Dear Brooklyn Friends Community,
We are pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has retained Jim Wickenden and Laura Hansen of Wickenden Associates (www.Wickenden.com) to support and guide us in our search for a new Head of School for July 1, 2019. We are excited because we have high confidence that we have the right firm to help us find the best match in leadership at this time in the school’s history.
In our last communication to the community about the Head of School Search, we indicated we had issued a Request for Proposal to seven leading consulting firms, and we received thorough responses from five of the firms. Based on the responses, there were three clear leaders based on experience and philosophy. A group of Trustees – Co-Chairs, Steve Burwell and Ed Oliver, Clerk of Finance, Pam Kiernan, Clerk of Advancement, Salome Galib, Faculty Trustees, Kamauru Johnson and Margaret Trissel, and the two of us spent 90 minutes interviewing each of these three firms on Wednesday and Thursday, April 18 and 19. We also did extensive reference checks on the firms so that we could confirm our impressions and glean additional insights into how each firm would work with us as a community.
Based on the interviews and references, the Selection Committee easily reached unity to retain Jim Wickenden and Laura Hansen because of the following salient attributes of the two of them and the firm:
Recent and relevant experience in New York City independent schools.
Access to a deep and diverse candidate pool.
Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion in the process and recommendation of candidates.
Adherence to a transparent and inclusive process that brings unity to the school community and involves all constituencies.
A clear schedule that will keep us on task with their guidance.
Excellence in all aspects of communications, including the writing of the Opportunity Statement which will describe our school and attract candidates.
Demonstrated capacity to achieve a deep understanding of our school culture, priorities, and leadership needs.
Excellent listeners and framers of questions.
Superb reference checks done by members of the Wickenden staff trained explicitly in this skill.
Accessibility and responsiveness.
Over 30 years of experience working with independent schools so Jim and Laura completely understand the educational landscape.
Patient, respectful, articulate, a sense of humor, and enthusiasm about serving BFS.
A clear understanding of the importance of the transition year and a plan to support the new Head of School.
A proven record of placing Heads of School that have long tenures.
We encourage you to visit their website for more information and to view the extensive experience of the firm (www.Wickenden.com).
On Monday and Tuesday, May 7 and 8, Jim and Laura will be on campus to have individual, small group, and open meetings to hear our voices and begin their work of understanding us,
and we want you to get to know them. We spoke with Jim and Laura yesterday to begin creating a schedule which will afford everyone an opportunity to see them. We will share the schedule shortly. These initial meetings and interviews will provide valuable insights and information about BFS for Jim and Laura as they begin thinking about appropriate candidates and preparing the Opportunity Statement, the description of our school and the leadership opportunity.
Within a few days, we will send to all members of the BFS community a link to a web-based, anonymous survey from Wickenden Associates so that each of you has the opportunity to share your thoughts in detail. The survey will enhance Jim and Laura’s understanding of BFS and inform the Opportunity Statement. If you cannot attend a meeting, this will be the way to make your voice heard, so please participate.
Finally, we will begin constituting the Search Committee with the guidance of Jim and Laura. We intended to wait until we had selected our consultants before creating a Search Committee so we could benefit from their wisdom. Necessarily the Search Committee will be limited in size, but we want to assure you that there will be ample opportunities as the process unfolds for the entire community to participate and provide feedback. Indeed, we are counting on community involvement so that BFS and Brooklyn shine for candidates! Our guiding principle is to make the process as open, inclusive, and transparent as possible. Our goal remains to find our next Head of School by mid-fall 2018.
We are at an important, forward-looking moment for BFS, and we ask all members of the community to share in charting what will be a very bright future for our beloved school. If you have any questions or comments, please address us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Macon Jessop, Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee
Bill Morris, Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee