Head of School Search
Dear Paideia School Community,
We extend our appreciation to those of you who participated in community forums with the Carney Sandoe and Associates search team and to the 430 of you who shared your perspectives via our online community survey.
Allowing the entire community the opportunity to share their thoughts regarding our school and the attributes they hope to see in the next Head of School was our goal. We also wanted to provide a chance for individuals to highlight opportunities and challenges they see for the Paideia's leader.
Critical in the search process was the development of a Position Description. The comments and feedback that we received from you were pivotal in its development. We are pleased to share the final version here. The Search Committee and the team at Carney Sandoe and Associates are moving ahead with identifying candidates and are using the Position Description as our guide.
The Paideia School is an extraordinary place, and we are seeking an exceptional leader. We are grateful to those who were able to participate. We look forward to your continued engagement throughout this process.
The Search Committee
- Search Committee Update - August 8, 2022
- Letter from the Search Committee - May 11, 2022
- Letter from Wayne Aaron and Melba Hughes - March 15, 2022
- Letter from Wayne Aaron, Chair of Board of Trustees - January 14, 2022
As our Head of School search moves into its final stages, we anticipate a very busy and exciting period ahead. We are pleased to announce that three outstanding finalist candidates will come to campus in the final weeks of August. Each candidate visit will span two full days and will include opportunities to interact with representatives of the entire Paideia community, including the administration, faculty, staff, alumni, parent community, and board of trustees.
Over the course of the spring and summer, the search committee, in conjunction with our consultants from Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A), reviewed over seventy applications and interviewed fifteen talented and diverse candidates with an impressive breadth of experience from around the world. The demographics of the 15 candidates interviewed included seven women and 10 people of color.
We selected five candidates to visit campus for additional day-long interviews in May 2022. Based on the interviews and feedback with committed representatives from the board of trustees, administration, faculty and staff, we selected three finalists who will now return for a two day comprehensive visit.
Reaching this final stage of the search has been the result of a thorough and intentional process, and we are excited for our broader community to meet this group of highly-talented candidates. The quality of the candidate pool is testament to the outstanding reputation of our school and the unique attraction of our welcoming and distinctive community.
Since the outset of our search in January 2022, we asked the community what Paideia needs in its next leader. The community prioritized our desire to identify a leader who can:
- capitalize on the momentum and success of the past 50 years as we begin this next chapter in the school's history;
- further Paideia's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion consistent with the DEI Strategic Plan;
- and communicate with inspiration and clarity, serving as the school's chief storyteller and cultural leader.
We are confident that the strength of Paideia's community will serve as a strong foundation on which our next leader will build.
Thank you in advance for your engagement and support during this important time in school history. As always, feel free to reach out to the Committee with questions or comments at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
Melba Hughes, Search Committee Chair
Dear Paideia Community,
The Head of School Search Committee has several updates to share with the school community. Since our last communication, a great deal of progress has been made. As you may know, at the end of March, our search partner, Carney Sandoe, was on campus getting feedback from faculty, staff, alumni, and parents. Over 400 people participated in our online survey about qualities, experience, and skills for the next Head of School. Thank you so much to all who participated.
The Head of School position was posted on both national and international search sites. As a result of the amount of interest in the position, the committee is ready to move forward with the next step: candidate interviews. Carney Sandoe is facilitating initial interviews with multiple, promising candidates. Online interviews will begin this month, which then allows us to invite potential candidates to visit the campus while school is in session to gain a more complete picture of our wonderful school community. This timeline is good news as it means our search is on track.
The Search Committee will continue to keep the community updated on our progress. We expect to share another update later this month. If you have any questions about the process thus far, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Search Committee chair, Melba Hughes. Thank you for your continued support.
The Search Committee
Dear Paideia Community,
We would like to share with you an update regarding the Head of School search and the process we will follow over the coming months to ensure we have the most successful search possible. Given Paideia's national reputation within the independent school community, our history, our mission, and our outstanding faculty and staff, we are confident we will be able to attract a diverse pool of excellent candidates for this position.
As previously announced, the Board of Trustees has created a Search Committee (the "Committee") to lead the search process. For the list of Committee members, please click here to read the letter dated January 14, 2022. As its first task, the Committee selected an executive search firm to assist in the process of conducting an international search. The Committee interviewed five national search firms, all of which were impressive and came highly recommended. The group was narrowed to two finalists who were invited for on-campus interviews.
We are pleased to announce that we have selected Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A) to assist us in identifying the next leader of The Paideia School. CS&A brings a deep understanding of independent schools, with over 40 years of experience recruiting and placing school leaders, administrators, and educators.
The CS&A team will be led by its President, Devereaux McClatchey. Devereaux brings over 20 years of experience in executive search with CS&A, where he has served as President since 2004. He has conducted searches for some of the most prominent schools in the country, and he also brings expertise in independent school governance and long-range strategic planning. Heather Flewelling, Chief Talent Officer at CS&A, will join Devereaux on the search team. For over 30 years, Heather has been a national leader in advancing issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging among
schools and universities. Additionally, we are proud to have Marsha Little join the search team from CS&A. Marsha, who lives in Atlanta, serves as the Director of Professional Learning and Development for Carney Sandoe, and has conducted more searches for schools in the Southeast than any other consultant at CS&A. We are confident that our partnership with CS&A will produce great results.
The Committee, in collaboration with CS&A, will be responsible for screening and evaluating candidates and making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, who will make the final decision on the selection of our next Head of School. Our expectation is that the process will lead to an announcement of the next Head of School by early fall.
Our aim is for the search process to be as inclusive and transparent as possible, and to afford our Paideia community multiple opportunities to provide input and to share your aspirations for the school with our search team. We will begin that process with an on-campus visit with Devereaux, Heather, and Marsha on March 28-30. They will meet with a wide variety of members of our community while they are here. More details of their visit will be shared in the next week.
We would also like to invite each of you to participate in an online survey to help better inform the Committee and our partner, the CS&A team. You will find the survey here, where you can share your perspective on a variety of topics related to the values of the school as well as qualities and characteristics you feel are most significant for the next Head of School. Your participation in the online survey is an important part of hearing from our valued community. Please be sure to complete the survey before it closes on Friday, April 1.
In addition to the on-campus visit and online survey, we have created an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, where you can share any additional thoughts and/or questions with the Committee.
While we endeavor to remain as communicative and transparent as possible, we recognize that we will also need to honor requests to work confidentially with some candidates. This will help us to ensure our ability to recruit and interview the most talented leaders, both domestically and internationally. Our CS&A team, as well as others with whom we have consulted, have advised the Committee that we should maintain a nimble approach with respect to the search timeline, given the extremely competitive landscape of leadership recruitment. With that said, we will provide periodic updates to inform you of our progress.
We are honored to serve on the Committee, and we are grateful for your support and all that you do for Paideia. We are excited to celebrate and honor Paul's incredible legacy while we embrace the exciting opportunities afforded to us with this important leadership transition.
If you have any questions or are interested in recommending a candidate please reach out to the Committee at the "searchcomm" email shared above.
Chair of the Board
Chair of the Search Committee
Dear Members of the Paideia Community,
By now, you have all received Paul's letter about his retirement on June 30, 2023. As Paul's letter indicated, he provided me advance notice of his intentions, and the board is subsequently prepared and ready to take the next steps in the process. As chair of the board of trustees, I want to share with the community the plans moving forward. This is a major transition for Paideia, something the school has never had to do.
Before going into those plans, on behalf of the entire Paideia community, I want to thank and celebrate Paul and Barbara for creating a school that has had such a positive impact on so many lives. It is not an exaggeration to say that Paideia School is their legacy cultivated over 50 extraordinary years. From that first day where he had a goal of creating a school that unlocks every individual student's capabilities, Paul has sparked an academic transformation by creating an institution of discovery, academic enlightenment, and personal growth for all that have been a part of this supportive and nurturing community. His leadership has touched so many people, and our gratitude for everything he has put into Paideia is profound. Paideia's reach is larger than our immediate community. It is a school that students take with them well into their future years. For this, more than anyone, we have Paul to thank.
Paul's leadership has extended to all parts of the school. It is likely that his tenure and positive impact of five decades is unmatched in the education community nationwide. From the first days before the school opened to the present, his intellect, hard work, optimism and humor have been the cultural beacon of Paideia. Paul has taken Paideia from a small elementary and junior high school to a pre-elementary through high school of national prominence. He would be the first to say that the essential variable of a good school is the talent of its teachers. Because of the culture of the school, Paideia has always been able to attract unusually-gifted talent and to support that talent in the classroom. All of us, my children and yours and alums spanning 50 years, have benefited from this priority.
While successfully navigating Paideia over many decades with student development and well-being at the center his focus, Paul himself has made an extraordinary impact as a teacher and advisor to so many students. His classrooms are vibrant with discussions, debate and discovery, and his dry sense of humor captivates his classroom and creates a participatory and fun learning environment. He is as gifted as a teacher as he is a consequential and respected head of school.
The Paideia community has also been rewarded from Barbara's tireless dedication. Barbara's expertise started in the Half Day program as a teacher and then for the remaining years as coordinator of the Half Day. She has educated generations of teachers, families and students in understanding the importance of individualized development and growth for all children. She has always preferred to stay in the backstage of school life, but her lasting impact runs deep for so many children.
Paideia looks different now in 2022, but at heart it is the same school and spirit that began in 1971. From its humble beginnings with one building on South Ponce de Leon Avenue, Paul's strategic vision and fiscal prudence has enabled the school to expand its reach and create a campus that is welcoming and engaging for faculty, staff and students. Through the growth of the school and its physical presence, Paul's leadership has always adhered to the philosophy that students have different learning styles and interests, and the investments he has led were always in support of this principle. As head of school, Paul has been in the unique position to define Paideia, but all of us to different degrees sustain it and continue to build it. Nothing is more important to him and to Barbara than for the spirit of Paideia to continue to thrive.
To ensure the board was prepared and in serving its fiduciary responsibilities, the board had previously created a succession planning committee to consider the issues that the school would face when Paul retired. The succession planning committee recently proposed procedures and a format to the board regarding the new head of school search, which the board unanimously approved. At that time, the board was not aware of Paul's timetable. As board chairman, it is now my responsibility to initiate the process.
I have asked Melba Hughes to chair the search committee for the new head of school.
Melba is an alumni parent and a former member of the board of trustees. Melba is a partner at a prominent legal search firm in Atlanta and has extensive experience in C-suite executive searches, as well as in the not-for-profit space. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Melba over the past few years, and her executive leadership, judgment and thoughtfulness make her an exceptional person to lead this very important process.
The search committee made up of faculty, staff, board members and Paideia community leaders will consist of 11 members. This committee will be comprised of:
- Melba Hughes: chair of the search committee, former trustee, alumni parent, Executive Director and National Diversity Practice Leader – Major, Lindsey & Africa
- Wayne Aaron: chair of the board of trustees, current parent, retired Senior Vice President – Delta Air Lines
- Tiffany Cochran Edwards: board of trustees, current parent, National Brand Manager – The Cochran Firm
- Patricia Friedman: board of trustees, alumni parent, Shareholder – Djuric Spratt
- Elisa Harrison: current parent, Elementary Principal – The Paideia School
- Tony Helms: Junior High Home Base Teacher – The Paideia School
- Laura Magnanini: current parent, Assistant Head of School / High School Director of Studies – The Paideia School
- Ade Patton: board of trustees, current parent, Executive Vice President and CFO – HBO Max/WarnerMedia
- Wendell Reilly: board of trustees, alumni parent, retired CFO and Investor
- Thad Sheely: board of trustees, current parent, CEO – Harmonia Development
- Brian Smith: current parent, High School Science Teacher / Department Chair – The Paideia School
The committee will hire a search firm to work with them and the board of trustees on a national or even international search. While it is important for the committee to maintain confidentiality, the search process will be as open and inclusive as possible, and the committee will report back to the wider Paideia community on a regular basis. The committee will begin their work immediately, and the final selection will be based on a vote of the board of trustees. The goal is to hire the new head of school before the end of 2022.
Our school has greatly benefited from Paul's vision and exceptional leadership. He has created a strong foundation for our community to embark on both an important and exciting time as we plan for the next chapter of this great school. Over the next 18 months there will be time to celebrate and thank both Paul and Barbara and to plan for the ways to welcome our next head of school.
Our future is strong, and I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead of us. Thank you for all you do to support Paideia.
Chair, Board of Trustees
Head of School Position Description
Click here to read the Paideia Head of School Position Description.
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