Head of School Search
Given the importance of identifying The Langley School’s next head of school, who will assume responsibilities starting in June 2021, we have engaged in a thorough nationwide search. The Board of Trustees has hired Carney, Sandoe & Associates as the search firm and appointed Zac Merriman, Langley’s Board chair and parent, and Denise Haselhorst, Board trustee and parent, to lead the search process. We are excited to partner with Carney, Sandoe & Associates, given their scale and expertise in preschool through eighth grade schools.
Langley’s roots lie in the strong partnership between parents, students, and the school. With these founding values in mind, we will keep our community updated on our progress through this webpage. You will find committee members, a timeline of activities, and an archive of e-mail communications.
We are confident that we will find a high-quality candidate to continue Langley’s strong momentum and strategic direction, and lead us into the future. As you know, The Langley School is a very special place and we are excited to identify the next impassioned head of school to lead it.
- Update from Search Committee - October 25, 2019
- Letter from Dr. Elinor Scully, Current Head of School - October 1, 2019
- Letter from Zac Merriman, Chair of Board of Trustees - October 1, 2019
October 25, 2019
Dear Langley Community,
It’s hard to believe we are already into October with the Fall Fair only a day away. Over the course of this year, we are committed to sharing the progress we are making with our head of school search. We are reaching out now to share some exciting developments and alert you to some key dates later this month and in November.
The Search Committee
We are pleased to announce that we have assembled the full Search Committee that will assist the Board in carrying out its responsibility to hire the next head of school. In addition to the two of us, the Search Committee includes 10 additional members who represent the Board of Trustees, faculty/staff, and current and alumni parents. Please find the list of Search Committee members below:
- Zac Merriman, Parent & Board of Trustees Chair
- Denise Haselhorst, Parent, Trustee, & Head of School Search Committee Chair
- Sara Magner, Parent, Trustee, & Committee on Trusteeship Chair
- I-Min Chao, Parent, Trustee, & PALS Chair Emeritus
- Makiko Harrison, Parent & Board of Trustees Secretary
- Shireen Zaman, Parent & Trustee
- Gerry Salemme, Parent & Board of Trustees Vice Chair
- Cathy Bernasek, Parent & Board of Trustees Chair Emeritus
- Peggy Laurent, Lower School Head
- Mollie Morneau, Primary School Faculty
- Megan Rounsaville, Lower School Faculty
- Michela Lakkala, Middle School Faculty
We believe this group of committed individuals represents the views of the major Langley constituent groups and will bring invaluable individual experience and insights to this effort, while also keeping the broad interests of The Langley School at heart. In addition to a deep understanding of our school’s history, culture, and mission, this group possesses a diverse set of skills to assist in the process of interviewing and evaluating candidates, as well as institutional knowledge and a shared passion for The Langley School. Please join us in thanking each of them in advance for their time and commitment to this process.
Community Input Forums
Our search consultants from Carney, Sandoe & Associates have already kicked off the process with several in-person visits. In August, Bob Fricker met with the two of us to gain an understanding of the needs of our search and put forth a compelling proposal. Today, Bob and his colleague, Amanda Riegel, attended the Board of Trustees off-site session to gather feedback and provide input into the development of a highly informed profile of the qualities and abilities that our school community is seeking in its next leader.
In the coming weeks, we will be inviting parents, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and students to meet with Bob and Amanda while they are on campus November 14-15. These meetings will be an excellent opportunity for all constituent groups to voice their thoughts and ideas about The Langley School and the qualities we should seek in our next head of school. We cannot over-emphasize how valuable your voice will be during these meetings and we encourage you to make every effort to participate!
We will send details as we get closer to the date, but parents should plan to attend either an evening session on Thursday, November 14 or a morning session on Friday, November 15.
Head of School Search Web Page
We have created a head of school search web page where you will find recent e-mail communications, Search Committee information, a general search timeline, and the position description once it is finalized. We will update the web page as new information develops to help keep you informed.
Before the end of 2019, please look for an e-mail from us with a link to a community-wide online confidential survey where you can share your feedback and views. This will be another important channel through which all constituent groups can share input, and, to that end, we encourage all members of our community to complete the survey.
We want to reaffirm our commitment to making this process as inclusive and open as possible. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, or if you have someone to recommend for the head of school position, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact our consultants directly. Bob Fricker can be reached at email@example.com and Amanda Riegel is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued support and engagement in this important process.
Denise Haselhorst, Search Committee Chair
Zac Merriman, Board of Trustees Chair
Dear Members of the Langley Community:
The opportunity to be the head of The Langley School has been a privilege and a highlight of my professional career in education. When I came to our campus six years ago, I was embraced warmly by a dynamic, talented, and inspired faculty and staff. I noticed the infectious energy and boundless optimism of our students the moment these young learners leapt out of cars and buses each morning and eagerly raced into our classrooms. At every turn, this community has embraced innovation, growth, and shared values regarding the essential mission of our unique school and model.
During my time here, I have watched the academic program deepen in its sophistication and commitment to inquiry-based pedagogy. We have launched a signature social and emotional curriculum that truly allows students to grow into the fullness of their potential both as scholars and as people. Our deep respect for childhood and the foundational importance of the preschool to eighth grade years is a model for all who aspire to prepare young people for life in a complex and changing world.
In everyone's professional journey there comes a time to contemplate change. For me, this happened when National Cathedral School offered me the special opportunity to return to a school I also treasure, for a new chapter in my life. For important reasons related to my family, I have decided to base my career in the Washington, DC, area. In June of 2021, I will complete eight years of service at Langley and will be ready for a new professional challenge that will allow me to remain close to my parents. It will be a homecoming for me, as I return to the school that gave me the experience, foundation, and confidence to be the head of Langley. Sometimes in life, things do seem to come full circle.
I take seriously the sacred trust parents offer us at Langley when they choose to enroll in our school. For the next two years, I plan to fully embrace that trust by devoting my full heart, time, and attention to my work here. We have quietly launched an ambitious campaign for Langley's future. With the help of everyone, we can reach our campaign goals, begin building a gorgeous new facility, and grow our endowment. We can do this with the same vigor, enthusiasm, and community spirit that has guided all of our work to date.
The Langley community is exceptional, our program is superb, and the future is limitless. Fortunately, we do not have to begin any goodbyes now. There will be plenty of time for that in the next academic year. We still have so much time to do great work, to celebrate our abiding connections and friendships, and to prepare for an exciting next chapter in Langley's future.
With deep appreciation,
Head of School
Dear Members of the Langley Community:
When the Board of Trustees asked Dr. Elinor Scully to become our next head of school in 2013, they knew she was a forward-thinking, visionary leader who would take Langley to new heights. They also knew she was an extremely well-known and sought-after education professional whose career was on the rise. Given the robust independent school market in the greater DC region, it comes as no surprise that Elinor is often considered for open headship positions in our area.
I write to inform you that Elinor will be leaving Langley in June 2021 to become the new head of school at National Cathedral School in Washington, DC, after completing her current contract and an eight-year tenure at Langley. With the knowledge that talented mid-career heads of school typically move on after a set number of years, the Board was prepared for this announcement and feels Langley is in an extremely strong position to undertake a leadership transition. We fully support Elinor's career decision and are excited for her to take on this new challenge once her work at Langley is complete.
In just six years, Elinor has successfully set and led the execution of Langley's strategic plan which has resulted in many key milestones. Under her leadership, Langley has stabilized enrollment; hired and retained excellent teachers, staff, and administrators; garnered momentum to build a new building on campus and grow our endowment; continued to differentiate Langley as a leader in preschool to grade 8 education; developed a unique social-emotional learning program; and articulated and strengthened our inquiry-based teaching philosophy.
And her accomplishments won't end there. The Board is grateful that Elinor has pledged her full commitment and energy to Langley over the next two years prior to her departure in 2021. She will continue working with the Board, administrators, faculty, and staff to sustain our tremendous momentum and build a strong foundation for Langley's future, putting plans in place for a seamless head of school transition in 2021.
Successful, sustainable schools aren't run by just one leader, however, and Langley is no exception. We are lucky to have a talented and dedicated Board and senior administrative team to partner with the head of school and help fulfill our mission. They will play a key role in continuing the work Elinor has done and ensuring a smooth leadership transition.
Given such advance notice of Elinor's departure, Langley has the time needed to conduct a thorough nationwide search for our next head of school. To lead the search process, the Board has hired Carney Sandoe & Associates, a well-respected firm that not only offers the scale of a larger search consultancy, but also specializes in independent school searches with particular domain expertise in preschool to grade 8 schools. We will formally initiate the search in the coming weeks, with the goal of naming a new head by the fall of 2020. The Board will establish a search committee made up of key Langley stakeholders and initiate a community survey to guide the process and decision, keeping the community informed of our progress along the way. We are eager to embark on the search process and are confident we will find a dynamic new leader who shares our passion for preschool through eighth grade education.
To learn more about the transition, I invite you to join Elinor and me after the PALS meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, October 2, at 8:15 a.m. in the Lower School Assembly Room, where we will be happy to answer questions. Elinor and I will also hold an afternoon Q&A session on Thursday, October 3 from 2:30-4:00 p.m. in the Claire Maxted Administration Building.
While Elinor's leadership will be sorely missed, it's an exciting time for Langley as we look to build on all that she has accomplished and will yet accomplish over the next two years. Thanks to Elinor, and the many talented heads of school before her, Langley's future is extremely bright. Our vibrant and committed community is ready for the next chapter of the school's 77-year journey.
Chair, Board of Trustees