  • Nicole D'Amico, Kindergarten Teacher


  • Marni Gutkin, Trustee, Current parent, Alumni/ae Parent


  • Alison Hunter, PA President, PA Representative to the Board, Current Parent


  • Nitin Khakee, Trustee, Alumni/ae Parent


  • Javaid Khan, Trustee
  • Dana Ladden, Trustee, Current Parent


  • Marc Stern, Board Chair, Alumni/ae Parent
 
SEARCH FIRM SELECTION

After careful consideration of several search firms, we are pleased to inform you that we have retained the highly respected educational consulting firm Wickenden Associates to assist us in identifying a new Head of School. Laura Hansen and Linda Knights of Wickenden will lead our search and both have decades of experience working with independent schools. In fact, Wickenden Associates has conducted searches for heads of schools for nearly 300 independent schools across the country. In addition, Laura and Linda have experience and knowledge of the independent school landscape in New York. Laura's long career in education includes experience as a teacher, department chair, and division head in multiple independent schools, and as a senior administrator at Collegiate School in New York; Linda covered New York City schools as an admissions officer at Princeton University.


OVERVIEW OF SEARCH TIMELINE
  • September, 2017: Our search process begins with a two-day visit by search consulting firm Wickenden Associates to get to know our program and community.

  • October - December, 2017: Application period; the Head Search Committee will review applications and interview semi-finalists.

  • January, 2018: Finalist interviews will include current parent and faculty forums and feedback opportunities.

  • February, 2018: Our goal is to have an announcement about Town's next leader and begin to design a plan with Tony Featherston for a seamless transition.

 
Thank you in advance for your support as we embark on this important process for Town. We will provide information and periodic updates throughout the search process on this webpage. Please feel free to get in touch with either of us at any time should you have any questions.

 

Sincerely,

Karyn Kornfeld and Valerie Russo


Head Search Committee Co-Chairs

October 17, 2017 Update With Opportunity Statement and Survey Themes

October 17, 2017

Dear Town Community, 

We are pleased to write with two updates about our Head of School search process: our Opportunity Statement and the important themes that emerged from Wickenden Associates' visit to Town and the online survey of our school community. On behalf of the Head Search Committee, thank you to everyone who has participated directly in the process thus far, either in person or via the online survey. Your voices were invaluable in helping Wickenden get to know our school and understand how best to present the Head of School opportunity to potential candidates. 

 
OPPORTUNITY STATEMENT

The Opportunity Statement has a distinctive 'job,' which is to highlight Town's particular strengths (i.e. community, joy in learning, excellence, balance, and financial health) and to serve as a conversation starter with potential candidates. As such, the style and focus are different from Town's other communication pieces, such as the Admissions view book or the website. This document was created by Wickenden Associates based on their intensive two-day visit to Town and on the excellent, insightful feedback collected through the online community survey from current and past parents, current and past faculty and staff, and alumni/ae. Click here to review the Opportunity Statement, which will be posted on Wickenden's website, on TownToday, and on Town's external website.

 
THEMES FROM THE ONLINE COMMUNITY SURVEY

In analyzing the 219 surveys received to date, Wickenden Associates found broad agreement within the school community about Town's defining strengths. Top responses included the following:

  • The clarity, strength, and successful execution of Town's mission and educational philosophy, including joy in learning, SOS, and the balance of traditional and progressive approaches.
  • The school's commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • The close-knit community and prevailing culture of warmth and kindness.
  • The quality and dedication of the faculty and staff.

Among the most common responses to questions regarding the challenges awaiting the next Head of School were the following:

  • Navigating the increasingly competitive independent school landscape and its implications for both admissions and high school placement.
  • Continuing the school's work in the area of diversity and inclusion.
  • Continuing to refine and strengthen the curriculum; balancing academic rigor and joy in learning.

Top responses regarding the most important qualities and qualifications we should be seeking in our next leader included the following:

  • A warm, caring person who shares and reflects the school's values.
  • A strong vision for the next stage in Town's evolution.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • A leader who embraces diversity and is knowledgeable about issues surrounding inclusion and social justice.
  • An academic and curricular leader.
 
NEXT STEPS

Now that our Opportunity Statement is finalized, the official recruiting stage of our Head Search has begun. Over the next many weeks, Wickenden Associates will identify and vet candidates for consideration by the Head Search Committee. The Committee members will review credentials and references for many candidates and narrow the pool down to a group of semifinalists we will interview in person in early January. From that pool, the finalist candidates will be identified. The finalists' interview process will take place in January / early February and will include two comprehensive interview days at Town plus open forums and feedback opportunities for current parents, faculty and staff. 

As always, we encourage you to reach out to us any time with questions about the process and we will continue to send updates as the search moves forward.

Best regards,

Valerie Russo and Karyn Kornfeld
Head Search Committee Co-Chairs

Contact

540 East 76th Street
New York 10021
p 212-288-4383
f 212-988-5846
info@townschool.org