April 14, 2020
Dear members of the Julia Morgan School for Girls community,
On behalf of the Head of School Search Committee, we would like to provide an update. Understandably, we, like the rest of the world, find ourselves in this unprecedented time. Our first priority is the well-being of our students, their families, and our faculty and staff as we deal with the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on our community.
During this time, we have been working with our search consultants Risa Oganesoff Heersche and Mathew Heersche of Educational Directions. Risa and Mathew have been recruiting and evaluating candidates. We are thrilled to report that the response has been very positive. All of our prospective candidates have resonated with JMSG’s mission and values, our strong sense of community, the dynamic programming, and our reputation.
While Risa and Mathew are working to narrow down a group of candidates that best match the qualities we are looking for in our next head, the current circumstances have impacted the process. As you would expect, the educators who are potential candidates are also dealing with challenges at their current schools and, clearly, their focus and priority are with supporting their current school communities. As a result, the recruitment and evaluation process is moving slower than anticipated. In spite of these challenges, we have a quality pool of candidates and Risa and Mathew are continuing to recruit and evaluate additional prospects.
Our search committee will narrow down this candidate pool to a group of semi-finalists to interview. Given the situation, these interviews will take place via video in early May. This group will be interviewed only by the search committee in order to preserve the candidates’ confidentiality. Confidentiality is standard practice at this stage of the search, to avoid any unnecessary repercussions for candidates who have not informed their respective school communities of their interest in pursuing other opportunities.
After the semi-finalist interviews, the committee will select finalists. In normal circumstances, each finalist would conduct a two-day visit at JMSG. This visit is a critical step in the search process for the finalists and our school community—it allows our community to get a sense of the individual and, just as importantly, to allow the finalist to get a sense of us. Given the importance of this stage of the search, it’s crucial that these visits be done in person (not via video) so the candidate and community can interact.
We had originally planned to conduct finalist visits in May, and identify our next head prior to the end of this academic year. However, as our physical school will not reopen this academic year, we plan to host these visits as soon as school is open in the fall (early September). We recognize the uncertainty of the moment and continue to encourage flexibility and understanding on everyone’s part. Candidates are also fully aware and understanding of the current circumstances.
We are still in an excellent position for finding our new head of school. We have a strong pool of candidates, and we plan to identify this individual early in the new school year, allowing time for the transition and a July 2021 start. We will continue to provide updates as we move forward. We are deeply grateful for our JMSG community and truly appreciate your understanding during these difficult times.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or Risa and Mathew, our search consultants from Educational Directions.