Occasionally, members of the Elisabeth Morrow School's administration will share their thoughts with you in this space. Today's guest column is from Dr. Maureen Fonseca, our incoming Head of School.
One of the most important duties of any Head of School is assembling the right team to collaborate to best advance the mission of the school. The individuals need to have deep expertise in their area, and they must understand and enjoy working with families. As a person who has hired, supervised and mentored hundreds of educators in my career, I know how important it is to have “the right people on the bus” in the words of Good to Great author Jim Collins.
I have been intimately involved in hiring here at EMS. Even this Spring Break, when I was in Sweden to help plan my son’s wedding, I was reviewing resumes because part of hiring the right people is not letting the good ones get away. Working closely with Judy, as well as members of the leadership team, trustees and other constituents, we have already hired two experienced new division heads, Lauren Mactas and Phil Cox, who are thrilled to be joining the EMS community; and we will have other administrators soon joining them.
For the newly established position of Director of Counseling and Wellness Programs, we wanted someone who will work with teachers and develop a cohesive, well-coordinated curriculum that draws from the good work already being done in mindfulness, social and emotional learning, advisories and physical education throughout the school. We brought three well qualified and interesting candidates to campus to meet with multiple stakeholder groups and have hired Ava Diamond, a highly regarded psychotherapist, educator and mental and physical fitness coach, who has worked in hospitals, in a group practice and now runs her own international consulting practice. Ava is eager to join EMS and build on the practices already in place across the grades.
I am in the process of meeting the finalists for the position of Director of Marketing and Communications. All have excellent experience in this role in independent schools and nonprofits and have met with relevant constituents. We expect to announce this new team member soon.
Last Friday, three experienced candidates for the position of Chief Financial Officer visited campus and met with me as well as with seven different groups, including trustees, as well as our Director of Facilities and Maintenance, Jim Ruff, who provided a thorough tour of campus.
Judy and I are also having preliminary meetings with candidates for the newly created position of Senior Director of Institutional Advancement who will oversee the development and advancement functions of the school. Four qualified candidates have either visited campus or will be visiting soon. Two finalists will be invited to return for meetings with a broad array of constituents.
While it may seem as though there has been a lot of administrative hiring this season, this is the natural course of life in a school. People retire, their families relocate, or they are offered other compelling opportunities. And of course, schools add administrators, as we are doing in counseling and wellness and institutional advancement, because that is required to meet the goals of our strategic plan and to do what is best for our students. What is important is knitting these new leaders together into a cohesive whole, and that is a part of the role of a Head that I eagerly embrace. Next year, you can expect an ever-evolving EMS to feel as it has always felt to you and your children. While there may be some new faces we will all share the same goal of creating curious scholars, ethical leaders and global citizens, while holding onto the special ethos of our wonderful school.