Head of School Search FAQ

Updated February 6, 2022

Q:  What is the process and timeline for the search?

A: The search for a new Head of School started when our search consultant, Jane Armstrong from Independent Thinking, completed her virtual visit to the school in mid-January, engaging stakeholders in conversations regarding the best type of candidate to serve as Heilicher’s next Head of School. After drafting an Opportunity Statement defining the school’s needs, Ms. Armstrong will begin to speak with educational leaders about the opportunity in order to attract and vet a compelling candidate pool. As candidates come forward, they will be introduced to members of the Search Committee who will explore and conduct initial interviews of those who seem like a good fit. It is the industry practice that these stages of the process are confidential. Final candidates will visit the campus and meet with the community. We hope to hire our new Head of School by the end of the school year. If we do not identify the right candidate by then, an interim HOS will serve until the right leader is identified and hired.

Q:  Who is involved in the search?

A:  The Search Committee, by charge of the Board, is responsible for managing the search on behalf of the entire school community. The Search Committee and the search consultant will be utilizing the perspectives, knowledge, and wisdom of all members of the school’s administrative team, faculty, staff, students, parents, and other stakeholders throughout the process, as appropriate. Candidates will appreciate the opportunity to learn about the school, its culture, and its history as they visit our school later in the process.

Q:  How was the Search Committee formed?

A:  The Board of Trustees appointed Esther Goldberg-Davis and Michele Kaplan Clinard to lead a committee to work on behalf of the school community, undertaking the important work of partnering with our search consultant to vet potential Head of School candidates. The Search Committee is a diverse group of volunteers comprised of Heilicher parents, faculty, and members of the community. Short bios of Search Committee members can be found here. The committee members will be committing a great deal of time and energy to this process as they hold the significant responsibility of working on behalf of the entire school community. We recognize and greatly appreciate that there are many individuals eager to help in this process, and we look forward to identifying numerous, meaningful opportunities for engagement. 

Q:  What does the Search Committee do?

A:  The Search Committee will partner with our search consultant to vet candidates who are interested and qualified to serve as Heilicher’s next Head of School. They will serve as the school’s ambassadors in meeting and interviewing candidates. They will work on behalf of the community to ensure that the search and process are successful for the school. Ultimately, they will gather the input of the community, conduct extensive reference checking, and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees as to which candidate should be offered the opportunity to serve as our next Head of School. The Search Committee does not hire the Head of School, as that is the responsibility of the Board.

Q:  What is Heilicher looking for in the next Head of School?

A:  We are looking for the next great leader for Heilicher who will embrace the school’s mission, values, and culture. We have started, and will continue, conversations that will define the qualities and experiences sought in the Head of School. The input of all stakeholders will help inform what we as a school need. Our search consultant has prepared an Opportunity Statement for prospective candidates to review, which will outlines what we are seeking. That public document has been shared openly with our community.

Q:  Will the search impact my child’s experience?

A:  Heilicher is fortunate to have a strong faculty and staff who will continue to do the exceptional work they do to ensure that the school continues to be the great place for our children to learn each day. This talented group and the Board will all be working to partner with the new Head of School as we transition to new leadership. We are all committed to doing the work necessary to ensure the strengths of Heilicher are enhanced as we move forward.

Q: Why is Heilicher facing a HOS leadership transition?

A: Our search consultant has shared that numerous independent and Jewish day schools throughout the country are experiencing unexpected or earlier-than-anticipated leadership transitions. The significant challenges and stresses of leading a school during the pandemic has caused many school leaders to evaluate their professional endeavors and for some that has meant stepping away and seeking another path. 

Heilicher was very fortunate to have had Yoni Binus serve as Heilicher’s Head of School for eight years. This tenure of service is far longer than the typical tenure of a Jewish day school head of school and that will speak well to potential candidates. We are equally fortunate to have Maia Poling’s skilled leadership through the end of the current school year. 

Q:  How will communication be handled?

A:  We are committed to keeping the community apprised throughout the process. We will continue to use the various Heilicher communication vehicles, such as parent emails, The Roar, and the Heilicher website to share information. There will be “quiet” periods during the course of the search as the search consultant and Committee are conducting the confidential work of vetting potential candidates. Please feel free to email our search consultant, Jane Armstrong (jane@independent-thinking.com), or the Search Committee Co-Chairs, Esther Goldberg-Davis and Michele Kaplan Clinard (HOSsearch@hmjds.org), with questions.

Q: How can I share my feedback or ask a question?

A: An anonymous online survey was available through January 20, 2022. In addition, Ms. Armstrong facilitated three, one-hour parent listening sessions via Zoom on Wednesday, January 12. The session times and Zoom links were provided by email and in The Roar

A:  Please feel free to contact Search Committee Co-Chairs Esther Goldberg-Davis and Michele Kaplan Clinard at: HOSsearch@hmjds.org

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Search Committee Co-Chairs
Esther Goldberg-Davis
Michele Kaplan Clinard

Search Consultant
Jane Armstrong