Head of School Search – Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are questions the Head Search Committee anticipates from the school community about the search for the new Head of School for MFS.  Please visit the Head of School Search webpage periodically, as updated information will be posted throughout the search process.  The Head Search Committee wants to keep the MFS community up to date throughout the search process.

Larry Van Meter will remain as Head of School for all of the 2016-17 school year and all of the 2017-18 school year.  He will continue to lead the school in all the ways that he has for the last 16 years.  The new Head of School will assume the position for the 2018-19 school year.

The process to search for a new Head of School and to ensure a smooth transition takes time and careful planning.  It is important for the school community to know now of Larry’s retirement plans so that the School Committee, Head Search Committee and search consultants can do their work to find strong candidates.

The MFS School Committee (Board of Trustees) is responsible for the hiring of the Head of School.  To manage the search process, the School Committee has instituted a Head Search Committee that will meet regularly throughout the process.

The MFS Head Search Committee is co-clerked by School Committee Clerk Nick Smith and fellow trustee Barbara Caldwell.  The Head Search Committee is a subcommittee of the School Committee.  The Head Search Committee includes parents, Quakers, faculty, parents of alumni, and alumni.  They will work with the search consulting firm Isaacson, Miller.  Click here to see the members of the Head Search Committee.  The Head Search Committee directs the search process from the beginning to the end and will provide opportunities for the MFS community to share input.  The Head Search Committee will work with the search consultants to develop the Position Profile, and will evaluate, sort, and interview semifinalists and finalists.  The Head Search Committee will work to balance the imperative to keep the school community informed as well as manage the confidentiality of the candidates during the initial recruitment process.

The Head Search Committee, after a thoughtful process that included proposals from and interviews with five executive search firms, has selected Isaacson, Miller to assist in the search for Moorestown Friends’ next Head of School.  Since 1982, Isaacson, Miller has recruited for the leadership of the nation’s civic infrastructure.  The firm has 180 employees, two-thirds of whom are search professionals, located in its Boston headquarters and in offices in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.  Isaacson, Miller completes over 200 searches each year.  Clients include leading colleges and universities, foundations, human service agencies, research institutes, academic medical centers, economic development enterprises, arts and cultural groups, conservation and environmental organizations, and social justice and other national advocacy organizations.  Almost all of Isaacson, Miller’s clients are not-for-profit organizations meeting demands of both mission and market.  The firm focuses especially on mission, diversity of the candidate pools, and proficiency in the craft of search.

Sheryl Ash and Katie Rockman will assist the MFS search process.  Sheryl, a vice president and director at Isaacson, Miller with over 25 years of experience in executive search, will lead the search.  Sheryl works across several practice areas, and has led most of Isaacson, Miller’s recent independent school searches, as well as leadership searches at colleges and universities.  She has a master’s degree in teaching from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Yale University.  Katie joined Isaacson, Miller in 2012 after working in the Office of External Relations at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  Prior to her time at MIT Sloan, Katie worked for an educational recruiting company that specializes in the placement of teachers and administrators in the K-12 sector.  Katie holds a BA in English from Yale University and an EdM in higher education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Isaacson, Miller will work closely with the Head Search Committee.  Sheryl Ash and Katie Rockman will visit campus to gain information during “Listening Sessions” with MFS community members in late January.  They will work with the Head Search Committee to develop the Position Profile.  They will market the position and build a strong and diverse candidate pool.  They will also work with the Head Search Committee to interview and vet candidates, as well as selecting semifinalists and finalists.

Isaacson, Miller has served as a consultant for Head of School/Executive Director searches at Concord Academy, Flagstaff Academy, Georgetown Day School, Milton Academy, Edmund Burke School, Laurel School, North Country Day School, Settlement Music School, The Park School, and York Country Day School.

Yes, there will be several opportunities for the school community to be involved in the search process.  The head search consultants from Isaacson, Miller will be on campus on January 25 and 26 to meet with students, faculty, parents, staff, administrators, alumni, parents of alumni, etc. to learn about the school, the skills needed to lead the school, as well as the goals for the school, and the challenges a new head may face.  If individuals cannot attend one of these “Listening Sessions,” members of the school community will also be able to share feedback through an online survey.  Early in the fall of 2017, the Head Search Committee plans to invite finalists to campus and members of the school community will meet and hear from the candidates and have the opportunity to share feedback.

  • In late January, consultants will be on campus to learn about MFS and to gather feedback from “Listening Sessions” to draft an extensive description of the position and Moorestown Friends School, known as the Position Profile.
  • During late winter and early spring 2017, the position will be marketed and candidates will begin to apply.
  • The Head Search Committee will work throughout the spring and summer of 2017 to review candidates and consider finalists.
  • Finalists will come to campus early in the 2017-18 school year.
  • Later in 2017, the School Committee will announce the new Head of School.
  • The new Head of School will begin July 1, 2018.
  • The Head Search Committee will communicate in January 2017 to let the community know about the opportunities to share thoughts on the position with the consultants from Isaacson, Miller and to invite participation in an on-line survey.
  • When the Position Profile is finalized in late winter, it will be posted on the school website.
  • There will not be a lot of communication between the spring and summer as the Head Search Committee does its work to confidentially screen and interview candidates.
  • In September or October 2017, the Head Search Committee will invite the school community to meet the candidates when they visit campus in the fall.
  • The School Committee will announce the new Head of School next fall when the individual has been hired.

Yes, there will be opportunities for the school community to honor and celebrate Larry in the spring of 2018.

Candidates from inside and outside of the MFS community are encouraged to apply.  Strict confidentiality will be given to all candidates until the round of finalists.

This is an important consideration for the Head Search Committee.  One of the distinguishing features of Isaacson, Miller is the firm’s longstanding commitment to bringing women and people of color to senior management positions. For over 30 years Isaacson, Miller has established networks that support efforts to build and present diverse pools of candidates. Over the life of the firm, 43% of its placements have been women and 23% have been people of color.

Larry will continue in his role as Head of School through June 30, 2018.  While he can be a resource to the Head Search Committee, the School Committee and the search consultants, he has no formal role in the Head Search Committee’s decisions.  Larry will meet with each of the finalists when they come to campus in the fall of 2017.  Once the new Head of School has been named, Larry will work closely with that person to ensure a smooth transition.