The Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring our Head of School. Board Chair, Marta Kauffman, along with the Executive Committee, have appointed two subcommittees—Transition and Search—to lead us through the process in an effective and transparent manner.

The Transition Committee began work in the summer of 2017 and will continue working through the 2018–19 school year. Its primary focus is to ensure a smooth and effective transition for the school while providing the next Head of School with the tools and support he or she will need to successfully lead Oakwood.

The Search Committee is tasked with identifying and presenting to the Board of Trustees a final candidate for the next Head of School.

Debbie Reed and Tom Hudnut of Resource Group 175 (RG175), a leading independent school executive search firm, are guiding the Search Committee. Ms. Reed is a former member of the Oakwood School Board of Trustees, as well as a former Head at Polytechnic School in Pasadena. Mr. Hudnut is the former Head of School at Harvard-Westlake, has served on the boards of six independent schools, and as President of the international Headmasters Association.

In late February, the Search Committee and RG175 solicited input from all Oakwood constituencies in a variety of ways including an online survey, a meeting with the Oakwood Parent Organization, and individual meetings with faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Both the Search and Transition Committees are comprised of current and former trustees who are actively engaged in the school and dedicated to ensuring a successful transition.

SEARCH COMMITTEE

Bridget Baker, Search Committee co-chair: 
Board of Trustees member (2013–present), Oakwood alumni parent, and current Oakwood parent.

Mitchell Butler ’89, Search Committee co-chair: Board of Trustees member (2013-present) and alumnus.

Nancy Carell:
 Secretary of the Board of Trustees (2015–present), Board of Trustees member (2014–present), and current Oakwood parent.

Meryl Chae:
 Chair of the Board of Trustees (2018–present), Board of Trustees member (2011–2017), and current Oakwood parent.

Marta Kauffman:
Chair of the Board of Trustees (2015–2018), Board of Trustees member (2002-2008, 2009-present), and Oakwood alumni parent.

Barbara Marshall:
 Board of Trustees general member (1972–present), Oakwood alumni parent, and current Oakwood grandparent.

Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali ES ’76: Chair of the Board of Trustees (2012–2015), Board of Trustees member (2004–present), Oakwood alumni parent, and current Oakwood parent.

Jim Newton: Former Board of Trustees member (2007–2013), and Oakwood alumni parent.

Andrew Sugerman:
 Board of Trustees member (2014–present), and current Oakwood parent.

Greg Silverman:
 Board of Trustees member (2009-2015, 2016–present), and current Oakwood parent.

 

TRANSITION COMMITTEE

Marta Kauffman, Transition Committee chair: Chair of the Board of Trustees (2015–2018), Board of Trustees member (2002-2008, 2009-present), and Oakwood alumni parent.

David Simon, Transition Committee Vice-chair: Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees (2015–present), Board of Trustees member (2014–present), and current Oakwood parent.

Bridget Baker: Board of Trustees member (2013–present), Oakwood alumni parent, and current Oakwood parent.

Ken Fritz: Board of Trustees general member (1979–present), Oakwood alumni parent, and current Oakwood grandparent.

Ira Pianko: Board of Trustees general member (1991–present), former Oakwood School Chief Operating and Financial Officer, and Oakwood alumni parent.

Andrew Sugerman: Board of Trustees member (2014–present), and current Oakwood parent.

Greg Silverman:
 Board of Trustees member (2009-2015, 2016–present), and current Oakwood parent.

Christopher Thomas:
Oakwood School Chief Operating Officer (2015–present), and current Oakwood parent.

Sondi Scheck, former Assistant to Head of School (2009-2017) and Oakwood alumni parent, provides administrative support to the Search and Transition committees.

The Head of Oakwood School position will attract top candidates from across the country and around the world. RG175 expects to identify a small group of potential candidates in the spring of 2018. We will continue to update the community as this process continues.

On Monday, February 26 an online survey for Oakwood parents and alumni was sent out from our search firm, RG175. This survey was designed to help deepen the firm’s understanding of Oakwood: what is most distinctive and most highly valued at the school, what opportunities and challenges lie ahead, and what professional and personal qualities are important in the next Head of School. All responses to this survey are confidential and will be shared without attribution. Thank you for your participation!

On Tuesday, February 27 at 6:30pm in the Elementary School Community Room,
K-12 parents were invited to join members of the Search Committee and Oakwood’s search consultants for an informal discussion as the search process got underway.

Debbie Reed and Tom Hudnut of RG175 were also on campus Tuesday, February 27 and Wednesday, February 28 for two full days of meetings and interviews with faculty, staff, and students as part of their initial information-gathering phase.

Working in close partnership with the Oakwood community, RG175 has so far conducted in-person interviews with key Oakwood faculty, staff, and students on February 27 & 28, 2018. In addition, a widely distributed online survey was sent on Monday,  February 26 requesting relevant feedback from Oakwood’s extended community. This information is being compiled by RG175 to create a detailed and customized position statement that will be distributed throughout the independent school world in March of 2018. RG175 will then identify and screen potential candidates, supporting Oakwood throughout the interview, selection, and onboarding process.

RG175 has established a respected track record of leadership in the United States and Europe. They are dedicated to conveying the unique culture of Oakwood School, and to using their many years of meaningful experience to support our community as we move towards the future.

The Board of Trustees seeks to identify a future leader who wholeheartedly believes in and exemplifies Oakwood’s educational philosophy. He or she must embody and engender the many qualities that are unique to Oakwood and set the school apart from other educational institutions. Some of the most sought-after qualities the new Head of School must bring to Oakwood are:

  • Takes great pleasure in spending time with young people
  • Has thorough knowledge of educational theory and practice, and substantial experience in the classroom and mentoring other teachers
  • Is sensitive to interpersonal dynamics, including school climate and culture
  • Has a strong moral compass that guides sound decision-making
  • Is a mature and calming presence who can inspire a sense of purpose, confidence, and connection with diverse constituencies

Without question. Oakwood is built on the core values established by its founders in 1951. These values are more than words on a page—they are the fundamental beliefs that guide Oakwood’s educational philosophy and vision. Our core values are embraced by our entire community of parents, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees. Our future Head of School will share these values, and have an educational philosophy and vision that aligns with Oakwood’s.

Building on all that has been accomplished at Oakwood, the Board of Trustees will continue to guide our school forward as a major educational presence in Los Angeles and throughout the independent school world. What makes our school so extraordinary is our commitment to staying true to Oakwood’s Statement of Philosophy. We will continue to prepare children for the future by focusing on the quality of their experiences in the present.

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