Head of School Search

At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Head of School Kathleen O'Neill Jamieson will conclude a remarkably successful tenure of 16 years at National Cathedral School. 
 
As we celebrate Kathy over the coming months and honor her long record of accomplishments, we will also take the opportunity to think boldly and strategically about the future of our school. The search for National Cathedral School's next leader has already begun, and we will keep our community members — current, past and future — updated on the progress of that search here.
 

Events

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Search Committee Updates

List of 8 items.

  • Nov. 16 Update: Seeking an Interim Head for '19-'20

    Dear NCS Family and Friends,
     
    I want to update you on the Governing Board's efforts to identify National Cathedral School's 11th Head of School. After much consultation and deliberation, the Board has decided to seek an interim Head of School for the 2019-2020 school year as well as a permanent Head of School who will begin the following year.
     
    Our primary goal is unchanged. In keeping with the consistent and strongly held views we heard from current and past parents, students, alumnae, faculty, and staff, the Board continues to seek a permanent leader who can fulfill NCS's important mission: to provide the best possible education to a diverse community of exceptional young women; to offer them a nurturing environment in which to develop the full range of their gifts; and to support our calling as an Episcopal school and our efforts to further partnerships with our fellow institutions on the Cathedral Close.
     
    We are confident that our search will succeed. When we commenced our Head of School search last winter, we considered nearly 250 leaders for this career-defining opportunity. We expect a similar approach going forward, including both candidates we originally considered and those whose commitments made it difficult for them to consider NCS last spring.
     
    We have given considerable thought to the timetable for a search and whether we will attract the widest range of candidates, including those who currently lead schools, if we seek a new Head to start in July. Because a sitting head of school would need to give appropriate notice—a year is typical—before joining NCS, we would lose the opportunity to engage with those talented educators. The Board believes that our search committee should consider the widest range of candidates, including those who cannot commit to a new position without substantial lead time. The Board has decided, therefore, that the school's interests are best served with an interim Head of School for the next school year and a permanent Head beginning the following year.
     
    The Board has also decided that our interim Head of School will not be considered for the permanent position. This will avoid issues relating to incumbency and will allow our interim Head to focus on providing steady leadership and continuing to implement our new strategic plan. Our search firm, Spencer Stuart, has already begun to identify impressive educators who are able to take on the interim role, many of whom have served as interim head at other excellent independent schools. We expect to announce our appointment this spring.
     
    With regard to the effort to identify the next permanent Head of School, the Board recognizes and appreciates the work done over many months by the search committee. The committee members' dedicated service was a wonderful gift to our community. In the coming weeks, we will reconstitute our search committee. Committee co-chairs Linda Keene Solomon '82 and Elise Rabekoff will inform the NCS community of the committee's membership and other significant developments in the search.
     
    Thanks to our strategic plan, NCS has in place clear goals for the next five years. The plan ensures that NCS will continue to provide our students an unparalleled education while also preparing them to address the demands of the 21st century. With the help of outstanding faculty, dedicated staff, and top-notch facilities, NCS offers its students an education of remarkable depth and breadth, an education that prepares them well for whatever they may choose to pursue as adults—be it STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) disciplines, humanities, the arts, or an emerging field. And from our recent surveys, we know that our alumnae credit NCS with providing them a transformational experience, yielding lifelong enrichment. In short, during this time of change in leadership, the school will continue to build on its extraordinary legacy of excellence and accomplishment.
     
    Finally, I want to convey my thanks for the wonderful expression of support and encouragement in recent days. As a student at NCS, I came to appreciate the important role character can play in shaping our response to unexpected news. Your response has revealed to me yet again the exceptional depth of character within the NCS community. The enduring strength of our community has meant that National Cathedral School has offered a superb education for young women for well over a century and will continue to do so for many decades to come.
     
    I look forward to communicating further with you and seeing you May 15 at the Cathedral for the celebration of Kathleen O'Neill Jamieson's wonderful tenure as Head of School at NCS.
     
    Sincerely,
    Alice Hill '74
    Chair, National Cathedral School Governing Board
  • Oct. 31 Letter: Update and Resuming the Search

    Dear NCS family and friends,
     
    As you know, National Cathedral School undertook a process over the spring and summer of 2018 to identify our next Head of School. The selection of a Head who will steer NCS wisely into the future is the Governing Board's highest responsibility, and the Board approached this transition with great care. Elizabeth English was appointed to the position in August, but she has concluded, after extensive reflection, that this is not the right time for her and her family to make this move. We wish her well in her future endeavors.
     
    We are in the process of restarting our search for a new Head of School. The search will continue to be led by our Search Committee co-chairs, Elise Rabekoff, Linda Keene Solomon '82, and Glenn Youngkin, and our search firm, Spencer Stuart. While we hope to have a new Head of School in place by the start of the 2019-2020 school year, it is more important to us that we find the right candidate. If we do not have a permanent candidate in place for the start of the school year, we will consider an interim Head. You may track the progress of the search at ncs.cathedral.org/headsearch.
     
    We remain extremely grateful for the service of the current Head of School, Kathleen O’Neill Jamieson, and we look forward to celebrating Kathy at the Cathedral at the conclusion of her tenure.
     
    As the Board resumes its work to identify the 11th Head of School for National Cathedral School, we thank you as always for your continued support of the school and our students.
     
    Sincerely,
    Alice Hill '74
    Chair, National Cathedral School Governing Board
  • Apr. 6 Letter: Update and Position Description

    Dear NCS community,
     
    We want to provide you with an update about the search for the next Head of National Cathedral School.
     
    Since January, the Head of School Search Committee and our consultants from Spencer Stuart have heard from a wide variety of current NCS students and nearly 700 other community members: alumnae, current and past parents, current and former faculty members, and current and former staff. There is a remarkable consensus about what we all value about NCS: the commitment to helping students develop into strong and confident young women; the dedication to excellence, whether academic, artistic, or athletic; the culture that fosters deep and lasting friendships; the values grounded in our Episcopal tradition; the central importance of our remarkable faculty and staff; and, most of all, the community of girls and young women working together and supporting each other. There is wide agreement, as well, on the challenges that the school will face in the future and the qualities that will help our next Head meet them. We are so grateful to all of you for your willingness to help and your thoughtful assessments of what should never change and what might productively change.
     
    With the benefit of your thoughts, the search committee has written a position description for the next Head of School. This will be posted on the NCS website as well as on the Spencer Stuart website. It will form the basis for Spencer Stuart's conversations with potential candidates who have learned of the opportunity and for the firm's efforts to identify others who could be interesting candidates for our search. And it will be our guidepost as the committee embarks on the challenging process of evaluating candidates and determining who is most likely to be able to keep NCS strong and move us to a position of even greater strength.
     
    Now that the position description is final, our search will go into a quiet phase as we recruit and consider potential candidates. This is likely to be an undertaking of several months. We assure you that, even if you don't hear from us, we remain hard at work. Whether you have been in contact with us already or not, we welcome your input regarding what NCS needs for its future and, especially, any candidates you think we should approach. We hope that you know about the Contact the Search Committee link on the NCS website (accessed on the page providing updates on the search) and that you'll use it to share your thoughts.
     
    Our very best,
    Elise Rabekoff, Linda Keene Solomon '82, and Glenn Youngkin
    Head of School Search Committee co-chairs
  • Mar. 14 Letter: Alumnae Conference Call

    Dear NCS alumnae,
     
    We invite you to take part March 27 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm EDT (1:00 to 2:00 pm PDT) in a conference call regarding the search for a new Head of National Cathedral School.
     
    Last month, dozens of alumnae came to NCS to discuss the direction and leadership of the school and the qualities the ideal candidate should have. These conversations yielded insights that were illuminating and very helpful to the Search Committee's work. At the same time, we recognized that many alumnae could not take part in these community meetings, and we committed to offer you an opportunity for group discussion via a conference call.
     
    The March 27 call will be moderated by our search consultants at Spencer Stuart. Please dial 866-528-2256 and enter the access code 2305387, followed by the pound (#) sign. To enter the call, hit the pound key (#) once more.
     
    If this conference call conflicts with your schedule, we hope you will take another opportunity to share your thoughts with us: The short online questionnaire we wrote you about on Monday includes the same questions that will be asked during the call. Please know that all answers are anonymous and that Spencer Stuart will aggregate all information. You can access the questionnaire by clicking here.
     
    We are grateful for your participation in this important project, and we thank you for your continuing support for the committee's work.
     
    Sincerely,
    Elise Rabekoff, Linda Keene Solomon '82, and Glenn Youngkin
    Search Committee co-chairs
  • Mar. 12 Letter: Questionnaire for Head Search

    Dear NCS community,
     
    We are grateful to all of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts about the qualifications we should seek in NCS's next Head of School. Your responses have been illuminating and very useful.
     
    We would really like to be sure that all of you have an opportunity to share your thoughts. This brief form asks only six questions and can be completed in just a few minutes. We encourage you to participate—we really do want every member of the community to be part of the process.
     
    So that we can include your input as we move forward with the search process, we hope that you'll be able to submit your responses by Friday. The questionnaire can be accessed by clicking here.
     
    Please know that all submitted responses are anonymous and that the information will be aggregated by our search consultants at Spencer Stuart. We encourage you to be open and honest in your answers.
     
    Thank you for your support for the committee's work.
     
    Sincerely,
    Elise Rabekoff, Linda Keene Solomon '82, and Glenn Youngkin
    Search Committee co-chairs
  • Feb. 23 Letter: Thank You and Next Steps

    Dear NCS Community,
     
    On behalf of the entire Head of School Search Committee, we are grateful to everyone who came to NCS this week to share thoughts with us and our search consultants from Spencer Stuart about our school and the qualities to seek in our next Head of School. Over just two days, we heard from more than 250 of you, and we learned a great deal that will guide our work over the months ahead.
     
    We know that many of you were not able to attend those meetings, and we are focused on other ways for you to be part of the Head search process. To that end, we have developed a short online questionnaire that asks the same questions that our consultants asked during this week's meetings. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Please know that all answers are anonymous and that all information will be aggregated by our search consultants at Spencer Stuart. We would be very grateful if you would participate, and we encourage you to be open and honest in your answers.
     
    The questionnaire can be accessed by clicking here.
     
    We are also seeking additional ways to involve those of you who live far from Washington, D.C., with the following sessions:
     
    • On March 27 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm EDT (1:00 to 2:00 pm PDT), there will be a conference call for all NCS alumnae to share thoughts about the search. We will provide a dial-in number closer to that date and will also post call-in information on the Head of School Search page on the NCS website.
    • On April 4, there will be a community meeting at the Yale Club in New York (50 Vanderbilt Avenue) for all members of the NCS community to have a conversation with us and Spencer Stuart about the search and the qualities to seek in a new Head of School. We will provide additional details in a subsequent email and on the Head of School Search page. We hope that, if you live in the New York area, you'll save the date.
    Thanks to Spencer Stuart, we now have an online Search Committee mailbox so that you can share comments, suggestions, and nominations at any time. As with all such direct communications, these will be confidential and not attributed by Spencer Stuart.
     
    You can, of course, come to in-person events, complete the survey, and email us with thoughts and ideas. Your input is critical to our process, and we want to hear from you. We also encourage you to click on the Head of School Search page periodically to keep up to date on the search.
     
    Our next task will be to draft a position description, and your shared insights during this information-gathering phase will be a vital resource as we draft this document. We look forward to hearing more from you in the days and weeks to come. In the interim, thank you for your interest in and support for the Search Committee's work.
     
    Sincerely,
    Elise Rabekoff, Linda Keene Solomon '82, and Glenn Youngkin
    Search Committee co-chairs
  • Feb. 6 Letter: Announcing Community Meetings

    Dear NCS Community,
     
    As co-chairs of the NCS Governing Board's Search Committee, we want to invite you to participate in the first phase of the search process for a new Head of School.
     
    On Tuesday, February 20, and Wednesday, February 21, we will hold a series of meetings at NCS to provide those most interested in NCS-parents, faculty members, staff, students, alumnae, and other longtime friends of the school-the opportunity to share their thoughts about the direction and leadership of the school and the qualities the ideal candidate should have. These meetings are intended to be listening sessions, and we hope that as many people as possible will participate in them. Our partners at the search firm Spencer Stuart will lead the meetings, and members of the Search Committee will also be present.
     
    Each listening session is scheduled to run approximately 45 minutes to an hour. While some of the meetings, such as those set aside for students, will be small, several more are open to all who can come. Please consult the schedule below for times and locations. We hope you will mark your calendar to take part.
     
    The insights shared at these meetings will greatly help us develop a position description, which we will then use to promote the opportunity to prospective candidates, and in our work over the months ahead.
     
    There will be ways for people to contribute to the conversation if they are unable to attend. Among them is emailing the Search Committee mailbox to share your comments, suggestions, and nominations.
     
    Thank you for your support in identifying a worthy and talented successor to Kathleen O'Neill Jamieson.
     
    Sincerely,
    Elise Rabekoff, Linda Keene Solomon '82, and Glenn Youngkin
    Search Committee co-chairs
     
    MEETING SCHEDULE
    Tuesday, February 20
    8:00-8:50 am: Upper School faculty/staff, Hearst Auditorium
    2:30-3:30 pm: Middle School faculty/staff, Hearst Auditorium
    3:45-4:45 pm: Lower School faculty/staff, Hearst Hall Alumnae Parlor
    6:00-6:45 pm: Alumnae, Hearst Auditorium
    7:00-8:00 pm: Current parents, Hearst Auditorium
     
    Wednesday, February 21
    8:00-9:00 am: Current parents, Hearst Auditorium
    9:00-10:00 am: Past parents, Hearst Auditorium
    6:00-7:00 pm: Open meeting (all are invited to attend), Hearst Auditorium
  • Jan. 29 Letter: Announcing the Committee & Search Firm

    Dear NCS Community:
     
    On behalf of the Governing Board, I want to update you on the ongoing work to select Kathleen O'Neill Jamieson's successor as Head of School upon her June 2019 departure. The Board is profoundly grateful to Mrs. Jamieson for her enormous contributions to National Cathedral School. Thanks to her exceptional leadership and robust record of accomplishment, NCS could not be in a better position—academically, administratively, and financially—to undertake the search for a new Head of School.
     
    To aid in fulfilling its responsibility to select NCS's 11th Head of School, the Board has established a Search Committee, comprised of past and present board trustees as well as alumnae, parent, and faculty representatives. Led by three co-chairs, Elise Rabekoff, Linda Keene Solomon '82, and Glenn Youngkin, the Committee includes current parents from all three divisions, faculty members including a school chaplain, alumnae from three different decades, past parents, and substantial past and present Board representation. This group of thoughtful, engaged, and experienced members of our community is committed to finding the right person to take NCS into an exciting future, and I am delighted that they have graciously agreed to serve:
     
    Mariana Bush: Board member, mother of Victoria '15 and Kristina (11th grade)
    Dolores Hamilton: Former Board member, Upper School math teacher
    Elizabeth Haile Hayes, ex officio: Former Board chair, PECF board secretary, mother of Kate '04 and Molly '10
    Alice Hill '74, ex officio: Board chair
    Paul Horvath: Board member, father of Sophie (10th grade), Emma (8th), and Violet (4th)
    Roy Kapani: Board member, father of Lia '16 and Emma (10th grade)
    Rachel Mumford: Middle School chaplain and religious studies teacher, mother of Julia (4th grade)
    Elise Rabekoff, committee co-chair: Board member, former Board chair, mother of Katie Gladstone '09
    Tamara Riquelme-Manzoni: Board member, Upper School Spanish teacher, mother of Camila Villagra-Riquelme '15
    Linda Keene Solomon '82, committee co-chair: Former Board member
    Gay Truscott '80: Parents Association vice president, mother of Nina Miller (11th grade) and Emily Miller (9th)
    Mieka Wick '93: Mother of Annabelle (5th grade)
    Tae-Sik Yoon: Board vice chair, father of Rachel (10th grade)
    Glenn Youngkin, committee co-chair: Board member, father of Anna (12th grade)
     
    We are confident that this Search Committee will find a superlative new leader for our students and our school. We thank them in advance for their commitment and service.
     
    To help guide the search process, the school has retained Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm with a long and distinguished history of successful independent school searches. Most recently Spencer Stuart assisted St. Albans in identifying Jason F. Robinson as the next Headmaster at St. Albans. We are fortunate to have Mary Gorman, who headed the Spencer Stuart team for the STA search, as well as Michele E. Haertel, who chairs their independent school practice, and Alden Barsness, who worked on the STA engagement, leading Spencer Stuart in its work at NCS.
     
    In the coming weeks, the Search Committee, in coordination with Spencer Stuart, will engage with the NCS community in multiple ways to better inform the search process. Spencer Stuart, along with members of the Search Committee, will hold a series of meetings with parents, faculty, staff, students, and alumnae. These listening sessions will allow the NCS community to share ideas about the future direction and leadership of the school and thoughts about what qualities the ideal candidate should have. Further information and details about these meetings will be provided in the near future.
     
    Once we have completed the listening sessions, the search team will develop a position description, which we will share with the NCS community. The Search Committee will then begin a confidential process to identify our next Head of School.
     
    Throughout the search, the most up-to-date public information will be posted on the NCS website, at ncs.cathedral.org/headsearch. You may also contact Spencer Stuart directly about the search at NCShead@spencerstuart.com. Please feel free to share these addresses with anyone who might be interested.
     
    Thank you for your interest and participation in this very important endeavor for National Cathedral School.
     
    Sincerely,
    Alice Hill '74
    Chair, NCS Governing Board