Head of School Search

Welcome to the information page for The New School Head of School search.

On October 20, the Board of Trustees announced that President and Head of School Dennis Chapman would be leaving at the end of the school year to take the same position at The Village School in Naples, Florida.

An Interim Head of School will join The New School for the 2018-19 school year, and the Board of Trustees will shortly begin the search for a permanent Head of School who will join us on July 1, 2019.

Updates

Board Announcement

October 20, 2017

Dear New School Family,

It is with great sadness that I share that Dennis Chapman, TNS Head of School, has accepted a position as Head of School at The Village School in Naples, Florida. For those of you who know Dennis, you know how important family is to him. This transition allows Dennis and Brooke to move back close to their family in Southwest Florida while also leading a great school. So, while we are sad to see him go, we are happy that he will be close to his family. Dennis will continue to serve as our Head of School through the 2017-2018 school year and will transition to his new role in Naples effective July 1, 2018.

As Chairman of the Board and a parent at The New School, I want to express my appreciation to Dennis for his many contributions and accomplishments during his tenure at TNS. He has played a critical role in the development and success of our school. His leadership, passion for education and desire to strive for excellence was contagious and will be missed. I would like to highlight a few of his accomplishments which have made a profound difference in our school and the lives of our children.

Enrollment

  • Under Dennis' leadership, we have experienced a 30 percent growth in enrollment increasing to 430 students today.

Campus Growth and Development

  • We will be forever grateful for his leadership in positioning TNS for future growth by launching an upper school (9-12th grade) and overseeing the development of a four- phase long-range plan which entailed a $62 million Campus Master Plan.
  • Dennis led all efforts surrounding the construction and renovation of the entire campus, adding 82,000 square feet in new infrastructure for PS-12th grade. This included the construction of a new preschool, administrative wing, 350-seat auditorium, innovation center, tinkering studio, 3-story 5th – 12th grade academic center and athletic center.

Academics/Arts/Athletics

Because of Dennis' keen awareness of the importance of academics, arts and athletics, he worked tirelessly to implement the following enhancements in our school:

  • Partnered with Amazeum to develop our Tinkering Studio
  • Converted the school to ERB testing
  • Worked with MS team to create an 8th grade Entrepreneurship class (ARK Tank)
  • Started Arts Week and Founders Day
  • Drove the growth of our performing arts and drama program
  • Managed the retrofit of our building to a performing arts space
  • Oversaw the growth of our athletic program (added cross country, volleyball, cheer, track, tennis, golf, swimming), formed athletic advisory committee, developed athletic logo and brand
  • Led the school community through ISACS and ANSAA re-accreditation process

Capital Development/Fundraising Campaigns

  • Dennis drove initiatives to raise our annual fund by more than 276 percent to $350,000.
  • Dennis helped us launch a $25 million capital campaign with lead gifts of $10 million and $3 million for Phase 1 to build upper school facilities. We have raised $15.5 million to date.
  • Dennis secured matching funds for $250,000 Windgate Foundation gift to support the arts program.

Marketing

  • Dennis saw the need to position the school for a sustainable future and initiated efforts to enhance the school's brand identity, logo and website.

While this is just a sampling of what Dennis has done at TNS over the past three years, you can quickly see how much better positioned we are because of his significant accomplishments. I have no doubt that wherever Dennis' career takes him, he will continue to pave the way for a better education for children from all walks of life.

The Board unanimously supports immediately bringing in an independent school consultant. The consultant will evaluate and assess our school and help us set a path forward to finding a new Head of School to lead our community.

I hope you will join me in wishing Dennis the best of luck in all future endeavors, but equally important, thank him for all he has done at TNS. We are better because of Dennis Chapman. Please see Dennis' personal letter below. As always, please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or if I can ever be of further assistance.

Edward Prewitt,

Board Chair

Letter From Dennis Chapman

October 20, 2017

Dear New School Community,

It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that the 2017-2018 school year will be my last at The New School. When my family and I toured the campus in 2013, the engaged teaching and learning immediately drew us into this opportunity. We also fell in love with the community here at TNS. The school community welcomed my entire family with open arms, and we felt at home, even though we were 1,100 miles away from Florida. However, the draw to be closer to our family is strong, and due to this desire, we will be moving to Naples, Florida this summer to lead The Village School as Head of School. This unique opportunity was not one we were actively seeking, however, the chance to return to Southwest Florida was too powerful for us to ignore.

The New School and Northwest Arkansas will always feel like our second home and we look forward to returning often to visit with you. In the meantime, I will continue to work hard every day on behalf of our school community to continue to raise the bar in being the Premier Independent School in Northwest Arkansas.

Thank you for your incredible support and faith in me to lead this fantastic school. I hope I achieved my goal of leaving TNS in an even better place. I was honored to be the steward of this incredible school.

I look forward to visiting with you in the months ahead.

Sincerely,

Dennis Chapman

National Consulting Firm Selected

November 8, 2017

Dear Members of the New School Community:

I am pleased to share that The Board of The New School has retained Littleford & Associates to help us prepare for the search for a new Head of School. Littleford & Associates has over 7,000 school clients world-wide, including schools, college, foundations and other non-profits. Their work with schools includes focus on board governance, strategic planning, head of school searches, school climate and all realms of financial management. We are looking forward to their partnership and help with our search.

The first step in the process will include focus groups with parents, faculty/staff, as well as conducting individual interviews with key administrators and major donors. These focus groups will take place January 7 - 9, 2018. This will lay the groundwork for this search in terms of securing information and qualities needed to develop the official search profile for the new Head of School (Dennis Chapman's role). Our goal is to have a new Head of School named by September 2018 to begin July 1, 2019. This information will also be used to find the prospective candidates for the Interim Head of School role who will serve from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

Additionally, John Littleford, founder of Littleford & Associates, will conduct a full board workshop with his feedback on how we lay the appropriate groundwork for the search processes ahead.

In an effort to keep an open line of communication, we wanted our school family to know the current status of our search as we committed. Some of you may be contacted to be a part of focus groups mentioned above. I want to express my appreciation in advance to each of you who are part of this process. Together, we will find the perfect lead for our school.

Thank you,

Edward Prewitt

Chair, Board of Trustees

Interim Head of School Announcement

January 30, 2018

Dear New School Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Susan R. Groesbeck (Sue) as the Interim Head of School for the 2018-2019 school year.

Dr. Groesbeck brings a wealth of experience to The New School, having spent more than 40 years as an educator and administrator across North America. The role of Interim Head is nuanced and complex, requiring tremendous commitment over a short term to ensure progress continues under the interim's tenure. Recruiting for this role can be a challenge, and so the Board is delighted to have found Dr. Groesbeck – a school leader to whom this role is familiar. So familiar, in fact, that she is frequently sought out (and fought for) by top-tier independent schools across the US and Canada. Thankfully, the passion our school community exhibits, and the amazing progress we have made, were enough to convince Dr. Groesbeck that a year at The New School was the right next step.

Currently, Dr. Groesbeck is the Interim Head of School at Stratford Hall in Vancouver, BC. Dr. Groesbeck has also held the roles of Interim Head at Girls Preparatory School in Tennessee, Purnell School in New Jersey, as well as Emma Willard School in New York. Before taking on these interim roles, Dr. Groesbeck was the Principal of Havergal College in Toronto, Head of School at Hilton Head Preparatory School in South Carolina and Headmaster at Holy Innocents' Episcopal School in Atlanta.

Dr. Groesbeck is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Skidmore College, and holds both a Masters and a Doctoral degree from the University of Rochester, after which she became a Postdoctoral Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University. Dr. Groesbeck has received two Fulbright Grants (Germany and Japan) and was named a Toronto Woman of Distinction. Over the course of her distinguished career, Dr. Groesbeck has received many awards and honors for her commitment to education, including the Presidential NEA A+ Award (Washington, DC) and the Whitty Ransome Award (Wellesley College).

In addition to her critical and strategic thinking skills, proven practice of teaching and education and exceptional leadership experience, Dr. Groesbeck has the proven expertise to preserve school traditions while accomplishing strategic goals. During her appointment at The New School, Dr. Groesbeck will continue to work with the Board towards accomplishing the objectives set out in our current strategic plan. The Board is delighted to be working with someone of Dr. Groesbeck's character and caliber. I wanted to share Sue's sentiments with you regarding her appointment:

"I am thrilled to join the faculty and staff at The New School. During my visit, I found an exemplary atmosphere for learning, underscored by the positive comments I heard from students. I saw individual attention and the opportunity for students to have a better future through the advantage of the education offered at The New School. I am honored and excited."
- Dr. Susan Groesbeck

Sue and her husband of 43 years, Mark, have two married daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandsons. Sue is a lifelong learner who enjoys reading, swimming and gardening.

I would personally like to thank all members of the Board of Trustees for their time, insight and due diligence throughout this search process. On behalf of the entire Board, I would also like to thank the administrators, teachers and parents who participated in the interview process. Finally, we are grateful for the interminable assistance and guidance of our search consultant John Littleford of John Littleford and Associates.

Sue and Dennis, who have met and spoken at length throughout this process, will continue to be in contact to ensure a smooth transition of leadership for students, parents and staff. Please join the Board of Trustees in extending Sue and Mark a very warm welcome to The New School community.

Sincerely,
Edward E. Prewitt
Chair, Board of Trustees
The New School

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the time frame for selecting a new Head of School?

The search for an interim Head of School has already begun, and the board expects to announce that appointment before the end of February.

The search for a permanent Head of School will begin in the early spring, with the search committee conducting phone or Skype interviews, followed by on-campus interviews for the finalists. The Board hopes to be able to announce the appointment of the permanent Head of School in September of 2018, with the new Head to start July 1, 2019.

Who is the consulting firm assisting in the search?

Littleford and Associates is assisting with both the Interim Head of School and permanent Head of School searches. Littleford & Associates has over 7,000 school clients world-wide, including schools, college, foundations and other non-profits. Their work with schools includes focus on board governance, strategic planning, head of school searches, school climate and all realms of financial management. We are looking forward to their partnership and help with our search. To learn more about them, click here.

Why hire an interim?

Like many professions, there is a hiring season in education. For heads of school, the time has already passed for a school to begin a search and still be able to have access to the best candidates. Therefore, in order to be able to select from the best possible pool of candidates, the Board of Trustees decided to hire an Interim Head of School for 2018-19.

What is the Head of School job profile?

You can view a complete job description by clicking here.

How can I apply for the position?

If you are interested in applying for the Head of School position, please reach out to Littleford and Associates. You may find the appropriate contact information here.

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