St. James Episcopal Day School

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Updates and Communications

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Thanks to the nearly 100 members of the St. James community who responded to the survey related to the Head of School search. Our consultants, Allison Lorimer and Dave Davies, felt that the participation was strong, especially during the summer months.

The survey results will inform the Search Committee’s work and will be helpful both to our Interim Head, Fr. Michael Kuhn, and our eventual Head of School. The results also helped develop the Head of School Position Profile: HERE.

This document becomes an important tool in building the candidate pool, a task that is well underway. The search is confidential at this point in order to ensure a strong candidate pool. Only the consultants and search committee will know the candidates until the finalist stage in late fall or early winter. At that point, the community will have a chance to meet finalists. 

One of the items on the recent survey asked for potential candidates, and we were pleased to receive several great suggestions. Dave and Allison will reach out to them to invite them into this process. If you have any additional suggestions of possible candidates, then please share the position profile with them or contact Dave or Allison (Dave@educationgroup.com or Allison@educationgroup.com).

Thank you for your patience and prayers as we work to find our next leader of St. James Episcopal Day School.

Mike Rabalais,
Search Committee Chair

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Although summer vacation is upon us, the search for our next Head of School continues forward with haste. During the final days of the academic year, our consultants from The Education Group (TEG), Dave Davies and Allison Lorimer, spent two days on campus getting to know St. James through the students, faculty, staff, and parents on campus. During that time, they also began deeper conversations with the Board of Trustees, teachers, and administrators about what we are looking for in our next Head of School. Today, I am writing to solicit your input and outline the search process.

In the next step in the search process, it is paramount that we continue to identify the key characteristics and qualities we are seeking. Below you will find a link to an anonymous survey being administered by TEG. This seven-question survey is designed to gather meaningful comments on St. James’s strengths and opportunities as related to the search. We ask that you complete the survey by Friday, June 21, 2019.

 

To assist in this process, I asked the Board to appoint a Search Committee based on the recommendations of our consultants with TEG. The members of the Search Committee are Denise Allen, Nicole Brien, Fr. Ralph Howe, Bahin Leonard, Emily Wray Lamont, Erik Piazza, Mike Rabalais, Nancy Roberts, and Leslie Spencer. Fr. Michael Kuhn and Donna Lamonte will also give support and input from behind the scenes.

In looking ahead, our consultants will assist the Search Committee in developing a detailed profile after the SJEDS community’s input is received from the survey. Then TEG will work to identify and compile a list of candidates who would best fit St. James’ search criteria. The Committee will review these candidate files, interview the most viable candidates, and identify finalists who will visit our campus. After considering input from all constituents who meet with the finalists, the Search Committee will join me in recommending a candidate for appointment. The expected start date of the new Head of School is July 1, 2020. 

As you can imagine, much of the work of the Search Committee must remain confidential until the finalist phase, and so we encourage you to remain patient as we work through this process. Please discourage undue speculation or the spread of inaccurate information. If you have questions or concerns, please bring them to me directly. With that said, the Search Committee and I will continue to give periodic updates as we are able. To learn more about the search and the process we encourage you to click trough the Head of School Search webpage.

As I shared in a previous email, this is an exciting, prayerful, and important time in the history of our school. St. James is a special place where children are nurtured in a kind and loving environment while also being challenged with academic excellence. We continue to ask your prayers for our school, the students, and the whole SJEDS community.

Blessings,
Fr. Chris

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

As was announced yesterday morning, we have hired an Interim Head of School for the upcoming 2019-20 academic year. The Rev. Dr. Michael Kuhn will act as Interim Head and will remain with us through June 2020. Please join with your Board of Trustees and me in welcoming Fr. Michael into our St. James community. Fr. Michael will be with us on the morning of Friday, May 10th to further introduce himself to the students, parents, faculty, and staff.

I am excited to share more good news with you today. We have officially begun the search for St. James Episcopal Day School’s next permanent Head of School. This search process would not be possible without the commitment of our Board, who will identify and appoint a Search Committee, which will centrally contribute to the hiring our next leader. 

To assist the Search Committee, we have retained The Education Group (TEG), a national private and independent school search and placement firm. Both our school and TEG are supporters and members of the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (our accrediting agency). Several of TEG’s consultants are former Heads of Episcopal schools. The consultants for our Head of School search are Dave Davies and Allison Lorimer. I encourage you all to learn more about our consulting team at www.educationgroup.com. 

As we begin this process, we will be reaching out to the greater St. James community. We will have opportunities for input and dialogue from parents, trustees, faculty, and staff. We will continue to post updates during the search process through regular announcements and on the school’s website. 

This is an exciting, prayerful, and important time in the history of our school. St. James is a special place where children are nurtured in a kind and loving environment while also being challenged with academic excellence. We expect that this search will attract talented candidates who will uphold our school’s mission and successfully lead us into our future. Following a thorough and deliberate search process, the Search Committee will announce our candidate for the next permanent Head of School. 

Over the past year, many of you have heard me say, St. James is the people: students, parents, faculty, staff, and the entire church community. As we turn our attention to the future, I am excited to see how we will continue to build upon the incredible legacy that is St. James. Thank you for all that you do to help make this place so special.

Easter Blessings, 
Fr. Chris

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Board and I are happy to announce The Rev. Dr. Michael Kuhn has been named Interim Head of School for the 2019-2020 Academic Year. After initial candidates were considered, the Board invited Fr. Michael to further explore this possibility. After meeting one-on-one with Fr. Michael, the support from the Board was overwhelmingly unanimous and he has accepted the position.

Fr. Michael will officially join the St. James Episcopal Day School family on June 1, 2019. In order to help prepare for the transition, he will join us this Friday, May 10th, at our regularly scheduled school Eucharist at 8:15am. Immediately following the service, parents are invited to the Parlor for coffee and an opportunity to meet Fr. Michael. Following this introductory meeting, Fr. Michael has requested a tour of the school with an opportunity to begin meeting the students, faculty, and staff.

Fr. Michael comes to us with more than three-decades of experience in Episcopal school education. Shortly after being ordained, he served as a Canon and school chaplain at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. After a short tenure as a Rector in Boston, Fr. Michael received the call to serve at Trinity Episcopal School in New Orleans. After seven years of serving as chaplain, he was selected by Trinity’s search committee to serve as the next Head of School, a post Michael held for thirteen years. During a very successful tenure as Head of School at Trinity in New Orleans, Fr. Michael opened an early childhood program similar to the one at St. James, provided strong leadership during the community’s recovery following Hurricane Katrina, oversaw a multi-million dollar capital campaign to expand Trinity’s Preschool, increased salaries and benefits of faculty to ensure Trinity remained competitive, and lead the school through a ten-year accreditation process resulting in high praises from the accreditation team. Since finishing his tenure at Trinity, Fr. Michael returned to the classroom to serve as Assistant Head of School and Chaplain to the Lower and Middle Schools of St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, LA. Fr. Michael has lived in many places, being raised in Nashville, a graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and a graduate of The General Theological Seminary in New York City. Father Michael has been ordained 37 years; about 32 of those years have been in Episcopal schools

We are excited to welcome Fr. Michael to St. James as he seeks to use his wealth of knowledge and experience to guide us through this next year. 

Easter Blessings,
Fr. Chris, Rector