On August 10, 2022, Head of School Elizabeth F. Cleary announced that she would depart MVS after the 2022-2023 academic year. MVS has retained the services of search firm Educators’ Collaborative to assist in the process of finding MVS’ next leader.
The MVS Head of School Search Committee has been formed to assist Educators’ Collaborative in this important and exciting work. We recognize that the individuals listed below represent just one small sample of the people in our community who are passionate and thoughtful about the school’s mission and future, and who represent a diverse set of backgrounds, occupations, and perspectives. As such, the search committee will be working with Educators Collaborative to ensure that interested representatives from all constituent groups are involved in the process of discovering the culture, strengths, and needs of The Miami Valley School and how those factors will shape the Head of School search. We want to hear from you!
After four years, our Head of School, Elizabeth Cleary, has shared this will be her last year at MVS. She wishes to enjoy life closer to her family and friends while continuing to explore new professional opportunities. Elizabeth plans to complete this year as Head of School and assist with the transition to a new Head of School in July 2023.
The MVS Board of Trustees has deeply appreciated her energy and passion. The accomplishments of Elizabeth and her Leadership Team are many, the most profound of which was protecting our community during the pandemic, which required Elizabeth and all members of her team to go above and beyond the traditional call of duty. At a time when many were fearful of sickness, she kept our faculty and students safe for in-person learning more than any other school in the Dayton area and maintained the same level of academic excellence we have come to expect at MVS. As Elizabeth prepares to take the next steps in her journey next summer, the Board and I will continue to support her as Head of School and wish her the best in her new endeavors.
In the days to come, we will begin the search for a new Head of School. Change is hard, but it also brings the opportunity for evolution, expansion, and growth. The injection of a new perspective will propel the work forward that has already begun with our new strategic plan, ensuring MVS continues to be the best independent educational institution in the area. I hope to engage many of you in this process.
Please click to read Elizabeth’s letter to the community here.
I welcome your questions and conversation. Please feel free to reach out to me. The Miami Valley School is strong, with a deep rooted legacy of excellence in serving our students. That will continue.
With Love for MVS,
Radha Reddy ‘90, P ’22, ’24, ’27
Chair, MVS Board of Trustees
The Discovery Process
Campus Visit #1 – Monday, September 19: As part of the initial discovery process, André and Doug will visit The Miami Valley School on Monday, September 19. Our consultants will spend a full day with a wide cross-section of the MVS community, including dedicated time for classroom observations, student conversations, an open faculty forum, meetings with parent association leadership and administrators, and drop-in times for members of the MVS Board of Trustees.
Pre-Visit Community Survey: In preparation for their first visit, André and Doug would like you to take a short, confidential survey that they have designed to be an access point to the process of discovery and will be helpful as they form themes to better facilitate conversations. All members of the MVS Community are encouraged to participate in this survey as one way to have a voice in this process. Thank you to those of you who have completed the survey. If you have not completed the survey, you can find it here.
Virtual Meetings: During the two-week period after their visit, André and Doug will conduct virtual meetings/forums for MVS affinity groups, such as student-led groups (e.g., The Black Experience), alumni, and retired MVS faculty/leaders. These details are still emerging and we appreciate your patience. If you would like to recommend an affinity group to participate in a virtual meeting with André and/or Doug, please let one of the Co-Chairs of the Search Committee know of these ideas.
Campus Visit #2 – Friday, October 7: In October, representatives from Educators’ Collaborative will return to campus to continue to build a leadership profile based on the culture, mission, strengths, and needs of the community. They will continue to meet with interested parties via focus groups and open community meetings with stakeholders such as parents and faculty.
The Search Committee will be updating the community regularly, communicating important information in the coming weeks as more details about future touchpoints with the search firm become available.
The Board of Trustees is committed to making the search an inclusive process and will provide opportunities for community input through in-person and electronic means. The first opportunities will occur when the search consultants from Educators’ Collaborative conduct listening sessions in September to learn more about the School’s strengths, as well as the opportunities facing the school now and in the years ahead. There will be sessions for employees, alumni, parents, and students during this time. Additionally, all 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.
As the search nears its conclusion, members of the school community will also have an opportunity to meet the finalist candidates and provide feedback as to their impressions of each.
It is perhaps best to consider the search process in three general phases, with which there is some overlap.
The primary purpose of the initial phase is for the Educators’ Collaborative consultants to “get the word out” about the search to prospective candidates and to learn more about the School. This will be done through the aforementioned listening sessions and online survey. In addition, the Educators’ Collaborative consultants will familiarize themselves with school operations, programs, and policies through numerous documents provided by the School.
The next phase is conducted almost exclusively behind the scenes, 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 are asked to contact the search consultants so that timely vetting can take place.
In the third phase, the Search Committee is highly active in learning more about candidates, conducting preliminary confidential interviews, selecting the finalists, and assuring that their visits to the School are successful. The work of the Search Committee concludes when it presents its nomination of the candidate of choice to the Board of Trustees.
A sub-group of the Board of Trustees conducted broad research on national search firms. They 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 for independent schools like ours. André Withers and Doug Jennings have been engaged to assist with the search. André and Doug have both headed and/or been senior leaders in independent schools, and together they have assisted dozens of schools with head of school searches.
The search consultants will provide guidance to the Search Committee on format, logistics, procedures, and best practices in the search process. In addition, they will interview candidates, check references, and support the Search Committee throughout the interview process. Educators’ Collaborative will also provide transition support to the New Head of School after they have been hired.
The search for the new Head of School is international in scope. A primary goal is to make the search process as transparent as possible, with opportunities for community updates and feedback along the way. Confidentiality about individual candidates, however, remains a critical component for success. Some potential candidates may not be actively looking for a new position, and others may not want it known at their current institution that they are pursuing an interest in MVS. As such, the Search Committee will not comment on candidates participating (or not participating) in the search.
The Search Committee encourages the application of all individuals who have a genuine interest in leading the School, including anyone who is currently employed at the School. 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.
Candidates will be evaluated based on how well their skills and characteristics match those desired by the school community. Those skills and characteristics will be identified drawing on the survey responses and constituent interviews conducted by Educators’ Collaborative consultants. The Search Committee will go through multiple steps to acquaint themselves with the pool of candidates before narrowing that group down to a small group of finalists (likely three or four). The Search Committee’s evaluation of the finalist candidates will be informed by input from the Advisory Committee, which will conduct interviews with each of the finalists during the campus visits.
The MVS Board of Trustees appointed Keri Brown Kirschman and Kim Jarvis to be the Chair of the Search Committee and approved the retention of the search consultants Educators’ Collaborative. They then worked to form the Search Committee, which has been charged with conducting a comprehensive, national, and international search for a new Head of School. The Board of Trustees will refer all inquiries related to the search to the Chair of the Search Committee and Educators’ Collaborative. As the 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. The Head of School is the only employee that 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.
The person selected by the Board of Trustees will officially become MVS’s Head of School on July 1, 2023. Until that time, Elizabeth will continue to lead the School, a role in which she has served well. We anticipate that there will be opportunities during the 2022-23 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.