Head of School Search

The Gould Academy Board of Trustees is extremely pleased to announce that Tao Smith ’90 has been selected as the Academy’s next Head of School, to start in July 2020.

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This is an exciting time for our school and a unique opportunity for us to refocus on what is at the heart of a Gould education. Our mission remains one of preparing academically motivated students for college and helping them to become independent-minded, ethical citizens who will lead lives of purpose, action, excellence, and compassion in a dynamic world. Indeed, the increasing importance of our mission becomes more apparent by the day.

The search process was a rare opportunity for all of us in the Gould community to help shape the school’s future. Here is the document the committee the consultants created—based on the research and interviews they did with members of the community— outling what the Gould most wanted to see in the next head of school.

What was the timeline for the search?

Led by the Search Committee and RG175, a nationally recognized search firm to serve as consultant, the advertising and recruitment process began in February and continued through the summer. A selection of finalists will visit campus from September 15 to 27. The Board of Trustees’ objective is to announce the appointment of a Head of School in October. The new Head of School will start her or his leadership on July 1, 2020.

The Search Committee sent updates throughtout the process:

August Letter

July letter
June letter

How did the Search Committee select RG175?

After interviews with four strong search firms, Bob Henderson and Clay Stites from RG175 were selected to support our head of school search.

  • Bob Henderson worked for 37 years at four schools in three different time zones, including boarding and day schools, and schools of differing configurations, cultures, and philosophies.  
  • Clay Stites was one of the firm’s founders and is its most experienced member. He has completed more than 100 successful head searches and worked with another 30 schools on governance and planning issues.

Both Bob and Clay visited campus in February to interview and survey faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and students to develop a School Profile and a Candidate Information Packet of the best person to lead Gould Academy into the future. It includes school history, mission, future plans, operations and challenges giving each candidate a transparent view of Gould to determine whether he or she is a good fit for the school.

What is the role of the Search Committee?

The Search Committee is responsible for steering the search process with guidance and support from RG175’s consultants. 

The search committee has sorted through a pool of highly qualified candidates vetted by RG175. They organized and conducted interviews with the semifinalists and finalists. Four finalists will visit Gould in September. At the end of the process, the Search Committee will recommend a final candidate to be confirmed by the Board of Trustees.

Once Gould’s new HOS has been chosen, a transition team, with the support of Bob Henderson, will facilitate the leadership transition and integration into the school. A key role of the Search Committee is to keep the Gould community informed and engaged throughout the process while respecting the confidentiality of the candidate recruitment process.

What is the Board of Trustees’ role?

The Board of Trustees assumes full responsibility for hiring the next Head of School. In September 2019, the Trustees will be on campus to meet the final candidates. Following the final interviews and with the recommendation of the Search Committee, the Board of Trustees will approve the appointment of Gould’s next Head of School.

What is the consultants’ role?

RG175’s consultants will be actively involved with the Search Committee throughout each step of this multifaceted process. The consultants’ involvement includes:

  • Fact-finding through interviews and surveys to gain a better understanding of Gould’s culture
  • Develop a candidate pool through advertising, networking, and personal contact
  • Facilitate the flow of feedback between the candidates and the Search Committee
  • Resume review & reference checking
  • Preliminary interviews
  • In-depth semifinalist and finalist interviews
  • Transition planning and support
  • New Head of School mentoring

What is the role of the faculty and staff?

Throughout the fact-finding stage, faculty and staff have met with RG175 to provide both feedback and commentary. Co-chairs Ken and Christine have also visited campus at various times and to update the faculty and staff. 

What input will other members of the community have?

Throughout the fact-finding stage, students, alumni, and parents have had the opportunity to meet with the RG175 to provide both feedback and commentary. At the final stage, there will be open meetings with each of the finalists. For questions or comments, please contact the Search Committee.

Search Committee

Please contact the Search Committee co-chairs, Christine Teague ’66 and Ken Remsen ’67 if you have questions.

Other members of the committee leading the search are as follows:

  • Trustee Christine Teague ’66, committee co-chair
  • Former trustee/Alumni Board member Ken Remsen ’67, committee co-chair
  • Phyllis Gardiner, P’09, president, Board of Trustees
  • Chris Brooks ’99, trustee
  • Sam Adams ’77, P’18, trustee
  • Pam Senese ’82, trustee
  • Brad Clarke P’12,’15,’16,’19, faculty
  • Deb Costello P’11,’12, faculty
  • Colin Penley, faculty
  • Assistant head of schools Chris Sparks and Brad Clarke serve as ex officio members.