About Us

Head of School Search

The search for the next head of St. Bernard's is underway.  The purpose of this webpage is to engage and inform the St. B's community, including Old Boys and parents.  As the search progresses throughout the coming months, the site will also centralize communications from the Search Committee.

The Search Committee has engaged Spencer Stuart, an executive search firm, to assist in identifying candidates and managing the search process.  The search committee is eager for community input, and your thoughts will help us develop a compelling description of our next head of school.  Please send your much-valued feedback to our search committee inbox, search@stbernards.org or if you wish to contact the Spencer Stuart team directly, they can be reached at StBernardsHead@spencerstuart.com.  

The school’s motto, Perge Sed Caute, reminds us to go forward, but with great care, into this next chapter of the school’s history.  Our community will move into the future with optimistic determination, thoughtfully and without sacrificing any of the traditions that make St. Bernard’s the eccentric and wonderful place it has been since 1904. 

SEARCH COMMITTEE MEMBERS

AJ Houston '03, Co-Chair
Thomas L. Kempner, Jr. '67, P '97, P '01, GP '28, Past President of the Board of Trustees, Co-Chair

Oliver Bowcock, Head of Upper School
Christopher BradyGrade V Teacher, Professional Development
John S. Brodie ’79, Former Co-President of the Old Boys Council (2014-2020)
Erin Drouin P ’23Former President of the Parents Association (2019-2020)
Andrea DuBois P ’22, ’28Co-Chair of The Community Gathering Committee
Andrew HagonHead of Junior School
Eugenie Goodman P ’24Parents Association Nominating Committee Member
Kitty Gordan P ’92Former Associate Head of The Nightingale-Bamford School
Jennifer Rich P ’26Co-Chair of the Parents Association Annual Benefit
Andrew Solomon P ’23Author, Activist, and Parent
Antonio Weiss ’80, P ’12, P ’16, P ’18Old Boy, Past Parent, Former Trustee

SEARCH COMMITTEE LETTERS

List of 5 items.

  • Opportunity Statement - November 18, 2020


    November 18, 2020

    Dear Members of the St. Bernard's Community,
     
    We wanted to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to all of you who participated in the video conversations with Spencer Stuart and to the more than 340 of you who shared your perspectives on our online community survey.  These past few weeks have yet again reminded us how extraordinary our community is.  

    Since early October, we have held listening sessions with faculty, administrators, staff, Old Boys, and parents to hear your advice on the attributes, characteristics, and experiences you would most value in the next Head of School. Equally, if not more important, we have heard what you value most about our school, our culture, and what truly makes it so distinctive. 

    All of this input was instrumental in developing the Opportunity Statement for the Head of School search.  We hope you see the St. Bernard’s you love and treasure reflected in this important document.  

    This is an extraordinary school and we are seeking an extraordinary leader. We are grateful to those who were able to participate and continue to look forward to hearing from all of you as we continue this process. We welcome your comments, feedback, and nominations at StBernardsHead@SpencerStuart.com.

    We again thank our search committee colleagues for their continued hard work and we wish everyone in the community a safe, healthy, and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

    Sincerely, 

    AJ Houston ’03 and Tom Kempner ’67
    Search Committee Co-Chairs
  • Gathering Community Input - October 20, 2020


    October 20, 2020

    Dear Parents, Faculty, Old Boys, and Friends,

    We have reached an important phase in our Head of School search—listening to feedback from all of you.  Last week, Spencer Stuart began holding Zoom listening sessions with members of the St. Bernard’s community.  This will continue through the end of October. Each conversation will cover the following four questions:
    • What is most distinctive about St. Bernard’s?  What do you most value about the School?
    • What are the opportunities and challenges facing the next Head of School of St. Bernard's?
    • What experiences, background, characteristics, and attributes would you encourage the Search Committee to seek in the next Head of School?
    • What advice do you have for the Search Committee?
    In addition to the virtual sessions, we are sharing below a link to an online survey to collect further input and thoughts that will inform the work of the search committee and help develop a position specification.  We encourage everyone to participate and to complete the survey by Friday, October 30, at 6:00 p.m.

    Head of School Search Community Survey 

    Best,

    AJ and Tom
  • Spencer Stuart Announcement - October 1, 2020


    October 1, 2020


    Dear Parents, Faculty, Old Boys, and Friends,
     
    We are pleased to update you on the recent progress of the Head of School Search Committee. 
     
    Our committee’s first order of business was to select a search firm.  After extensive research, we selected Spencer Stuart, a nationally recognized firm that has completed Head of School searches for Chapin, Fieldston, Browning, Phillips Academy (Andover), and Hopkins School in New Haven amongst a host of others.  The two aspects we found most appealing were: (1) The firm has deep experience in finding successors to long-serving heads, searching broadly and creatively for top talent and (2) they offered an experienced team, including two prominent leaders in the field to undertake this crucial process with us.  Mary Gorman, Michele Haertel, and Tiffany Pollack, all members of the firm’s Education & Nonprofit Practice, will serve as our team.  Mary and Michele have built the firm’s independent school practice, and Michele leads Spencer Stuart’s Education & Nonprofit Practice.  Tiffany has been a key partner in independent school work since joining the firm.  Tom also has close, prior experience with Michele having worked with her on a successful search for the President of the Central Park Conservancy. 

    We intend to identify and attract the best person to lead our school over the next decade or decades.  We have set a goal of introducing him or her to our community before the summer of 2021.  We note this timing could shift given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  We recognize that the person we choose may be unable to begin at St. Bernard’s until the fall of 2022 – either because of notice provisions attached to his or her current job or because of a moral commitment to seeing his or her institution through these unsettling times.  We have prioritized attracting the best person over the timing of that person’s arrival.  In this instance, Mr. Moraitis has graciously agreed to serve a second year in his interim post. 
     
    We intend to communicate in as inclusive and transparent a manner as possible, providing informative periodic updates, while recognizing that we will need to honor requests for confidentiality from candidates.
     
    We will begin the process by asking Spencer Stuart to spend time with members of the St. Bernard’s community, learning what makes our school so distinctive, hearing your ambitions for its future, and understanding what we are seeking in the next head of school.  In the coming weeks, Spencer Stuart will conduct Zoom calls with many in the St. Bernard’s community and will share a survey with all.  Please stay tuned for additional information on these sessions.  We on the search committee are eager for your input, and your thoughts will help us develop a compelling description of our next head of school.  If you wish to contact the Spencer Stuart team directly, they can be reached at StBernardsHead@spencerstuart.com.  Additionally, please feel free to continue sending your much-valued input and thoughts to our search committee inbox, search@stbernards.org.
     
    We conclude by thanking all our committee colleagues for the time and effort they continue to invest in this process.
     
    Best,

    AJ and Tom
  • Introducing the Search Committee - July 17, 2020


    July 17, 2020

    Dear Parents, Faculty, Old Boys and Friends,

    As St. Bernard’s embarks on the quest for a new head of school, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce the members of the Search Committee and share with you how the process will work.  The goal is to conduct an open and transparent search, one in which each of you can play a part.

    The Search Committee begins the process with what one of Mr. Mark Hauser’s budding classicists might call a tabula rasa, a blank slate that we will need your help to complete.  Once a search firm is retained in the next few weeks, it will begin canvassing parents, faculty, and Old Boys about their thoughts on the qualities for an ideal head of school.  This input will help to create the blueprint for the search.  We encourage you to think creatively and expansively. 

    As the search progresses, we plan on being as transparent as possible.  We will share our approach, our goals and our key developments through regular updates on the school website and through e-mails.  Obviously, we will not be able to share the names of candidates.

    At the outset it is important to mention that everyone on the committee treasures St. Bernard’s unique DNA and understands the intellectual grounding the boys derive from a traditional education.  We share a commitment to making sure that the school remains true to its past as it moves forward into the future.  If the events of 2020—be it a shift to remote learning caused by the COVID–19 pandemic or our nation grappling with continued systemic injustice—have taught us anything, it is that a leader of a boys’ school must be able to pick a point on the horizon, resist the crosswinds of academic fads, yet be open-minded enough to take decisive action when the world is changing in historic ways and the boys require new skills and resources to deal with these changes.

    To ensure that all voices are heard, the Search Committee’s members have been selected from all of our major constituencies: faculty, parents, past parents and Old Boys.  Andy Hagon and Oliver Bowcock, the heads of the Junior and Upper School, respectively, will be representing the faculty along with Chris Brady, a favorite teacher in the Middle School.  Together, these gentlemen embody 59 years of classroom experience at 4 East 98th Street.  They understand that when it comes to boys, character, integrity, and kindness are as important as intellectual accomplishment.  They know the importance of teaching boys to prize learning before grades, to take pleasure in helping others, and to do their very best with what they have.

    The committee will also benefit from the academic and administrative wisdom and experience of Bob Miness, the former Head of the Upper School and Secondary School Placement, as well as Kitty Gordan, who is a former parent, the current chair of the school’s Academic Committee and previously the 25 year Associate Head of School at Nightingale-Bamford, where she was a member of the faculty for 44 years.

    The committee will include parents from all three divisions: Junior School, Middle School, and Upper School.  They are Andrea DuBois, the mother of a first and seventh grader and the co-chair of the Parents Association’s Community Gathering Committee, Jennifer Rich, the parent of a third grader and the co-chair of the annual benefit three years running, Eugenie Goodman, the mother of a fifth grader and a member of the Nominating Committee of the Parents Association, and Erin Drouin, the outgoing President of the Parents Association and the mother of a sixth grader.  Rounding out this constituency will be another sixth grade parent, Andrew Solomon, a National Book Award-winning author, and an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, and the arts.  Their insights will be invaluable as they see the strengths of the school on a daily basis.

    In addition to the co-chairs of the committee, the interests of our Old Boys will be looked after by Antonio Weiss ’80, a past parent and former trustee, and John Brodie ’79, who is a former co-president of the Old Boys Council and a former trustee.

    Search Committee co-chair AJ Houston ’03 is a founding member of the Old Boys Diversity Council and serves on the Athletic, Diversity, and Investment Committees of the Board of Trustees.  After St. Bernard’s, he graduated from the Taft School and Dartmouth College where he played varsity football and majored in Classical Studies with a focus on Latin.  He works in Global Equity Trading at the Royal Bank of Canada and to this day credits John Demeny’s Mental Aerobics class with giving him numerous fun facts at his fingertips.  Or as he says, “I still can remember the names of the lions outside of the 42nd Street New York Public Library: Patience and Fortitude.”

    Fellow co-chair Tom Kempner is also an Old Boy, a former parent and a current St. Bernard’s grandparent.  Tom’s experience with the school began in 1959 in Mrs. Ashton’s first grade classroom, which was just to the left of what we today call the Small Gym.  By his own admission, he was “disorganized and unfocused,” and he credits his strong personal relationships with a few faculty members for teaching him intellectual curiosity and a love of learning.  Tom and his two sons believe that St. Bernard’s was the finest education they received in their entire academic careers.  Tom is committed to seeing that his grandson, currently a rising first grader, will concur with this sentiment. 

    Tom would come to serve as a trustee for 19 years, and be the Chairman of the Board from 2001 to 2007 during which time he worked closely with Stuart Johnson, and watched firsthand as Stuart improved the school with each passing year and became an icon in the process.  Outside of St. Bernard’s, Tom has presided over a number of important searches including those for the President of the Harvard Management Company and that for the President of the Central Park Conservancy, on whose board he serves as Chairman.

    We look forward to hearing from you and meeting with many of you—even if only via Zoom.  The next great head of St. Bernard’s may be someone of whom you are already aware, so please don’t hesitate to share your ideas.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    AJ Houston ’03
    Thomas L. Kempner ’67
    Co-chairs of the Search Committee

    Full List of Search Committee Members
    Search for Head of School Webpage
  • Letter from Craig Huff, President of the Board of Trustees - July 8, 2020


    To Members of the St. Bernard’s Community:

    I am writing to give you an update on the primary activities that the Board is focused on this summer.  They are the following: (1) supporting Evan Moraitis and the faculty with school reopening preparations; (2) making substantive progress with respect to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging issues; (3) launching the search for the next Headmaster; and (4) commencing a governance review and board refreshment.

    School Reopening Preperations
    Evan and the faculty/staff (as well as several talented parent volunteers) are working hard to ensure that St. Bernard’s is ready to open in a safe and thoughtful manner this fall.  They are looking forward to having our boys back at 4 East 98th Street.  The Board is supporting their efforts and making sure the various committees (Health/Safety, Academics/Teaching, Technology/Organization, Building, and Schedules) have all of the resources that they need, both from an expertise and financial perspective.  Evan will be communicating specifics about the reopening plan in the coming weeks.

    Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
    Recent tragic events have highlighted the importance of addressing racial inequality and inherent biases, and we have therefore intensified our focus on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.  The Board Diversity Committee, the Old Boys Diversity Council, and the Faculty and Staff Diversity Committee are in dialogue about how St. Bernard’s can make meaningful progress with respect to these important issues.  Specific recommendations will be shared with the Board later this month and communicated to the St. Bernard’s community shortly thereafter.

    Search Process
    The Headmaster search will be inclusive and seek input from the entire St. Bernard’s community.  A separate correspondence will provide details about the search committee and process, but I am very pleased that this committee will be co-chaired by two Old Boys: Tom Kempner ’67 and A.J. Houston ’03.  Tom is a past parent, a current grandparent, and was President of the Board of Trustees until twelve years ago.  A.J. has been a valuable member of the Board since 2012.  He is a member of the Diversity Committee, Investment Committee, chairs the Athletic Committee, and also serves on the Old Boys Diversity Council.  The search committee will reflect a cross-section of Old Boys, faculty, and parents.  The search committee is committed to selecting a Headmaster who fully appreciates how special, distinctive, and rigorous a St. Bernard’s education is, and who also understands its unique character.
     
    Governance Review/Board Refreshment
    As we embark on this important transition, it is also an ideal time to consider our school’s governance.  The Board has committed to undertake a review of the governance procedures and processes reflected in our by-laws, including Board composition (% Old Boys, % parents, etc.) and committee structures.  This review will be conducted by a committee which will include non-trustee parents and Old Boys with governance and legal expertise.  This committee will also utilize the services of a third-party governance expert.  Further details about this process will be provided later this month.  NYSAIS, our accrediting body, will also be reviewing our governance this year as part of our regular 5-year accreditation process.

    In addition, as part of the process of moving forward productively, the Board will be going through a refreshment process.  During the 2020-2021 school year, our intention is to refresh a significant percentage of the Board, including myself and several chairs of committees whose terms end.  The goal is to provide the community and the next Headmaster with a refreshed Board as St. Bernard’s starts its next chapter.

    You will receive further updates on these priorities over the next few weeks as we make progress on them.  Enjoy the rest of your summer - St. Bernard’s looks forward to welcoming you back in the fall.

    Sincerely,

    Craig Huff
    President, Board of Trustees
    St. Bernard’s School
The Search Committee is also eager to hear from our St. Bernard’s community.  To ask a question or recommend a candidate, e-mail search@stbernards.org.