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Head of School Search

Head of School Search

On July 30, 2020, Westminster School Head of School William V.N. Philip P’06, ’09 announced that he will conclude his 38-year tenure at the end of the next school year, on June 30, 2021. The Board of Trustees has retained Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a highly regarded national search firm, to work with Westminster’s Search Committee to find a new Head of School. This page will be updated periodically to provide news and information regarding the search.
August 31, 2020
 
Dear Members of the Westminster Community,
 
The search for Westminster’s next Head of School is well underway. As we work to define the qualities and experiences necessary in our new Head, we want to engage with a wide spectrum of our school community to solicit input and perspective. 
 
Online Survey
We invite all members of our community to fill out an online survey to share their perspective on the necessary experiences and professional and personal qualities for Westminster’s next Head of School.  
 
Click this link to take the Head of School Search Survey
 
Site Visit Meetings
In addition to the online survey, our search consultants from Carney, Sandoe & Associates will host a number of virtual meetings with students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni to solicit input about this important leadership transition and to learn more about our school community.  These meetings will take place over the course of the next few weeks. We plan to share the results of the input we receive — both through the development of a position description and an aggregation of common themes.  
 
As always, suggestions for candidates to consider are encouraged. Candidate submissions should be sent to Lisa Parsons at lisa.parsons@carneysandoe.com. The Search Committee welcomes feedback or questions about the search. You may contact us at headofschoolsearch@westminster-school.org.  
 
We thank you in advance for your time and willingness to share your thoughts and perspective. 
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Head of School Search Committee
July 30, 2020
 
Dear Westminster School Community,
 
Jenny and I are writing to share that the 2020-2021 school year will be our last on Williams Hill. As we look forward to the next stage in our lives, which we hope will include plenty of travel and much more time with family — opportunities which our totally immersive devotion to school life have necessarily postponed — we know that Westminster School will continue to flourish with the energy and optimism that accompany new leadership.
 
At any independent school, critical to sustaining institutional momentum are planning discussions between Heads of School and Board Chairs about succession in leadership. Our Board Chair, Brad Raymond ’85, P’19, ’20, ’23, ’23, and I have routinely discussed all aspects of leadership and governance at Westminster. Those conversations accelerated over the past couple of years after Jenny and I shared with Brad that we had begun to consider when would be the best time to invite new leadership to step to the fore at Westminster.
 
We first became involved with Westminster School in the fall of 1983, when we were 22 years old. During the 2020-2021 school year we will turn 60. Those 38 years include so many memorable experiences in the midst of our school’s community, memories that we will always cherish. We are incredibly grateful to our many Westminster mentors and friends, who have always been at our side offering advice, support, and encouragement; we can only hope that our nearly four decades of passionate commitment to this school community has somehow reciprocated the legacy of the school community’s care for our family.
 
The last decade has been especially exciting as we advanced our campus master plan with Armstrong Dining Hall, Brockelman Student Center, Gund, Kelter, and Squibb Houses, as well as other new faculty residences, and Hovey Field. Further, we could not be more enthusiastic about the depth of talent across this school’s faculty and staff, which is now more diverse and includes quite a few alumni in leadership roles.
 
Considering the scope of our school’s recent transformation, most meaningful to Jenny and me are the observations by alumni visitors who continue to affirm that Westminster School’s defining ethos — our mission and core values as well as our motto of Grit & Grace and the inspiration of our Martlet mascot — still resonates powerfully.
 
As we look forward to the year ahead, we remain completely focused on planning for opening campus this fall term as well as for addressing with urgency the legacy of systemic racism, as it pertains to the experience of our students, particularly Black students. Toward that commitment, our Soar Together Campaign remains a top priority, since we seek to secure more support for financial aid, a campaign goal which will directly enhance the experience of Westminster students.
 
Emphatically, this letter is not a farewell, as much remains to be accomplished in the upcoming school year. Simultaneously, Brad will lead a search process for a new Head of School who will continue to move this great school forward, assuring that Westminster School soars to yet unimagined heights.
 
With Grit & Grace as We Soar Together,
     
 
 
 
 

Jennifer B. Philip P’06, ’09  William V.N. Philip P’06, ’09

July 30, 2020
 
Dear Members of the Westminster Community,
 
I write on behalf of the Board of Trustees concerning Bill Philip’s announcement that the 2020-2021 school year will be his last as our Head of School. 
 
Bill Philip became Westminster’s eighth Head of School in 2010, during which time he has led Westminster through an unprecedented period of growth and development. Since they joined us in 1983, Bill and Jenny Philip have given the best of themselves to Westminster School, raised their family on campus, and contributed immeasurably to the daily life and long-term legacy of our school.
 
During his 38-year tenure at Westminster, Bill has served in a variety of teaching, administrative, and coaching responsibilities. Prior to becoming Head of School, Bill served as Assistant Headmaster, Associate Headmaster, as well as serving as Director of Studies, Director of College Counseling, and Senior Development Director, all while teaching history for years. He has also been a corridor and dormitory supervisor, a coach of swimming, baseball, and lacrosse, and a sought-after advisor for hundreds of students. He received the O’Brien Award in 1998 and was named an honorary member of the Class of 2006. He has and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of Westminster students, faculty, administration, and staff, as well as the broader school community.
 
Jenny Philip has also served the school in many ways over the years as a faculty member in addition to being a key partner to Bill. Jenny currently coaches field hockey and lacrosse at Westminster, writes and edits electronic communications in the Marketing and Communications Office, curates art exhibits for Baxter Gallery, including the coordination of an annual spring alumni art exhibit, and this summer she is leading the dining team that is planning for the reopening of school. Many of the campus beautification efforts are hers; Jenny initiated the planting of the hundreds of daffodils along Perkin Drive that explode with yellow blooms each spring and she coordinates the planting of additional bulbs each fall with the help of her field hockey team. Prior to joining Westminster full time, Jenny worked in admissions at Yale University and at Ethel Walker School, and in the Advancement Office at Renbrook School. Jenny and Bill’s two daughters, Kate ’06 and Alie ’09, grew up at Westminster, discovered their passion for art history as Westminster students, and enjoyed considerable success on various Westminster athletic teams, before matriculating to Yale University and Bates College, respectively.
 
There will be many opportunities between now and June 2021 to fully recognize and celebrate Bill’s and Jenny’s many contributions to Westminster. First and foremost, they have been exemplary stewards of our mission, fostering the intellectual curiosity, character, and community spirit that our faculty and students share with each other every day. With Bill’s leadership, we have continued to transform Westminster’s campus, in accordance with the master plan, with the building of Armstrong Dining Hall, Brockelman Student Center, Gund, Kelter, and Squibb Houses, as well as other new faculty residences, and Hovey Field. The physical transformation of these community spaces was important in terms of reflecting Westminster’s values, and Bill has always emphasized the need to support the people who make up our community: our students and faculty. Westminster’s landmark Soar Together campaign, which is devoted in its final years to raising endowment funds to support students and their experience, and the faculty who teach them, coach them, and advise them, reflects both Bill’s and Jenny’s longstanding devotion to our school and its future. Most importantly, throughout this period of growth, Bill has ensured that Westminster remained true to itself and our community ethos of Grit and Grace, which has resulted, not surprisingly, in a robust school community with a strong student body, continuity in faculty including numerous alumni, and a spirit that is familiar to all of us. Bill’s thoughtful leadership admirably guided Westminster through an unprecedented spring term under accelerating pandemic conditions, working with our incredible faculty to ensure that the remote learning experience delivered not only academic excellence but community spirit. We are fortunate to have Bill and Jenny to continue to guide us as we plan for the coming year.
 
On a personal note, I have known Bill since he first came to Westminster, and I am grateful to him for the time and guidance he has offered to the Board (past and present), and to me and prior Board Chairs. His wisdom runs deep and his passion for Westminster is unrivaled. Both Bill’s and Jenny’s dedication to our school and the people who comprise our community will leave a lasting legacy.
 
For our Head of School search process, we have formed a Search Committee, which consists of other board members, parents (current and former), alumni, and faculty. The Search Committee includes:
  • Brad Raymond ’85, P’19, ’20, ’23, ’23, Chair
  • Mary Peck ’90, Vice Chair
  • Madeleine Ekholm P’19, ’20
  • Powell W. Holly III ’82
  • Moyahoena Ogilvie Johnson ’86
  • Jessica Keough, Dean of Faculty
  • Thomas W. McCargo ’82, P’21
  • Bill Sistare, Dean of Studies
  • Kirsten Sichler Webb ’98
  • Gregory Williams, Director of College Counseling
Also, we will be assisted in our search by Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A), a nationally recognized educational search firm, and I am pleased to report that Devereaux McClatchey, President of CS&A, will be leading the firm’s search team for Westminster. 
 
We plan to begin our work immediately. While the timeline will depend on a variety of factors, we will remain committed to a thorough and disciplined approach. The search process will include input from all of you. We plan to communicate as regularly and with as much transparency as possible during what will at times be a highly confidential process. We are confident that Westminster’s reputation for excellence will draw a diverse group of highly qualified and interested candidates and that we will be in a strong position from which to select the next Head of School.
 
A transition such as this, from one longtime head of school to another, is an important moment for our school. As we pause to reflect upon Bill’s remarkable contributions to Westminster and plan for the year to come, we must also look forward and consider the school’s future. The search is an opportunity for us to recognize who we are today and to explore where we need to go. We will focus not only on our deeply rooted strengths and proud tradition, but, as importantly, on new educational goals for the world in which our children will live.
 
Westminster School’s motto, virtute et numine — by grit and grace— defines and distinguishes the Westminster experience, our community, and our alumni. It will also guide us in our search for the next Head of School. 
 
The Board and I look forward to working with the entire Westminster community in the months to come.
 
Sincerely,
Brad Raymond ’85, P’19, ’20, ’23, ’23
Chair of the Board
For the Head of School search process, a Search Committee has been formed which consists of members of the Board of Trustees, parents (current and former), alumni, and faculty. 

Brad Raymond ’85, P’19, ’20, ’23, ’23
Chair of Search Committee,
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Mary Peck ’90
Vice Chair of Search Committee,
Trustee


Madeleine Ekholm P’19, ’20
Trustee

Powell W. Holly III ’82
Trustee

Moyahoena Ogilvie Johnson ’86
Vice Chair of Board of Trustees

Jessica Keough
Dean of Faculty

Thomas W. McCargo ’82, P’21
Trustee

Bill Sistare 
Dean of Studies

Kirsten Sichler Webb ’98
Trustee

Gregory Williams 
Director of College Counseling

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