PMFS Head of School Search Committee and Invitation

Originally Emailed February 14, 2018

Our Head of School Search Committee

Dear PMFS Community and Friends,

We are pleased to announce that the Naming Committee presented a list of 14 excellent candidates at the School Committee’s February meeting, and we approved the entire group to serve as our Search Committee for a new Head of School.

The members of the 2018 Search Committee are:

  • John Gilliland – Clerk
  • Nicole Armstrong
  • Jennifer Couzin-Frankel
  • Jana Dean Gunby
  • Dan Heider
  • Ralph Henninger
  • Fran Johnston
  • Jeff Markovitz
  • Leann Stover Nyce
  • Shawn Craig Parker
  • Gillian Pokalo
  • Genevieve Schmidt Camacho
  • Erin Schmitt
  • Maura Sutherland

This group represents a broad spectrum of our school community, including current parents, faculty, staff, alumni, alumni parents and School Committee. We are very pleased by the level of skill and energy this group brings to the important work of identifying and vetting candidates for Head of Plymouth Meeting Friends School.

Please join us in thanking the members of the Search Committee for their willingness to serve our community in this way!

We also want to thank the members of the Naming Committee for all the work they did in assembling such an excellent group of candidates for the Search Committee. Thank you Ralph Henninger (Clerk), Anne Javsicas, Andrea Morales Hanratty, Martha Wolf, and Will Starr!

What Happens Next?

Starting now, John Gilliland, as clerk of the Search Committee, will work closely with the Executive Committee of the School Committee to identify and retain a search consultant. A search consultant typically provides the following services to a Search Committee:

  • Help lead the community in developing an “opportunity statement”. This document serves as a written introduction to our community and the job of Head of School at PMFS
  • Help identify, attract, and vet highly qualified candidates
  • Help lead the community in meeting finalists
  • Help ensure the search is conducted in a professional and effective manner

Our plan is for a consultant to be hired quickly. Once hired, the consultant will begin by working with the Search Committee to create the opportunity statement. The details will depend on what the search consultant suggests, but creating the opportunity statement will involve our entire community, and will likely include focus group meetings, listening sessions, and/or surveys. The final product will be a document which describes who we are as community and highlights our dreams for moving forward together.

Let’s Start Our Work Together Now

In preparation for the important work we will be doing together in the coming months, the School Committee wants to take this opportunity to engage with all of you – parents, faculty, staff, alumni, alumni parents, donors, friends of the school – anyone who feels a personal connection to PMFS. We are inviting each of you to share with us about your experience as a member of the PMFS community. What have been your greatest joys within this community? What difficulties have you encountered? As members of a dynamic and diverse community, we all have unique experiences, and School Committee would like to learn more about your unique experience.

We are engaging in this way now for two reasons. First, taking a moment to step back and reflect on our individual experiences as members of this community will help us all prepare for the communal work we will be doing with the Search Committee and their consultant. Second, by sharing your reflections with the School Committee, you can give us valuable perspectives that will help inform our work next year as we manage the transition to a new head of school.

At the end of the process, we will summarize what we have heard and share that summary with all of you.

We want to hear from as many of you as possible, and by whatever means you find most comfortable, so we have created two ways for you to share about your experience.

  • If you would like to write to us, you can submit your thoughts using this online form. You can write as much or as little as you like, and you can share your name or remain anonymous. All school committee members will have a chance to read what you have written, and we will share a summary of what we receive with the full community.
  • If you would like to talk with us in person, we are offering a variety of times in the mornings, at lunch time, and in the evenings when you can come and talk to a small group of School Committee members. If you are interested in this opportunity, you will be able to sign up for a time slot here. School Committee will summarize what we hear in these meetings, and share that summary with the full community.

You will be able to submit your thoughts online from now until March 16. Meeting times will be available starting on February 21, and running through March 16.

We look forward to hearing from you,
Your School Committee

Our Head of School Search Begins

Originally posted in the January 18, 2018 Virtual Red Folder

Over the next 18 months, the School Committee will be posting periodic updates on what is happening with the search for, and transition to, our next Head of School. In this inaugural post, we want to start by thanking Sarah for giving us the gift of time to conduct a thorough and professional search. Sarah continues to give so much of herself to PMFS, and this is just another example of her love and care for our community.

The optimal timeline for a Head Search begins in January and ends with the announcement of a new Head of School in late fall. In the coming weeks and months, please watch this space for announcements on opportunities to participate in the early stages of the process.

One such opportunity available now is to be a member of the Search Committee. This will be a committee of about 12 people representing our community’s many constituencies. Their job will be to work with our search consultant to solicit applications, conduct interviews, and identify finalists for the job of Head of School. After our entire community has a chance to meet the finalists and provide their feedback, the Search Committee will make a final recommendation to the School Committee. The School Committee will then make the final decision on who will be our next Head of School.

In order to ensure broad participation, the School Committee has appointed a Naming Committee to identify community members for the Search Committee. The Naming Committee will consider all names they receive, and then submit their list of recommendations to the School Committee for final approval.

If you would like to be considered for membership on the Search Committee, or you know someone who should be considered, please contact the clerk of the Naming Committee, Ralph Henninger at ralphh@pmfs1780.org. Ralph is joined on the Naming Committee by the following members and friends of our community:

  • Gillian Pokalo: Current PMFS Art Teacher
  • Anne Javsicas: Former PMFS Head of School
  • Andrea Morales Hanratty: Current PMFS Parent and Alumna
  • Martha Wolf: Current PMFS Early Childhood Education Teacher
  • Will Starr: Current PMFS 4th Grade Teacher

We hope to have chosen the full Search Committee by mid February, so please make your nominations soon.

As Sarah said in her letter, this is a bittersweet time, but we are very pleased to have this opportunity to work closely with the PMFS community on the important work we have to do over the next 18 months.

Sincerely,
Your School Committee