Dear Friends Academy Students, Parents, Colleagues, and Alumni,
Our search for Friends Academy's next Head of School for the 2023-24 school year is underway.
As previously communicated, the Board of Trustees has formed a Search Committee of Trustees consisting of:
- Steve Witthuhn, Clerk – Alumnus ('01); Parent ('31, '35)
- Jeff Daniels – Alumnus ('90); Parent ('16, '20, '23)
- Rachel Green – Parent ('21, '24)
- Tom Gibian – Former Head of School at Sandy Spring School
- Zimu Zheng – Parent ('24, '26)
- Frank Ingrassia (ex officio) – President of Board of Trustees; Parent ('01, '03, '12, '14, '16, '19, '21); Grandparent ('32, '34, '36)
Following a series of interviews with several consulting firms, the Search Committee has selected Dr. Bruce Dennis and Marsha Little of Carney Sandoe & Associates (CS&A) to assist Friends Academy in identifying and hiring its next leader. CS&A is the largest educational search firm in the country and brings a deep knowledge of independent schools from over 40 years of experience placing school leaders, administrators, and educators. Bruce and Marsha both have extensive experience as leaders of prominent independent schools and in assisting top schools across the nation in identifying school heads, and they have already brought great energy to ramping up the process. Their bios are included below. We are excited to be working with them in the months ahead.
We are entering our search from a position of great strength. Friends Academy is thriving on a number of metrics. We have been recognized as the #1 private school on Long Island and top-15 in New York, by Niche.com. We have dedicated, strong, and dynamic leadership within our administration and staff, and an outstanding faculty. The financial health of FA has never been better, with an endowment exceeding $65 million and robust and growing applications for enrollment and community engagement in giving. Over the last several years, a number of milestone investments have been made in FA's program and facilities – including Entrepreneurship and Innovation programs, the Forest School, and our new turf field.
Most importantly, our community remains grounded in the Quaker values that have underpinned the school's mission and culture for almost 150 years, including our principled commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Board of Trustees remains fully committed to the strategic plan that was laid out several years ago, has guided the investments we have made at Friends Academy, and will continue to be carried out under Andrea's leadership through the next school year and into the next Head of School's administration. The Board and CS&A are absolutely confident that this plan will make Friends Academy highly appealing to a broad range of strong Head of School candidates who will be excited to build upon this momentum while naturally infusing their own leadership perspective in the years ahead.
A few words about our process. The Search Committee will work closely with CS&A and will ultimately be responsible for screening and evaluating candidates and making a recommendation to the full Board. The Board will make the final decision on the successful candidate. Our expectation is that this process will lead to an announcement of our next Head of School by the early autumn.
In keeping with our mission and principles, our process will be as transparent as possible, and inclusive of the Friends Academy community. We will offer our entire community opportunities to share thoughts and aspirations for the next Head of School along the way. To that end, please view the Head of School Search webpage on our FA website that contains updates and information about our search process, and an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), which will be regularly reviewed by members of our Search Committee. Other opportunities for participation will include:
- Consultant site visit and community forums: Bruce and Marsha will visit campus on April 6-7 and look forward to meeting as many members of our community as possible, including faculty, parents, students, administration and staff. To augment the in-person site visit, we will have two parent forums over Zoom – the evening of April 6 and the morning of April 7. We will provide more details on these and other forums soon.
- Survey: we invite all community members to offer feedback through this online survey. The survey will remain open until April 11 and will help inform the position statement that CS&A will create to share with potential candidates.
- Advisory Council: we anticipate establishing an Advisory Council of faculty and potentially others to assist and provide input to the Search Committee. We will share more information about this council in the coming weeks.
We welcome and encourage anyone in our community to reach out to us individually or collectively through the email address above to share your views. We will keep in touch during the coming months through email communications, video or virtual messages, and most importantly, postings and updates on our Head of School Search webpage. This will be particularly important as we will need to maintain a nimble and fluid approach in this search, given the competitive landscape of leadership recruitment. Finally, while we commit to an inclusive and transparent process, please understand that at times there will be practical constraints as we will need to safeguard the confidentiality of candidates.
In closing – while we are saddened by Andrea's decision to pursue another opportunity, the Board of Trustees is excited about the future of Friends Academy, enthusiastic about the process ahead, and deeply grateful to the entire Friends Academy community for their support, participation, and energy.
Again, please feel free to reach out to me or any of our Search Committee members with any questions.
Trustee, Clerk of Search Committee
Head of School Search