The Long Ridge School

Head of School Search

Head of School Search Update

June 5, 2017

Dear Long Ridge School Community,

On behalf of the entire Search Committee, thank you to everyone who came out to meet with Bob Fricker, our Head of School search consultant, during his visit in April. Bob was impressed with the passion and commitment of everyone with whom he met at LRS.  In order to gather additional feedback, Bob also issued a survey that was completed by a large number of parents, teachers, alumni, alumni families, and friends of the school.  We appreciate the time and care that our school community has taken to ensure that we have the necessary information as we move forward to the next chapter for The Long Ridge School.

From Bob’s meetings with parents, administrators, teachers and trustees and his review of the survey, three themes emerged that we will use to guide our efforts going forward: Preserve, Prepare, Propel. 

 Throughout Bob’s visit and in the survey, the LRS community revealed that its top priority is to preserve the core values that have shaped and defined the experiences for our children, our teachers and our parents.  There was a shared commitment to protecting the sacred nature of childhood, the ability of teachers to address individual student needs, and the inclusivity of parents as true partners in the learning process.

While holding firm to those inviolable tenets, Bob’s visit clarified that we must also prepare our community for a new chapter.  Even the best changes can bring a level of uncertainty and instability, especially for a school like ours that has benefited from an uninterrupted 28-year tenure of our Head of School.  As a community, we need to prepare for the future so that we can propel LRS forward with a clear and defined value proposition that is aligned with our core values while answering the demands of demographics that are driving change in independent schools across the country.

We are confident that LRS can balance these themes and emerge as the preferred early and elementary school for families in the greater Fairchester area.  In recognition of the challenges all schools face in transitioning from long serving leadership, Bob has recommended to the Board of Trustees (a recommendation that they have approved) that we focus our search efforts on finding an interim Head of School who will serve at LRS for a period of 2-years as we prepare our community for a permanent change in leadership.  This is very often the course of action taken by schools going through a leadership transition after a long serving Head.

Interim leadership is a very specialized field in education. Interim Heads are experienced, successful administrators who have a wealth of school experience in their background.  They are very often, though not always, a retired Head of School.  Interims provide seasoned decision-making skills focused on current needs and based on an understanding of both the school’s past and its future.  At LRS, we will be looking for an interim who:

  • has a strong background in early and elementary education;
  • who can serve as an articulate ambassador for LRS in the greater Fairchester area to attract new students;
  • is excellent at building relationships with students and parents as well as supporting and encouraging our teachers; and
  • brings a strategic mindset to help us prepare for our future.

The process for identifying an interim Head is similar to the process for finding a permanent Head of School.  The Search Committee will continue to work with Bob, and parents, teachers, administrators and trustees will all have the opportunity to meet with candidates to provide their feedback.

Both the Board of Trustees and Search Committee members are confident that this is a positive development in our process and will yield a good outcome for our community.  We look forward to keeping you apprised of the process when we are back on campus this fall.  In the meantime, if you have any questions please reach out to a member of the Search Committee or a Trustee.  We would be happy to speak with you.

Warm regards,

Becki Fleischer

Search Committee Chair


Community Questionnaire

April 13, 2017

Dear Long Ridge School Community:

This week we welcomed Bob Fricker, our search consultant from Carney Sandoe & Associates, to The Long Ridge School campus.  This invaluable time on our campus provided Mr. Fricker with insights about what makes our school community so special.

Bob’s visit has already insured us of a comprehensive, inclusive, and diverse set of views about the school, which we will use in further refining our criteria in the selection process for our next head.  Now we are asking faculty, parents, former parents, trustees, and alumni/ae for additional feedback using an online survey.  The results of this survey will help round out the information Bob gathered during in-person sessions and will be very useful to the process.

The survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete and will remain open until the end of the day, Sunday, April 23.  At the bottom of the survey you will have an opportunity to nominate any educator known to you who might be a good fit for us.  All responses are both confidential and anonymous, and go directly to Bob who will consolidate the feedback and use it to insure we have considered all points of view from our key constituents.

The Search Committee is deeply grateful for your participation in this process and we expect to keep you apprised over the next months through announcements and the school’s website of the important milestones in the search process.

To complete the survey, please click here.

Warm regards,
Becki Fleischer
Search Committee Chair

 


Search Committee Announced 

March 9, 2017

Dear Members of The Long Ridge School Community,

Last month Kris and the Board of Trustees announced that we would be searching for a new Head of School who will begin at the start of the 2018-2019 school year.  In her letter to the community, Board Chair, Aditi Shrikam, shared that the Board had organized an initial search committee with me serving as its chair.  I am pleased to provide you with the first of what will be many updates on our progress.

After reviewing proposals and speaking with a number of search firms, the Board has retained Carney Sandoe & Associates to assist us in this process.  The firm is nationally recognized and has particular expertise in senior level appointments at independent schools.  Our consultant from Carney Sandoe & Associates, Bob Fricker, a Stamford native and former Trustee of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), has led over 100 searches in our area and across the country.   He is also a former independent school teacher and Head with a keen understanding of small, progressive schools like LRS.

The important work of recruiting the next Head of School will be bolstered by strong community participation and input.  To that end, I am pleased to announce that Mr. Fricker will visit LRS to get to know our school community on Wednesday, April 12 and Thursday, April 13.  These two days of meetings with LRS parents, teachers, administrators and trustees will give Bob a deeper understanding of our school’s culture and philosophy as well as a vision for its future.  Initial plans include one evening session and one after-drop-off session for parents.  The detailed schedule for his visit is being developed and will be shared in the weeks immediately following spring break.

Coinciding with his visit in April, Bob will administer an online community survey to solicit further input.  Based on the feedback collected during his visit and from the survey, Bob and the Search Committee will develop a profile of the qualities that our school seeks in its next leader, and we will spend the next months recruiting and screening candidates. Finalists will visit LRS in the fall, and there will be opportunities for our LRS community to meet with candidates as part of their interview processes and to provide feedback on each finalist.  We expect to announce the selection of a new Head of School by the end of 2017, and he/she will begin July 1, 2018.

To accomplish all of this work, a Search Committee of trustees, faculty and parents has been established to ensure a thorough and inclusive process.  I am pleased to announce the members:

Becki Fleischer, Trustee  (Liz, LRS graduate and Asa, 5th grade)
Aditi Shrikam, Trustee (Om, 5th grade and Dev, 2nd grade)
Guy Bailey, Trustee (former LRS Head of School, Andrew, LRS graduate)
David Friedman, Trustee (Marissa and Josh, LRS graduates)
Rebecca Fass, K-1 Teacher (Daniel, LRS graduate)
Rachel Wagle, 2-3 Teacher
Shanti Hageman, Parent (James, Kindergarten and Floyd, Nursery)
John Black, Parent (Dan, 2nd grade and Eva, Kindergarten)
Christine Costello, Director of Admissions and Marketing (Charlie, Kindergarten)

As we go through this process we will be looking for someone who will uphold the core values that make our community unique and who will build on Kris’s legacy while taking us strongly into the future.

We welcome any questions or suggestions you may have regarding this process.  Please feel free to contact me at [email protected].  Periodic updates regarding the search will be shared via email.

The Search Committee, the Board of Trustees, and Carney Sandoe & Associates are extremely confident that the outstanding faculty and staff, academic excellence, and enthusiastic students and families at LRS will attract candidates of stature and respect for a very successful appointment.

Sincerely,

Becki Fleischer

Search Committee Chair


Leadership Announcement

February 16, 2017

Dear Trustees,

I am writing to confirm plans that the 2017-2018 school year will be my last as Head of The Long Ridge School, coinciding with our 80th year celebration. My forty-year association with the school, half its lifetime, has truly been one of the great joys of my life. It has been an honor to be the longest serving LRS Head and lead a school that has always valued each child as a creative, curious, and unique individual and learner well into the 21st Century.

When I discovered and chose the perfect school for my perfect three-year-old in 1977, I never imagined that my role as parent would expand to become one of teacher, Assistant Head, and Head of School! The Long Ridge School has changed and grown in countless ways over the years. During my tenure, three major capital campaigns, “Raise the Roof,” “Library, Science, and Classroom,” and “Building Dreams,” led to the substantial renovations and additions to the school that have enhanced and allowed us to expand our programs. The Michael G. Harris Arts and Athletics Center finally provided a showcase for our impressive visual and performing arts and physical education programs as well as a beautiful space for community events. We also added our Beginners Program for two-year-olds, focused our efforts as experts in early childhood and elementary education, expanded after-school programming, and created and expanded our technology curriculum as the field developed.

Our motto at Long Ridge is “We are all friends in school.” It has been my privilege and joy to work and be friends with extraordinary students, teachers and staff, parents, and families. LRS is very fortunate, indeed, to be the school that so many outstanding teachers have chosen for their careers. I am deeply grateful to the parents who have selected LRS for their children’s early educations and then devoted their time, energy, enthusiasm, and resources to support the school. The strong Long Ridge School community is a gift to all.

During my years as Head of School at LRS, we have strived to stay true to the vision laid out by our founder, Harriet Rowland, while blazing new trails in a rapidly changing world. I know that the Board and faculty are committed to preserving the core values that are foundational to our mission and characterize our community. I am committed to working as hard as ever for the school I love during this and next school year, when, “The time has come to say ‘good-bye,’” as we sing at the end of every Assembly.  I look forward to working with the Board and entire school community to ensure a smooth transition and strong future for The Long Ridge School as the next Head of School is chosen.

Sincerely,
Kris Bria
Head of School

February 16, 2017

Dear Members of The Long Ridge School Community,

As you have read in her letter to trustees, Kris has confirmed plans with the Board of Trustees that the next school year will be her last as Head of The Long Ridge School.  Though inadequate as the words may be, Kris will be greatly missed by students, families, faculty, and staff, and we are deeply indebted to her for the many years of extraordinary service to our school.

The expansive reach of Kris’s success at Long Ridge can be seen and felt everywhere you look: in the excellence of the school’s teachers; the diversity of our community; the beauty of our campus; and the sheer joy found in the hallways, the classrooms, and on the playground. At the center of it all is her fierce loyalty to and protection of childhood and all that it should entail.  With great care and keen insight, Kris has preserved the wonder and awe of learning while pacing change to respond to the academic needs of the 21st Century.

In her time as Head, Kris has overseen the graduation of nearly 275 students.  Because of her leadership and dedication to education, as well as her love of children and childhood, every student has left LRS as the very best version of him or herself, passionate and well prepared for his or her next chapter.  Kris’s accomplishments and impact over her illustrious career at LRS are far too many to encompass in this letter, but as a board and as a community we look forward to celebrating them all during the 80th Anniversary festivities next year.

One of the most important responsibilities of the Board is the selection of the new Head of School.  As we identify our next leader, we will be looking for someone to uphold the core values that make our community unique and who will be as dedicated to and love LRS as much as Kris has. We also want someone whose vision is focused on the next 10 to 20 years and can help guide us there.  To achieve these goals, the Board has organized an initial search committee, with trustee Becki Fleischer serving as its chair. The search committee will expand to include additional trustees, faculty members and parents, ensuring a thorough and inclusive process. In the coming weeks and months, you can expect regular updates about the search process, as well as opportunities to engage in robust discussions.

The Board of Trustees is united in its optimism and confidence in the School’s future, aligned to the mission and values that define our unique community. As we prepare for change in the near future, we can take comfort in knowing that Kris’s leadership will continue during the 2017-2018 academic year. She and the Board of Trustees pledge to ensure a seamless transition as we continue to focus on operational and strategic initiatives to strengthen and improve the School.

I trust that you will join the Board of Trustees in expressing our heartfelt gratitude and best wishes to Kris and her family.

Sincerely,
Aditi Shrikam
President, Board of Trustees
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