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Head of School Search

Announcing Rowland Hall's Next Head of School

June 3, 2019

Mick Gee

Dear Rowland Hall Families and Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, I am excited to announce the appointment of Michael “Mick” Gee as Rowland Hall’s next head of school, effective July 1, 2020. Mick currently serves as head of Allendale Columbia School in Rochester, New York, a position he has held since 2012.

The board’s decision came at the conclusion of an intensive search process we initiated last October when Alan Sparrow announced his upcoming retirement. We engaged the services of Bob Fricker and Jennifer Christensen of Carney, Sandoe & Associates to lead us through the recruitment process, beginning with their campus visit last November and subsequent community survey which helped shape our position statement for the head of school opportunity. We were thoroughly impressed with the breadth and depth of the applicant pool, which included sitting heads of school, experienced educators, and candidates from around the globe. After careful evaluation, we invited seven semi-finalists to interview in mid-April, and then narrowed the field to four finalists who each spent two days visiting campus between late April and early May.

The Head of School Search Committee was unanimous in its recommendation of Mick Gee. Throughout our comprehensive process, Mick emerged as the educational leader who best embodies the core attributes our school community seeks in our next head. The committee was particularly drawn to Mick's demonstrated capacity for visible and visionary leadership; his proven ability to inspire and engage all constituents across a school community with clear communication and authenticity; and his significant experience in innovative programming, specifically in curricular design, enrollment management, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

A native of the United Kingdom, Mick began his career in 1990 as a science teacher and then the chemistry department chair at Sutton Centre School in Nottingham, England. He worked at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1997 to 2012—first as a teacher, coach, and department chair, then as Upper School assistant director, and finally as Upper School director for 12 years.

Mick earned his master's in education leadership from Columbia University. He attended Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, where he earned his postgraduate certificate in education (the equivalent to a master of arts in teaching) and his bachelor’s in chemistry and analytical sciences.

During his campus visit, Mick impressed everyone with his confidence, humor, and in-depth responses to tough questions about the educational challenges facing students and teachers today. He is drawn to this leadership opportunity because of our school’s values and commitment to fostering both academic excellence and ethical citizenship. After spending time on campus, Mick reflected: “Rowland Hall struck me as a place where people care about students first. It is a forward-thinking and intentional community dedicated to preparing students for their futures, and to lead productive lives that have a positive impact on others.”

Mick, his wife Amy, and their daughter Madeleine are thrilled to be moving to Salt Lake City and joining our school community. “The positive energy and feeling of being welcome on campus was palpable,” Mick said. “We are not looking forward to waiting to get there!”

On behalf of everyone at Rowland Hall, I would like to thank our search committee co-chairs, Katie Lieberman and Laura Snow Prosper, for the outstanding leadership, collaborative energy, and thoughtful perspectives they brought to this critical process. We are also deeply grateful for the service of all our search committee members, who gave generously of their time and always kept the best interests of our students and families at the forefront of their minds. We thank Bob Fricker and Jennifer Christensen for recruiting stellar candidates and providing guidance and wisdom every step of the way. Last but not least, thank you to all the faculty, staff, parents, students, trustees, alumni, and friends who engaged in the search process, demonstrating your investment in Rowland Hall and helping candidates experience the very best of our school during their time on campus.

The Board of Trustees is planning opportunities for the entire community to get to know Mick and his family during the coming months. We also look forward to celebrating the 28-year tenure of Alan Sparrow throughout the next year. We know you will all join us in honoring the legacy Alan has built at Rowland Hall, which has positioned the school for an exceptionally bright future under new leadership.

Warmly,

Jennifer Price-Wallin
Chair, Board of Trustees

Final Steps in the Search Process—May 2019

May 20, 2019

Dear Rowland Hall Families and Friends,

Thank you for your continued interest in and engagement with the head of school search process. Our finalist candidates were warmly welcomed and left their campus visits deeply impressed by Rowland Hall. We appreciate your hospitality, as well as your help in assessing the candidates and providing essential feedback for consideration. 

The search committee is now fully immersed in synthesizing and reviewing information relevant to our decision-making. Resources include our Carney Sandoe consultants, comprehensive survey data, and input from individual members of the community, faculty, administration, staff, and students. Most importantly, we are conducting extensive referencing, which is providing deep insight into each candidate from those with whom they have worked. 

In the coming days, after a rigorous process of due diligence and deliberation, we will recommend one candidate to the Board of Trustees and anticipate a public announcement to follow. Thank you for your support and patience in this important final stage.

Warmly,

Katie Lieberman and Laura Snow Prosper
Co-Chairs, Head of School Search Committee

Moving into the Finalist Phase—April 2019

April 26, 2019

Dear Rowland Hall Families and Friends,
 
As our head of school search moves into its final stages, we anticipate a very busy and exciting period ahead. We are thrilled to announce that four outstanding finalist candidates will come to campus over the course of the next three weeks. Each candidate visit will span two full days and will include opportunities to interact with the administrative team, faculty, staff, students, parents, and other interested Rowland Hall community members.

We encourage you to participate in the process by welcoming our candidates, taking advantage of an opportunity to learn more about them, and helping to enhance their understanding of and appreciation for Rowland Hall. Please check your email for an April 26 update containing information about our timeline over the next three weeks. After each candidate's visit, community members will have an opportunity to share feedback with the search committee via a survey.

Reaching this final stage of the search is the result of a thorough and intentional process, and we are excited for our broader community to meet this group of highly talented candidates. Thank you in advance for your engagement and support during this important time in school history.

As always, feel free to reach out to us with questions or comments at headofschoolsearch@rowlandhall.org.

Warmly,

Katie Lieberman and Laura Snow Prosper
Co-Chairs, Head of School Search Committee

Head Search Update: Selecting Semifinalist Candidates—April 2019

Dear Rowland Hall Families and Friends,

We hope you enjoyed a lovely spring break and feel rejuvenated heading into the final weeks of the academic year. Our search for a new head of school has ramped up, and we wanted to give you an update on the process and timeline for this spring.

The search committee met in late March to review candidate files. We were thoroughly impressed with the breadth and depth of the applicant pool, which includes sitting heads of school, experienced educators, and candidates from around the globe. After robust evaluation and discussion, we identified seven people to be invited to campus to interview in a semi-finalist round. Pending the outcome of those interviews, we hope to invite finalists back in late April or early May. This finalist round will include opportunities for the campus community to meet with each of the candidates. 

We are pleased with the progress we are making and are grateful to Bob Fricker and Jennifer Christensen of Carney Sandoe for their role in cultivating candidates. They brought us a truly stellar pool of applicants. Please watch for future updates, including information about finalist visits, in the coming weeks. 

Warmly,

Katie Lieberman and Laura Snow Prosper
Co-Chairs, Head of School Search Committee

Head of School Position Statement—January 2019

Dear Rowland Hall Families and Friends,

We hope 2019 is off to a wonderful start for all of you. As we begin the year, we want to provide an update on the head of school search.

Over the past several weeks, the consultants at Carney Sandoe, Jennifer Christensen and Bob Fricker, have been working with our search committee to prepare the head of school position statement. This document serves as a primary tool in the recruitment process, offering potential candidates a glimpse into our school community and culture.

Jennifer and Bob used information gleaned from the recent community survey and their on-campus interviews to shape the content of the position statement. The final product reflects the strong consensus that Rowland Hall is a dynamic, thriving school, committed to academic excellence, recruiting and retaining skilled and passionate teachers, and creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment for all. In their recruitment of candidates, Bob and Jennifer are looking for individuals who possess the characteristics we seek in our next head of school. According to the survey results, these include: strong leadership and communication skills, the ability to inspire and engage all constituents across the community, educational vision, and a knack for team-building. You can find the full position statement here.

We are pleased with our progress thus far and look forward to reviewing candidate materials in the coming weeks. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for the search committee, we invite you to reach out via email at headofschoolsearch@rowlandhall.org.

Warmly,
Katie Lieberman and Laura Snow Prosper
Co-chairs, Head of School Search Committee

Recruitment Process Underway—December 2018

The search for our next head of school is off to a great start. Our consultants from Carney, Sandoe & Associates, Jennifer Christensen and Bob Fricker, appreciated the opportunity to meet and talk with over 100 people during their campus visit in November. Thank you to all who took the time to meet with them. Bob and Jennifer were impressed with the warmth and dedication of our school community and, like us, are excited for Rowland Hall's future.

The position statement is under development and will be shared when it is finalized—most likely in early January 2019. In the meantime, any interested candidates should send the following materials to Bob Fricker and Jennifer Christensen. Please do not contact the school directly.

  • A cover letter expressing their interest in this particular position;
  • A current résumé;
  • A one-page statement of educational or leadership philosophy and practice;
  • A list of five professional references with name, phone number, and email address of each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission).

General questions or comments about the search process can be sent to headofschoolsearch@rowlandhall.org.

Warmly,
Katie Lieberman and Laura Snow Prosper
Co-chairs, Head of School Search Committee

Announcement of Search Committee and Consultants—November 2018

Dear Members of the Rowland Hall Community,

I hope the first few months of school have been joyful and productive for you and your families. Since Alan Sparrow announced his retirement at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, fellow board members and I have been busy setting the stage for a successful head of school search process. Today, I am excited to share some important updates with you.

First, we have retained the leading national recruitment firm of Carney, Sandoe & Associates to guide Rowland Hall through the search process. The principal consultants working with us are Bob Fricker and Jennifer Christensen, who together bring a wealth of experience leading executive searches and a strong network of connections throughout independent schools. We've been impressed with their enthusiasm and understanding of our school culture and community, and they are eager to partner with us. Bob and Jennifer will be visiting campus November 13-15 to meet with many members of our community and gain a broader perspective of our needs and wishes for the next head of school. Keep an eye on your inbox for additional information about opportunities to meet with Bob and Jennifer, along with a community-wide survey that will be sent by the end of this month.

Second, I am delighted to announce we have formed our search committee, to be co-chaired by two outstanding board members: Katie Lieberman and Laura Snow Prosper. An active leader in the nonprofit community, Katie runs a private psychotherapy practice and is the mother of three daughters—two of whom attend Rowland Hall. Laura, who also has a daughter at our school, is a former McCarthey Home and School co-president, and is a senior administrator at the University of Utah, where she has worked for nearly three decades.

Katie, Laura, and I are honored to serve alongside the following committee members who represent the Rowland Hall faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees:

John Bird, Board member
Isabelle Buhler, 4PreK lead teacher
Jij de Jesus, Lower School Principal
Mary Lawlor, sixth-grade English teacher
Rob Mellor, Upper School art teacher
Lisa Miranda, Associate Director of Admission
Saba Siddiqui, Board member
Christopher Von Maack, alumnus and Board member

The search committee is responsible for ensuring a thorough process, vetting potential candidates, and making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for the final hiring decision. Please be assured that we are committed to an inclusive process. We welcome your thoughts, questions, and suggestions throughout the year. As our timeline and other search-related details evolve, we invite you to visit rowlandhall.org/headsearch to find contact information and updates on our progress.

Rowland Hall is an extraordinary school and this is an exciting time in its history. On behalf of our Head of School Search Committee, we look forward to collaborating with you on this endeavor. Thank you being part of our school community.

Warmly,

Jennifer Price-Wallin signature

Jennifer Price-Wallin
Chair, Board of Trustees


Questions or comments? Contact us at headofschoolsearch@rowlandhall.org.

Head of School Alan Sparrow Announces Retirement—October 2018

Head of School Alan Sparrow Announces Retirement

Dear Members of the Rowland Hall Community,

After 26 years of being privileged to lead this wonderful school, I've decided it's time to retire. Next year, the 2019-2020 school year, will be my last as head of school at Rowland Hall. I look forward to spending more time with my family and developing my skills as an executive coach.

In some ways this is the hardest decision I have made, since coming to school every day has been a joy for 26 years and still is. On the other hand, I feel I've done my best to help the school grow and improve, and it feels like the right time to start the next chapter of my life. The school has an outstanding faculty and staff. The Board of Trustees couldn't be stronger or more visionary. It is an excellent time to make the transition.

In 1990, I was looking for an opportunity to lead a school I would want my own children to attend. I was seeking a community where they would be nurtured and challenged and where they would thrive both personally and academically. I found that school in Salt Lake City and was fortunate enough to be offered the position of head of school at Rowland Hall starting on July 1, 1992.

At that time, the titles of headmaster and headmistress were used as much or more than the title head of school. When I was asked what I wanted on my nameplate, I said I wanted the title head learner. For the past 26 years I feel that's been my most important role.

This position has been a dream job for me. I work with people every day who want to learn, grow, and become the best they can be. I feel I've been the conductor of an outstanding orchestra that has improved every year I've been here. And though the conductor is necessary to coordinate the efforts of the musicians, they are the ones that make the beautiful music. I have been so fortunate to have an incredibly talented group of ”musicians” to work with over the years.

It is a privilege to be a member of this nurturing community where there is a commitment to helping each child reach their potential. I thank all of the faculty, staff, and board members who have made this journey so rewarding. I also want to let all the students and parents who have been a part of my life over the past 26 years know how much I appreciate their commitment to being positive, contributing members of this community.

Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank my wife, Nancy. As a fellow educator and my partner, she has been my most important advisor and supporter. Whatever success I've had here has only been possible because of her commitment to helping me do the best I could for the school.

I look forward to working with all of you over the next two years to continue to strive for excellence at Rowland Hall and to make the transition to a new head of school successful.

Sincerely,

Alan Sparrow signature

Alan Sparrow
Head of School


A Message from the Board Chair

Dear Rowland Hall Families and Friends,

When Alan informed the Board of Trustees of his decision to retire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, my reaction was one of both excitement for him and sadness at losing our longtime head of school. I knew this day would come, but I was not looking forward to it.

I am so grateful to Alan for the dedication and enthusiasm he has brought to our community for nearly three decades, and I feel fortunate to have worked alongside him during my time as Board Chair. He has made Rowland Hall a joyful place to learn and grow, creating a culture where both adults and children feel known, nurtured, and inspired to be their best selves.

Under Alan’s leadership, school enrollment grew steadily throughout the 1990s and 2000s, holding steady today at nearly 950 students. As enrollment grew, Alan prioritized greater equity and inclusion, and today 25 percent of our student body identifies as people of color. Alan challenged every person at Rowland Hall to follow his model as head learner and subsequently doubled our spending on faculty and staff professional development. He oversaw the renovation and construction of multiple campus facilities, including the opening of the McCarthey Campus in 2002 and the Steiner Athletic Fields in 2014, and did so while keeping the school debt-free and growing our endowment. Bravo, Alan, on a job well done.

Alan has created a strong foundation for Rowland Hall, positioning the school exceptionally well for its next chapter. I look forward to continuing to work with him for the next 18 months, as we make a smooth transition to our next leader—and I also look forward to celebrating Alan’s accomplishments and thanking him and his wife Nancy for their exceptional service to our school.

The head of school position at Rowland Hall will be an exciting opportunity for talented educators within the independent school community, and the Board of Trustees is confident that we will attract a pool of top candidates. We are in the process of forming a search committee and researching consultants to help lead us through the recruitment process. You can expect to hear more details, and a projected timeline for our search, in the coming weeks.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Price-Wallin signature

Jennifer Price-Wallin
Chair, Board of Trustees

Contact US

If you have general questions or comments about the search process, email us here.

Head of School Position Statement (PDF)

Rowland Hall Head of School Position Statement

You Belong at Rowland Hall