Although it has been several weeks since our last communication, the Head of School Search Committee, together with our consultants, have been very busy behind the scenes. To that end, I am writing today to provide an update on the search, with particular attention to the following:
- An introduction of the Advisory Committee
- A recap of the Head of School Position Profile and Key Takeaways from our community
- An update on the Search Timeline and Finalist Visits to Chandler
PARENT AND EMPLOYEE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
On behalf of the Head of School Search Committee, I would like to thank you for your nominations and announce the selection of the Parent and Employee Advisory Committee who will assist with interviewing the Head of School finalists. I am pleased to share that we have assembled a diverse group that reflects a balanced representation of the Chandler community and a deep commitment to the future of our School.
The Parent Advisory Committee members are:
Daniel Harper, Advisory Committee Co-Chair (Henry '25, James '28)
Yolanda Barker (Alaysia '15, Destin '25)
Kyle Beswick (Pierce '27, Owen '29)
Gregory Cavic (Simone '27, June '30)
Vanessa Kopcho (Ellis '22, Vivienne '24)
Cheryl Mang (Scarlett '30)
Leeann Medina (Philip '30)
Dr. Nikia S. Robert (Nia '24, Lester '27, Selah '30)
Parag Shah (Sofia '22, Dillon '28)
Hubert Shen (Hudson '24, Ella '28)
Jerry Shen (Elise '26, Nathan '28)
Melissa Wu (Matthew '28)
The Employee Advisory Committee members are:
Kerrie Barbato, Advisory Committee Co-Chair, Kindergarten Teacher
Arpa Ghazarian, Advisory Committee Co-Chair, 8th Grade Science Teacher
Paul Camargo, 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Kacie Chaney, Kindergarten Teacher
Kimberly Edwards, 1st Grade Teacher
Melanie Hampton, 1st Grade Teacher
Jennifer Johnson, Assistant Director of Advancement and Community Engagement
Oscar Lugo, 7th Grade Spanish Teacher
Catherine Pearson, Kindergarten Teaching Assistant
Katie Villanueva, Lower School Spanish Teacher
Ashley Weideman, 2nd Grade Teacher
Having received a wonderful response to our request for nominations, I regret that we could not include everyone on the Committees, and I want to reiterate my sincere gratitude for your nominations and your engagement in this process.
ROLE OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Following an orientation with our search consultants, members of the Parent and Employee Advisory Committee will be prepared to conduct a formal, structured interview with each finalist, and thereafter, will provide their individual impressions of each candidate. Please note, the Board of Trustees has the ultimate responsibility for identifying and selecting the next Head of School and the Advisory Committee will not vote for candidates as part of this process. Rather, the work of the Advisory Committee is to provide feedback and input to the Search Committee in making a recommendation for a Head of School to the Board of Trustees.
HEAD OF SCHOOL PROFILE AND KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CHANDLER COMMUNITY
As you are aware, back in February, Marcus Hurlbut and Joan Beauregard of Educators' Collaborative, solicited input from members of the Chandler community during virtual listening sessions and by means of an electronic survey. Those interviewed and surveyed included faculty, students, administrators, staff, parents, trustees, former trustees and alumni. While individual responses varied, certain themes emerged as critical for the Search Committee to embrace as we head into the interview process.
Key Takeaways related to the Strengths of our School:
Community: Chandler is a place where students are known, supported and loved. We take pride in caring for each other and creating a close-knit, welcoming and supportive environment. The School is a gathering place where students and families from diverse backgrounds come together, share common ground experiences and a shared understanding of the School’s traditions.
Stable Leadership: Chandler has been blessed with consistent and stable leadership for decades. A long-tenured Head, a well-constituted and best practiced Board of Trustees and a dedicated faculty and staff provide an exceptionally strong foundation from which to embark on a new chapter in the School’s history.
Program and Curriculum: Led by strong and effective division heads and a highly qualified faculty, the academic program of the School prepares students for success after Chandler. Small class sizes, individual attention and differentiated instruction create a very positive environment for learning and growth.
Strong Financial Health: The financial health of Chandler is the result of responsible leadership and stewardship over the past 72 years. The School is debt-free, has a generous financial aid budget, parents both past and present, alumni and trustees contribute generously to the School on a variety of levels, and the School’s endowment is substantial for a school this size and age.
Key Takeaways related to the Emerging Challenges and Opportunities:
Evolving Identity: Balancing Chandler’s well-established commitment to provide a high quality and challenging academic program while attending to the social and emotional well-being of the community and developing a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment.
School Culture: Taking the time to understand the culture and traditions of Chandler and continue to develop a school environment where all members of the school community feel valued, included and supported.
Program and Curriculum: The ongoing evaluation and review of current programs and curriculum of our School is essential to keeping Chandler at the forefront of independent schools in the area. Evaluating the manner in which the student experience from K-8 is consistent and well-coordinated.
Faculty and Staff: Understanding the stress that teachers and staff have experienced over the past few years and developing a clear plan to support and retain Chandler’s dedicated faculty and staff.
External Community: Making an intentional effort to reach out to the larger community and to continue to demonstrate that Chandler is a private school with a public purpose.
This information ultimately guided the creation of a Head of School Position Profile identifying the key attributes, characteristics and qualities we identified as being most important to us as we seek our next Head of School. These include:
Commitment to our Mission, Vision, Values
An Educator and Life Long Learner
Cultural Alignment and Commitment to DEI
Collaborative & Empathetic Leadership Style
Exceptional Interpersonal & Communication Skills
Strong Business Acumen
Solid Management Skills
UPDATE ON THE SEARCH PROCESS AND TIMELINE
While it does feel quiet, please know that the Head of School Search Committee and our Consultants have been busy behind the scenes. Most recently, the Committee reviewed applicant dossiers, reached a consensus, and is currently conducting confidential interviews with prospective candidates as part of the semi-finalist stage. We are pleased to share that we have a strong group of semi-finalists who come from diverse backgrounds and offer a broad set of skills and experiences in line with the qualities we identified for our next school leader. A select group of finalists will be brought forward in May for formal interviews, including visiting Chandler’s campus and meeting with our community. To ensure candidate privacy, all communications with candidates and all interviews prior to the finalist stage will be handled in a confidential manner by the Search Committee and our search consultants.
FINALIST VISITS TO CHANDLER AND COMMUNITY FEEDBACK
We are committed to identifying the strongest future leader for our School, and community feedback will continue to inform our efforts. As a reminder, all members of the Chandler community will be invited to attend candidate forums by constituency during the finalist stage to hear from each candidate and to share individual feedback anonymously with the Search Committee.
Beginning in May, each finalist will be on campus for separate multi-day visits. During this time, finalists will visit classes, meet with administration, faculty, staff, parents, students, board members and alumni. This is an opportunity for our community to learn more about each finalist and for each finalist to learn more about us. We anticipate finalists will be visiting Chandler’s campus on the following days:
May 9 & 10
May 16 & 17
May 19 & 20
The final schedule for candidate forums by constituency will be confirmed and announced in early May.
Please continue to visit the Head of School Search web page
for recent announcements, past communications, and other important information regarding the search. You can also access a Head of School FAQ page on the website
Thank you for your continued engagement in this process.
Khalilah El-Amin, ’91 (Sabreen ’23)
Chair, Head of School Search Committee