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Head of School Search (Update)

Letter from the Co-Chairs of the Search Committee

Kent School Appoints New Head of School

Click here to open the October 2019 update letter from the Search Committee

Click here to open the September 2019 update letter from the Search Committee

Click here to open the August 2019 update letter from the Search Committee

Click here to open the April 2019 letter from the Search Committee.

The Search Committee

Ann Dickinson ’65 
Henrik Vanderlip ’70, P’05, ’10

Other Members:

F. Avery Bourke III P’10, ’11 
Robert F. Hoerle '52
James A. Lawrence P’15
Helen M. Pardoe P’05, ’07, ’09, ’13
B. Waring Partridge ’62, President of the Board of Trustees
Lynn Doe Shipway ’66, Vice President of the Board of Trustees

About the Search Firm

After interviewing several firms, the Search Committee chose Carney Sandoe & Associates to assist with the search for our next Head of School.

Carney Sandoe & Associates is an educational recruiting and consulting firm founded in 1977 with the primary mission of helping K-12 non-profit, independent, charter and like-kind (non-public) schools worldwide recruit and hire highly qualified teachers and administrators. The firm specializes in retained executive search and management consulting for educational organizations. Carney Sandoe is nationally recognized for their work, and Kent School has used CSA to hire many faculty members.

Our search consultants are:

Robert Fricker
In addition to his experience as a school administrator and school head, Bob has conducted searches for heads of school across the country as well as in California.

Lisa Parsons
Lisa brings a deep knowledge of independent schools, having spent the past 30 years living on the campuses of several exceptional learning communities while also holding multiple roles within those schools.

Agnes (Aggie) Underwood
Aggie has been Vice President and Managing Associate for the Search and Consulting Group since 2003. Aggie began her career at Spence School (NY) where she was a teacher, department chair, and Head of the Upper School. Subsequently, she headed two schools for a total of 25 years: Garrison Forest School (MD) for 11 years and National Cathedral School (DC) for 14 years.

Anticipated Timeline

Click here to open the anticipated timeline.


When will Fr. Schell retire?

Fr. Schell will complete the 2019-2020 school year, retiring as head on June 30, 2020. He will continue to lead Kent School until that day. Kent’s Board of Trustees and Fr. Schell have carefully planned the transition and have ample time to conduct a comprehensive search for the next Head of School.

Who will conduct the search for a new head?

The selection of the Head of School is the single most important duty of the Board of Trustees. As is customary in independent schools, the Board has created a Head of School Search Committee comprised of trustees to lead the search process to find an inspiring, extraordinary leader.

The Committee, led by Ann B. Dickinson ’65 and Henrik N. Vanderlip ’70, P’05, ’10, are working with Carney, Sandoe & Associates, search consultants retained by the Board of Trustees to construct a process that results in an exceptionally strong appointment and engages the school community as much as possible without undermining the recruitment of excellent candidates. Carney Sandoe & Associates is a search firm with extensive experience conducting worldwide, comprehensive searches for independent school heads. Kent School has used Carney Sandoe & Associates in searches for faculty members for many years.

How was the Board Search Committee formed?

Governance is a primary responsibility of the Board. As such, the committee is made up of trustees.

Committee Co-Chairs: 

Ann B. Dickinson ’65
Henrik N. Vanderlip ’70, P’05, ’10.

The other committee members are: 

F. Avery Bourke III P’10, ’11
Robert F. Hoerle '52
James A. Lawrence P’15
Helen M. Pardoe P’05, ’07, ’09, ’13
B. Waring Partridge ’62, President of the Board of Trustees
Lynn Doe Shipway ’66, Vice President of the Board of Trustees

How will the search process work?

Carney Sandoe & Associates is working with the Search Committee to understand the school’s culture and needs. In May, its representatives, Bob Fricker and Lisa Parsons, met with a variety of community members. CSA is also conducting a survey of community members who were unable to participate in the on-campus meetings. The process will remain quiet as CSA and the Search Committee vet potential candidates. In fall 2019, finalists will be brought to campus. Throughout this period and through the retirement date of June 30, 2019, Fr. Schell will continue his daily activities as school Headmaster.

Will the whole community be involved in the search process?

Yes. The whole Kent School community, including faculty, staff, parents, alumni and trustees, will have the opportunity to participate in interviews and/or in a comprehensive online survey.

When will the new head of school be chosen?

Our goal is to hire a new Head of School in the fall of 2019 and have the new head assume responsibilities on July 1, 2020.

How can I stay informed about the search process?

Throughout the search process, the Search Committee will keep the entire Kent community informed with updates and information via email and on our website. Please understand that this process is not totally transparent because confidentiality must be maintained until the final candidates are invited to campus in fall 2019.

I would like to suggest a potential candidate or offer other input on the process. Who should I contact?

Please contact our search consultants at Carney Sandoe & Associates:

Bob Fricker–
Lisa Parsons –
Aggie Underwood –

Will internal candidates be considered for this position?

Candidates have been promised complete confidentiality. In order to recruit the very best candidates from anywhere in the world, our consultants need to be able to assure all candidates that their candidacy will remain confidential as long as possible, typically until the finalist round next fall. A detailed description of the position will be provided to the public in late June.

Who do I contact if I have other questions?

Committee Co-Chairs Ann B. Dickinson ’65 and Henrik N. Vanderlip ’70, P’05, ’10. You can email your questions to:


Head of School Position Description

Click here to open the Head of School Position Description.

Previous Communications

Click here for the April 2019 letter from Lynn Doe Shipway ’66, Vice President, Board of Trustees

Click here for the April 2019 letter from Richardson W. Schell ’69, Headmaster & Rector