A Letter from the Search
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Dear Oakwood Community,
By now you have read Jim Astman’s remarkable letter announcing his plans to retire from the role of Headmaster on June 30, 2019. As we embark on this momentous transition in the history of Oakwood, we want to introduce you to the group who is working to identify our next Head of School. Appointed by Board Chair Marta Kauffman and the Executive Committee of our Board, the Search Committee has the responsibility – with input from the community – of identifying and presenting for approval by the full Board a successor to Jim Astman.
Trustees Mitchell Butler ’89 and Bridget Baker are co-chairs of the Search Committee. They are joined by current and former trustees Nancy Carell, Meryl Chae, Marta Kauffman, Barbara Marshall, Jim Newton, Greg Silverman, and Andrew Sugerman. In addition to serving as Trustees, the members of the Search Committee are Oakwood parents, grandparents, and alumni who are actively engaged in our school and dedicated to ensuring a successful transition. More information about the search and transition process is here.
The Board has also engaged the services of Resource Group 175 (RG175), a leading independent school executive search firm. Some of you may be familiar with this firm’s partners Debbie Reed and Tom Hudnut. Debbie was an Oakwood trustee for six years and is the retired Head of Polytechnic School in Pasadena. Tom has served on the boards of six independent schools and is the retired Head of Harvard-Westlake School. Both are dedicated to understanding the unique culture of Oakwood School, and we look forward to their guidance and support.
Oakwood’s search process will be thoughtful, effective, and transparent. We will seek input from our community via an anonymous and confidential online survey which will be sent to everyone on Monday, February 26. Please take a few moments to share your thoughts about Oakwood and its future as your feedback is very important to the search process. You will have one week to complete the brief survey after you receive the SurveyMonkey link. In addition to the survey, which will be distributed to parents, students, faculty, administration, staff, alumni, and trustees, our search consultants will visit campus for two full days on Tuesday, February 27 and Wednesday, February 28 to conduct interviews with faculty, administration, staff, and students. Their goal is to hear from all constituencies firsthand as they work to prepare a position statement that will be used to recruit top candidates.
In March, the Head of School position statement will be approved and circulated throughout the independent school world. As final candidates emerge and arrange to visit campus, there will be opportunities to meet and hear from finalists. All those who meet final candidates will be invited to share their impressions with RG175 and the Search Committee. Feedback will be carefully considered as the Committee comes to a decision. The ultimate decision rests solely with the full Board of Trustees whose responsibility it is to hire the Head of Oakwood School.
As this process moves forward, we will continue to update you on this website. This is truly an unprecedented time in the 65-year history of Oakwood School. On behalf of the full Search Committee, we know you join us in lending our best efforts and great good will toward finding Oakwood’s next leader.
Mitchell Butler ’89 & Bridget Baker
Co-chairs, Head of School Search Committee