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The Search Process

In early October, the Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Jennifer Weyburn to serve as Packer's 10th Head of School. Read the announcement.

In June 2019, Dr. Bruce L. Dennis will conclude his remarkable 15-year tenure as Packer's Head of School. Under his leadership, Packer has expanded its academic and extracurricular programs through Advanced Topics courses, the Independent Science Research Program, Symposium, and the 10th Grade International Travel Program. Dr. Dennis has overseen the restoration and expansion of the School's campus, including the Packer Early Learning Center, opening in Fall 2018.

In preparation for his departure, the Board of Trustees established a search committee led by current Trustee and former Board Chair, Ronan Harty. To assist in the search, the committee hired educational search firm Carney, Sandoe & Associates.

In July, the Search Committee interviewed semifinalists at Packer. In September, three finalists visited the School. Each finalist's visit included two days of meetings and open sessions with faculty, staff, parents, former parents, alumni, and students. Feedback on each finalist was collected from all constituents through online surveys. 

Communications from the Search Committee Chair

October 2018: Packer Trustees Appoint Dr. Jennifer Weyburn to serve as Packer's 10th Head of School

August 2018: September Forums with Finalists for Packer's Head of School

June 2018: June Update on Packer's Head of School Search

April 2018: April Update on Head of School Search

March 2018: Head of School Position Opportunity Statement (PDF)

February 2018Overview of Packer's Head of School Search Process

February 2018: Questionnaire regarding Head of School search available online (link emailed to Packer community on Thursday, February 22).

Head of School Retirement Announcement

January 2018: Letters from Head of School Dr. Bruce L. Dennis and Chair of the Board of Trustees Deborah Juantorena

Frequently Asked Questions

The goal of this section is to anticipate your questions about the search for Packer's next Head of School. If you have additional questions, please contact Search Chair Ronan Harty at

Who is on the Search Committee?

Ronan Harty P'15, P'17, P'20 (Committee Chair)
Jamillah Hoy-Rosas '94, P'22, P'27
Ali Iberraken (Dean of the Class of 2020, Upper School Science Teacher)
Timothy Jensen (Lower School Head Teacher)
Todd Johnson (Middle School English Teacher)
Deborah Juantorena P'19 (Chair, Board of Trustees)
OhSang Kwon P'17, P'22
Reed Lowenstein P'24, P'26
Megan Sheetz P'23, P'24, P'26
Semeka Smith-Williams (Director of Diversity and Equity)
Karen Snow P'25

What is the expected timeline for the search process?

To ensure a flexible and responsive search process, the dates below are subject to change.

January 30, 2018: Dr. Bruce Dennis announced plans to retire from Packer at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year.

Mid-February 2018: Search Committee outlines the search process for the Packer community.

February 21-23, 2018: Carney, Sandoe & Associates consultants Barbara Chase and Ben Bolté visit Packer for onsite interviews with members of the school community.

February 22, 2018: Community-wide online survey launches (and closes at the end of the day March 1).

March 2018: Search Committee distributes Position Description for the next Head of School.

April - August 2018: Search Committee and CS&A engage potential candidates and review their credentials.

September 2018: Finalists visit campus and meet with all members of the Packer community.

October 2018: Board of Trustees selects the next Head of School

July 1, 2019: New Head of School arrives

In February, the primary focus of the Search Committee and our consultants is to develop a position statement for Packer's next Head of School. In late February, all members of the School community will be invited to complete an online questionnaire. Based on their findings from the questionnaire and extensive interviews with many of the parent, faculty and staff, students, alumni/ae, and trustee constituencies, the Search Committee, together with the consultants, will create the Position Statement, which will serve as a primary tool in describing the Head of School position to all potential candidates.

This document will then be disseminated nationally and internationally as the consultants identify and recruit candidates in order to secure the best possible pool of applicants for the position. After spending the majority of the spring vetting the candidates, the consultants will meet with the Search Committee in early summer to present the dossiers of a smaller group comprising the strongest potential candidates. Interviews will then be conducted; references will be checked; finalists will be selected to visit campus and to meet with constituents of the Packer community. The Search Committee will then recommend a final candidate to the Board of Trustees for approval and, if the candidate is approved by the Board, the announcement of a new Head of School will be made to our school community this fall.

What is the role of the Search Committee?

The Search Committee directs the search process from start to finish. The committee will coordinate input from Packer's varied constituencies, both groups and individuals; work with the search firm to craft the Position Statement; sort through the initial round of candidates vetted by the search firm; and organize and conduct interviews with the candidates. At the end of the process, the Search Committee will present one candidate to be confirmed by the Board of Trustees. Upon confirmation of the candidate, the Committee facilitates the leadership transition and integration into the School. A major function of the Search Committee is to keep the Packer community informed and engaged throughout the search process, while respecting the confidentiality of the candidate recruitment process.

What is the role of the consultants?

Carney, Sandoe & Associates is the consulting firm unanimously selected by the Search Committee. Our consultants from Carney are Barbara Chase and Ben Bolté. Carney, Sandoe will provide advice to the Search Committee concerning format, logistics, procedure, and best practices in the search process. In February, the consultants will gather data from the online questionnaire and personal interviews to fully understand our culture and institutional needs. Then, working closely with the Search Committee, they will translate the School's mission, philosophy, and objectives into a leadership profile. The consultants ensure that the Position Description includes the personal characteristics and style required for the new Head to "fit" effectively with Packer culture and values. Together with the Search Committee, CS&A interviews and checks references of all candidates before referring their credentials to the Search Committee for review. The consultants provide Committee members detailed interview questions custom-designed to probe whether candidates possess the specific leadership qualities identified as required by the school. They help structure interviews, visits, and reference checks to ensure that these meet the candidates' and the Committee's needs for information. The consultants also facilitate the flow of feedback between the candidates and the Search Committee.

What is the role of the current head?

Dr. Dennis will continue to lead the School and implement existing strategic priorities until June 30, 2019.

What is the role of the Board?

The Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting and hiring Packer's next Head of School. To facilitate the search process, the Board created a Search Committee that will recommend a Head of School candidate to the Board. The group is comprised of several faculty members as well as a group of Trustees. Recognizing that selecting our next leader is a critical milestone for the School, the Board has engaged Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a leading search firm based in Boston, to serve as consultants to the Search Committee throughout the process. The firm, which has led hundreds of national searches for independent schools in NYC and around the US, will assist the Search Committee in managing the search process from start to finish.

What is the role of faculty, staff, and administration?

Three faculty members and a member of the administration are part of the Search Committee. Their role is to represent the best interests of the school (not any one particular interest). Packer's Faculty will remain actively engaged throughout the search, from giving feedback and commentary to the search firm during the information gathering stage prior to publication of the Head of School Position Statement to meeting finalist candidates.

What is the role of current parents?

In late February, parents can complete the online questionnaire which will inform the Position Description. Parent representatives will meet with the consultants during the February site visit and with candidates during the finalist campus visits in the fall. Throughout the search process, parents are encouraged to share their additional thoughts with the Search Chair via email at

What is the role of students?

Students will be asked to participate in different ways, depending upon what is most age appropriate. A group of students will be invited to meet with our consultants to offer their thoughts on qualities they would like to see in a new Head of School and the Search Committee also plans to involve students next fall to offer their insights during candidate site visits.

What is the role of alumnae/i?

Alumni/ae will be asked to participate in the online questionnaire. Alumni/ae representatives may also meet with the consultants during their site visit and with candidates during the candidate finalist visits next fall.

How can I participate in the search process? How can I contribute?

All members of the Packer community are encouraged to share their additional thoughts with the Search Committee via email to the Chair at In late February, the community will be invited to complete an online questionnaire via email.

When will the Packer community get to meet the candidates?

We expect to introduce the finalists of the Head of School Search in the fall of 2018. Up until that point in the search the identity of candidates is confidential in order to protect the integrity of the process.

Whom do I contact if I have any questions or thoughts on the search?

You can contact Search Committee Chair, Ronan Harty at

Who is leading the search process?

The Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring Packer's next Head of School. Working closely with the Search Chair, the Board assures a high level of congruence between the School's mission, core values, challenges and opportunities for Packer, and the desired candidate profile. The Board of Trustees will meet the finalist candidates in the early fall, and acting on the recommendation of the Search Committee, will approve the appointment of Packer's new Head of School.