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Frequently Asked Questions

San Antonio Academy Head of School Search
 
Our goal is to anticipate some questions about the search for San Antonio Academy’s new Head of School. Please check back as this page will be updated periodically throughout the search process as we endeavor to keep the community current. Also, please feel free to submit your own questions to board@sa-academy.org.


Who is leading the search process?

The Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting and hiring The Academy’s next Head of School. To facilitate the search process, the board created a Search Committee to conduct the search and, at its conclusion, recommend a Head of School candidate to the board for review and approval.

What is the role of the Search Committee?

The Search Committee directs the search process from start to finish. They will coordinate input from SAA’s varied constituencies, work with the search firm to develop the Position Description, sort through the initial round of candidates vetted by the search firm, and organize and conduct interviews with the semifinalists and finalists. At the end of the process, the Search Committee will present one broadly supported candidate to be confirmed by the Board of Trustees. A major function of the Search Committee is to keep The Academy community informed and engaged throughout the search process, while respecting the confidentiality of the candidate recruitment process.

Who is on the Search Committee?

Appointing the Head of School is one of the most important responsibilities of a board and as a result, the committee is comprised of current and former trustees.
Steve Chiscano – current parent, current board chair, Search Committee Chair
Marilou Long – former parent and former board chair, Advisory Council member
Molly McAdams – current parent, incoming board chair
John “Chico” Newman – SAA class of 1961, former board member, Advisory
     Council member
Greg Seay – current parent, former board chair
Weisie Steen – Former parent, former board chair, Advisory Council member
John Zachry – former parent and former board chair. John spearheaded the plan in
                                 2008 to proactively prepare for John Webster’s eventual retirement.

Has The Academy retained a Search Consulting firm?

Wickenden Associates has been retained to assist San Antonio Academy in finding its next Head of School. Founded by former Princeton University Dean of Admission James Wickenden in 1986, Wickenden Associates is a leader among the nation’s independent school consulting firms. We will be represented by Jim Wickenden and Pete Gillian, both of whom have extensive experience as heads of independent schools and head searches.

What is the consultants’ role?

Wickenden Associates provide advice to the Search Committee concerning process, procedure and best practices in the search process. In April, the consultants will gather data from an online questionnaire and personal interviews to better understand The Academy culture. Then, working with the Search Committee, they will translate the school’s mission, philosophy, and objectives into a leadership profile called a Position Description. The consultants will ensure that the Position Description reflects The Academy’s culture and values. They then begin to build a candidate pool and conduct in-depth candidate interviews and reference checks. The consultants guide the Search Committee through the interviewing and vetting of candidates as well as the identification of semifinalists and finalists. Finally, once the finalist has been approved by the Board of Trustees, Wickenden Associates assists in the leadership transition.

What is the expected timeline for the search process?

March 24, 2016 John Webster announces plans to retire from San Antonio Academy at the conclusion of the 2016-17 academic year
April 1, 2016 Community-wide online survey launches
April 14-15, 2016 Wickenden Associates consultants visit The Academy for meetings with the community. Details will be forthcoming.
Spring 2016 Search Committee and Wickenden Associates distribute Position Description for the next Head of School to potential candidates
Spring 2016 Search Committee and WA begin to review candidates
Summer 2016 Initial confidential candidate interviews
September – October 2016 Finalist candidates visit San Antonio Academy
Late Fall 2016 Board of Trustees selects the next Head of School
Winter 2016-2017 Academy meet and greet event(s) with new Head of School
June 1, 2017 New Head of School arrives

Are there any internal candidates for the Head of School position?

Candidates from inside and outside of The Academy are encouraged to apply. Strict confidentiality will be given to all candidates until the finalist round.

Will there be an Interim Head of School?

We do not anticipate hiring an Interim Head unless we feel that is the right thing to do for The Academy.

What is John Webster’s role in the search process?

Mr. Webster will remain in his position as Headmaster through May 31, 2017. His focus will continue to be leading the school and actively implementing existing strategic priorities. Additionally, he will serve as a resource to the Search Committee, the board and the consultants. Mr. Webster will meet with each finalist when he/she visits the school to share his vast insight about The Academy and its workings. Once the new Head of School has been named, John will work closely with the new Head throughout the transition process.

What is the faculty, staff and administration’s role?

The faculty will be actively engaged throughout the search, from giving feedback and commentary to the consultants during the information gathering stage to meeting semifinalist and finalist candidates. Faculty, staff and administration will remain in close contact with the Search Committee throughout the process.

What is the role of current parents?

Throughout the search process, parents are encouraged to share their thoughts with the Search Committee via email at board@sa-academy.org. Through April 2016, parents will be invited to complete an online questionnaire, which will help inform the Position Description. Parent representatives will meet with the consultants during the April school visit by Wickenden and with candidates during the candidate school visits in the fall.

What is the role of alumni?

Alumni will be asked to participate in the search beginning with the online questionnaire. Alumni representatives will meet with the consultants during the April school visit and with finalists during the candidate school visits in the fall.

What is the students’ role?

Students will be asked to participate in different ways, depending upon what is age appropriate. Meeting with some of our students will be an important component of any finalist’s time spent at The Academy in the fall.

How can I participate in the search process?

The most effective way for each person to participate is to use the confidential online questionnaire hosted by Wickenden and accessed by a link available on our website. Additionally all members of The Academy community are welcome to contact the Search Committee via email at board@sa-academy.org.

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