March 6, 2018

Dear Members of the St. Anne’s Community,

Last Friday I shared with you that Alan Smiley has chosen to make next year (the 2018/2019 school year) his last at St. Anne’s. While we are all saddened to see Alan depart, the work now begins to ensure that St. Anne’s continues to thrive, building upon the numerous accomplishments during Alan’s tenure while being true to the spirit and culture that makes our community special. Your input in this process is vital, and I will work to keep everyone updated as we go through this process.

Upon learning of Alan’s decision, the Board of Trustees immediately began the process to find our new Head of School. The selection of the new Head is one of the most important responsibilities of the Board of Trustees, and we are committed to finding a truly exceptional leader and educator who understands our unique community. To that end, the Board has established a Search Committee, led by Luke Simpson and Scott Lichtenberger. The 10-person committee consists of trustees, faculty members, parents, and an alumnus of St. Anne’s.

To support our work and to help identify the highest quality candidates, we have engaged a national search firm that specializes in these types of searches. Educational Directions of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, was selected after carefully researching a number of highly regarded firms, conducting interviews and performing reference checks from other schools. Educational Directions was founded in 1987 and is a highly respected national firm. Our search will be led by Mathew Heersche and Risa Oganesoff Heersche who both bring experience, expertise and enthusiasm to our search. For more information on the firm and our consultants, we invite you to visit their website at

The Head search process will be an open and inclusive one. An important first step is that Mathew and Risa will spend time on campus to learn as much about our school as possible. They will visit St. Anne’s next week on March 12th and 13th to interview members of all stakeholder groups within the school (students, faculty, parents, administrators, alumni, Board members) as to what we seek in our next leader. There will be open parent forums held on Monday, March 12th at 4:30-5:30 PM in the Dining Hall, and Tuesday, March 13th at 8:45-9:45 AM in Comfort Hall. All parents are encouraged to attend. Among the key questions that they will ask of all of us are:

  • What is the culture of our school?
  • What are the perceived challenges and opportunities of the school?
  • Where do we, as a school, want to be in 5 years?
  • What experience/leadership styles/personality traits will best meet those needs within our culture?

In addition, we are providing an additional opportunity for your input through an online survey.
You can access the survey at the following link:

From all of the information gathered through this process, Mathew and Risa, with the Search Committee, will develop a clear and definitive position description to be used to attract appropriate candidates. We will, of course, share this description with all members of the St. Anne’s community once it is completed.

Our consultants will use a broad national outreach to notify educational leaders of our opening. Over the next months, they will be identifying and evaluating top prospects. Our goal is to identify a group of top-level candidates and then narrow that number down to five to seven individuals whom the Search Committee will interview. From that group will come three finalists. There will then be opportunities for the broader community to meet the finalists in the fall of this year.

Our calendar calls for identification and engagement of the next Head of St. Anne’s to be completed by late fall 2018. There will be an organized transition process culminating with the new Head commencing work on or about July 1, 2019.

We are grateful for all that Alan has done for us and there will be opportunities to recognize his work throughout the 2018-19 academic year. We look forward to the search process and will keep all members of our school community informed as to its progress via regular updates.