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About

Head of School Search

From the Search Committee Co-Chairs Carey Jaros ’96 and Susan Shons Luria '85

Carey Jaros '96 Susan Shons Luria '85
Dear Members of the Laurel Community,
 
As Board Chair Megan Lum Mehalko ’83 mentioned in her letter to the community acknowledging Ann V. Klotz’s upcoming retirement, we write as the Co-Chairs of the Head of School Search Committee to provide more information about the plans the Board of Trustees has developed to identify and recruit the next Head of School, who will start on July 1, 2025.

The Board of Trustees, which has the ultimate responsibility for selecting the next Head of School, has appointed a Search Committee to conduct and manage the search process for our school’s next leader. The Board also has retained Educators Collaborative (EC) to assist us with our search. EC has conducted over 1,000 successful head of school searches since its founding in 1971. Leading our project will be Nat Conard, Co-Managing Partner of the firm, and his partner Pilar Cabeza de Vaca. Both have served as heads of independent schools and are well known and respected by educators throughout the country. Pilar and Nat both feel that Laurel School presents an exceptionally attractive professional opportunity that will draw an excellent pool of candidates.
 
The success of this search will depend in large part on the input that the Search Committee and the consultants receive from the Laurel community. We ask that you complete this community survey by January 31. Nat and Pilar will visit Laurel for two full days in early February to meet and speak with members of all constituencies. The responses to the survey and the input provided in the on-campus meetings and listening sessions will inform the development of a Leadership Profile that will guide the consultants, the Search Committee, and the Board in recruiting and selecting Laurel’s next Head of School. We know we can count on you to participate in the survey and to fully share your thoughts about the future leadership of Laurel with Nat and Pilar.

Educators Collaborative will advertise the position extensively in the coming weeks and access their comprehensive database and professional networks to solicit, recruit, and encourage applications from well-qualified prospective candidates. If you have any nominations for candidates to be the next Head of School at Laurel, there will be an opportunity to share them as part of the survey. Pilar and Nat anticipate considerable interest in the position from a well-qualified group of candidates, both locally and from across the country.
 
During the next several months, Nat and Pilar will develop a pool of thoroughly vetted candidates for the Search Committee to review. From this pool, the Committee will select eight to ten candidates to invite to virtual, confidential interviews. After interviewing this group of semi-finalist candidates, the Committee will invite the top candidates to the School for two full days of interviews. There will be opportunities for representatives from all constituencies in our community to meet the candidates and provide feedback to the Search Committee on their impressions. Ultimately, a single candidate will rise to the top and be recommended to the Board for approval. It is our hope that Laurel’s next Head of School will be selected and announced prior to the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year, allowing for a full year of celebration of Ann’s tenure and an intentional transition to our next leader.
 
As part of our commitment to keep the Laurel community informed, we will post key information and updates on the search throughout the process on this page on Laurel’s website. In the meantime, we are grateful for your support and contributions to this process as we prepare for an exciting new chapter ahead for the school we all love.

Sincerely,

Signature: Carey Jaros '96


Carey Jaros ’96
Board Vice-Chair and
Search Committee Co-Chair
(Frances ’28, Eloise ’30, Madeline ’33 Farmery)

Signature: Susan Shons Luria '85



Susan Shons Luria ’85

Board Secretary and
Search Committee Co-Chair
(Margot ’20, Elena ’21)

Head of School Search Committee

  • Carey Jaros ’96, Board Vice-Chair and Search Committee Co-Chair (Frances ’28, Eloise ’30, Madeline ’33 Farmery)
  • Susan Shons Luria ’85, Board Secretary and Search Committee Co-Chair (Margot ’20, Elena ’21)
  • Lynnette Jackson Crenshaw ’93, former Board Chair/Trustee Emerita
  • Karen McCartan DeSantis ’79, Board Member
  • David Fleshler, former Board Member (Tamar ’13, Talia ’15)
  • Neeti Sundaresh ’95, LSPA Co-President (Meera ’31, Anika ’33, Kai ’38)
  • Megan Lum Mehalko ’83, Board Chair (Kristen ’17)

FAQ

List of 10 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is the general timeline for the Head of School search?

    The search process essentially consists of three phases.

    In the first phase, the Educators Collaborative consultants get to know Laurel through conversations with the Search Committee, the Board of Trustees, the administration and faculty, parents, alums, and students; through a community survey; and through reviewing data and documents provided by the school. This enables the consultants to develop a leadership profile for Laurel’s next Head of School. Simultaneously, the consultants publicize the leadership opportunity and begin their outreach to prospective candidates.

    The second phase takes place almost exclusively behind the scenes and is highly confidential, as the Educators Collaborative consultants recruit and do the initial vetting of candidates through interviews and reference checks. While any qualified candidate will be considered up until the completion of the search, interested candidates will be asked to contact Pilar and Nat before a deadline that will be established soon, so that their candidacies can be appropriately vetted.

    In the final phase, the Search Committee becomes very engaged, learning more about candidates whom the consultants have put forward for consideration, conducting preliminary confidential interviews, selecting the finalists, and assuring that the finalists’ visits to Laurel are successful. During the finalists’ visits, members of the community will meet with each of the candidates and provide detailed feedback through the search consultants to the Search Committee for consideration in determining which individual will be recommended to the Board of Trustees for approval. The work of the Search Committee concludes when it presents its nomination of the candidate of choice to the Board of Trustees.

    It is our expectation that the final phase will take place before the end of the 2023-2024 school year. Each search has its own unique pace and timing, however, and the time frame may shift, if necessary.
  • Q. Why is Laurel announcing the search for a new Head now, more than a year in advance?

    In the world we live in now, many schools follow this timeline, and an 18-month process is typical for a school of our stature. It also means that Laurel will be able to secure the best possible candidate who may need the longer runway to fulfill personal and professional commitments and prepare for a new position.
  • Q. What is the role of the School's Board of Trustees in the search process?

    The Head of School is the only employee who is hired by and reports directly to the Board of Trustees, and, as a result, choosing a new Head of School is one of the Board’s most important responsibilities.

    As the search process draws to completion, the Board will review the recommendations of the Search Committee, formally resolve to pursue a candidate, bear responsibility for negotiating any terms of employment, and ultimately appoint the new Head of School.
  • Q. What is the role of the Search Committee in the search process?

    The Board has charged the Search Committee with conducting a comprehensive, national, and international search for our new Head of School. The Search Committee takes the lead in the search process and is charged with selecting a candidate for Head of School to recommend to the Laurel Board of Trustees, which bears the ultimate responsibility for appointing the Head of School.
     
    The Search Committee is co-chaired by Board Secretary Susan Luria ’85 (Margot ’20, Elena ’21) and Board Vice-Chair Carey Jaros ’96 (Frances ’28, Eloise ’30, Madeline ’33 Farmery). Members of the committee are Board member Karen McCartan DeSantis ’79, former Board Chair and Trustee Emerita Lynnette Jackson Crenshaw ’93, former Board member David Fleshler (Tamar ’13, Talia ’15), LSPA Co-President Neeti Sundaresh ’95 (Meera ’31, Anika ’33, Kai ’38) and Board Chair Megan Lum Mehalko ’83 (Kristen ’17).
  • Q. What is the role of Educators Collaborative, the search firm, and how were they selected?

    A sub-group of the Board of Trustees conducted broad research on national search firms, reviewed proposals and conducted initial and follow-up interviews. Following reference checks, the group unanimously recommended to the Board of Trustees the selection of Educators Collaborative.

    Educators Collaborative is a nationally known search consulting firm, specializing in finding heads and senior leaders for independent schools. Nat Conard and Pilar Cabeza de Vaca have been engaged to assist with the search. Nat and Pilar have both had many years of experience in independent school leadership, and collectively they have assisted numerous schools with head and senior administrator searches. They are also familiar with Laurel, having recently partnered with the school in its search for Laurel’s Assistant Heads.

    Pilar and Nat will provide guidance to the Search Committee on format, logistics, procedures, and best practices in the search process. In addition, they will recruit and interview candidates, check references, and support the Search Committee throughout the interview process. Educators Collaborative also will provide transition support to the new Head of School after that person has been hired and throughout the new Head’s first year.
  • Q. What is the scope of the search?

    The search for the new Head of School for Laurel is international in scope. Candidates from throughout the United States and abroad will be considered, and nominations are welcome. The consultants also devote considerable effort to recruiting candidates who might not be actively seeking a new position. Many candidates will not want it known at their current institutions that they are considering a change, and for this reason we must maintain strict confidentiality about individual candidates right up until the finalist stage of the process.
  • Q. Will there be any internal candidates?

    All candidates, both internal and external, who are interested in the opportunity to be the next Head of Laurel are encouraged to apply.

    To every extent possible, the Search Committee will attempt to create a level playing field, ensuring that the eventual nominee as Head-Elect is assessed in the context of the entire field of candidates. In addition, the confidentiality of internal candidates is as important as that of candidates from outside the school.
  • Q. How will candidates be evaluated?

    Candidates will be assessed based upon the skills and characteristics identified by the community and described in the leadership profile in the Information for Candidates report. Those skills and characteristics will be drawn from the survey responses and listening sessions conducted by the Educators Collaborative consultants. With the assistance of the consultants, the Search Committee will go through a series of steps to acquaint themselves with the pool of candidates before narrowing that group down to a group of semi-finalists who will be confidentially interviewed, and then to a smaller group (likely three or four) of finalists. The Search Committee’s evaluation of the finalist candidates will be informed by input from members of the community who will meet with the candidates when they are on campus.
  • Q. How can I be involved in the Head of School search process?

    The Board of Trustees is committed to making the search process as inclusive as possible and is providing opportunities for input from members of the Laurel community at various times throughout the process.

    The first opportunity is when members of the school community will be invited to share their thoughts about the school and the search through a confidential online survey administered by Educators Collaborative consultants in late January 2024. The survey closes on January 31.

    Then, when the search consultants from Educators Collaborative visit campus early in February 2024, they will conduct listening sessions to learn more about Laurel’s strengths, the opportunities facing the school over the next several years, and the traits, skills, and experience desired in the next Head of School. Members of the faculty and staff, alums, parents, and students will be invited to participate in these sessions.

    Finally, as the search nears its conclusion, members of the school community will have an opportunity to meet the finalist candidates and provide feedback on their impressions of each one.
  • Q. When will the new Head of School begin?

    The person selected by the Board of Trustees will officially become Laurel School’s Head of School on July 1, 2025. Until that time, Ann V. Klotz will continue to lead the school as she has done so ably for the last 20 years. We anticipate that there will be opportunities during the 2024-25 school year when the Head-Elect will be on campus and have a chance to learn more about the school, but it is a high probability that the selected individual will have ongoing professional responsibilities elsewhere.

List of 2 news stories.

  • A Message from Head of School Ann V. Klotz

    Dear Laurel Community,

    What a wonderful time I have had leading Laurel School. During my first visit in the fall of 2003, I knew this was the school I hoped to serve. Today, I write to tell you that I will retire in June 2025. It has been my privilege to lead the finest girls’ school in the nation over the past twenty years.

    Laurel has an exceptional faculty and staff, wonderful parents, wise trustees, formidable alums, and girls and little boys who fill my heart with joy. We are a school that strives to live our mission and values. As I think back over my tenure, memories of beloved ceremonies and traditions swim up: all-school assemblies when we gather in the Tippit Gym, Junior Chapel, Song Contest, Green & White Day, and Commencement. I feel a thrill at the hush in the Chapel that precedes every Senior Speech, a surge of happiness when I watch our enthusiastic fans cheer on Gators in every sport. When the little ones come Trick or Treating to Lyman House or stop to admire Seth’s annual holiday lawn display, I smile. I recall, too, the difficult moments that our community has endured together with grace and resilience.

    For me, school has always been about relationships and community. Learning is fundamental, of course, but so much that happens in and beyond the classroom is the result of connection and curiosity. I am glad to have been a teaching head, to have taught English and directed plays and advised a cohort of Seniors, to have shared in the day-to-day work of school with my colleagues on the faculty and staff. I love greeting children as they spill from their cars in the morning and visiting with our older girls, who come to my office for a piece of candy and a quick chat. To have  mentored men and women who have gone on to lead other schools has been an honor—their success is glory to Laurel. When colleagues from other schools visit to find out more about Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls or our programming at Butler, I feel enormous pride. And I am filled with gratitude for those whose generosity has allowed us to renovate and build and dream.
    Read More
  • A Message from Board of Trustees Chair Megan Lum Mehalko '83

    Dear Laurel Friends,

    With profound gratitude for her leadership, the Board of Trustees has accepted Ann V. Klotz’s decision to retire at the end of the 2024-25 academic year. Laurel’s mission to inspire each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world was articulated by Ann and affirmed by the Board early in her headship. That mission has been Ann’s guiding light throughout her time at Laurel.

    In 2004, when Ann came to Laurel with her young family, the Board of Trustees charged her with developing a curricular vision for what was then called the Fairmount Campus. The transformation of the now 150-acre Butler Campus into an experiential learning environment unlike any other in Northeast Ohio, while fully respecting our role as stewards of the land, is remarkable. Thanks to the generosity of donors who believed in Laurel and in Ann’s vision and leadership, Butler is home to amazing spaces that support a robust Outdoor Prekindergarten, Grades 3-5 and the Environmental Justice Semester, as well as many Laurel athletes. And there is more to come with the Ruhlman Family Center under construction very soon!
    Read More
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