Head of School Search

Saint Mary's Hall - San Antonio, Texas

Saint Mary's Hall (SMH) is seeking a dynamic and energetic educational leader who will bring wisdom, vision, and the highest ethical standards to the task of guiding SMH to continued and even greater levels of excellence.

The school is guided by its mission to prepare our students for success in college and fulfillment in life, and its core values of courage, integrity, respect, responsibility, spirituality, tolerance, and tradition. The next Head of School will be an individual committed to leading the institution in concurrence with these high standards.

In addition, the school requires an administrator who can effectively lead a complex school, staffed by talented faculty and staff, and a deeply invested and supportive parent body. The school community will welcome an engaging leader who demonstrates respect for SMH’s traditions, while also providing a vision for future leadership and a genuine interest in the entire school family.

Updates from the Search Committee

Letter from the Search Committee - November 5, 2019

Dear Saint Mary's Hall Community,

The head of school search committee would like to provide you with an update on the work we completed in October.

Community Survey

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to the community survey a few weeks ago. We were fortunate to receive more than 400 responses to the survey, which demonstrates the commitment we all have toward our school and finding the right person to lead us into the future. This important feedback will be used to guide and inform the search committee about what you value in our school, what you hope to see in a new head of school, and the priorities you believe are important as we move forward. To view a summary of some of the results, click here.  This will give you an idea of what parents, faculty, administration, and alumni have shared. A separate survey for our Upper School students will soon be distributed, and we will share those results as well.

Parent Meetings

In mid-October, we had a productive school-wide parent meeting where we were able to explain the search process in detail and the meaningful role we encourage every parent to play in the process. We also had the opportunity to hear which qualities you would like to see in our next head of school and which priorities matter the most to you as we look to the future as a school community.

In addition, many parents have reached out individually to share their thoughts. A member of the search committee has met personally with every parent who has expressed interest in helping us with our work. We appreciate the input and welcome your continued feedback.

Faculty Meetings

Also in mid-October, we had the opportunity to explain the search process to the entire faculty and staff and to solicit their feedback. The faculty and staff shared their sentiments about what they hope for in our next head of school, what they see as our challenges, and what the Board of Trustees and head of school can do to best support them in the critical work they do for our students.

We have also met individually with members of the faculty and staff, and we are grateful for the time and commitment they have dedicated to offering their input. Through these individual meetings, we have been able to gain an even deeper understanding of how we can all work to best serve our community and about how we can empower our next head of school.

Administration Meetings

Over the past month, the search committee has engaged in substantive dialogue with the heads and assistant heads of the Lower, Middle, and Upper School to ensure their expert opinions about our direction moving forward are represented and incorporated into our search process. By the end of next week, we will have met with the Directors of Wellness, Athletics, Fine Arts, Admissions, College Counseling, Business Office, and Community Engagement so that we can be guided, as well, by their thoughts and ideas.

Search Consultant Efforts

Our search consultants, Rhonda Durham and Bob Windham, have been hard at work on the initial screening process of potential candidates. Through Carney Sandoe & Associates, the Saint Mary’s Hall Head of School position description has been distributed across the nation to thousands of potential candidates and other independent school professionals. The position description was prepared by the search committee with the assistance of Carney Sandoe, and we thank the search committee members who worked diligently on it for the benefit of our community. We encourage you to review the position description and forward it to anyone you know who may be a strong potential candidate for the position.

Additionally, Rhonda and Bob have been leveraging their relationships with professionals across the nation to strategically contact those who may be excellent candidates for our search.

We have received numerous inquiries thus far from strong candidates from Texas and across the United States about the position. The search committee is pleased and encouraged these initial contacts include a diverse group of potential candidates encompassing a broad spectrum of gender, age, ethnicity, and culture.

Next Steps in the Search Process

The search committee is currently reviewing materials from interested applicants who we feel could potentially join our Saint Mary’s Hall family. Our next steps will be to narrow the pool of interested candidates to identify semifinalist candidates and to then conduct in-person interviews with those semifinalist candidates in the coming weeks and into early December.

We will then narrow the field to finalists, at which time the whole community is invited and encouraged to participate and meet each finalist candidate. It is our collective sentiment that we are wiser together and that we want to reap the benefit of as much input as possible from every constituent group in our Saint Mary’s Hall family.

Although some details are still being finalized, each finalist will spend two days at Saint Mary’s Hall meeting with a broad range of members of our school community. Specifically, each finalist will have one-on-one interviews with the following:

  • Head of School Search Committee
  • Board of Trustees (including former Board Chairs and Emeritus Trustees)
  • Current Head of School
  • Academic Department Chairs
  • Lower, Middle, and Upper School Division Heads and Assistant Heads
  • Directors of Admissions, Athletics, College Counseling, Community Engagement, Finance, Fine Arts, Wellness, and Chaplain. 

Next, the finalist candidates will meet for formal interviews with separate faculty and staff, parent, and Upper School student leadership focus groups of 6-8 members each.

Last, the finalists will engage in a large-group session open to all faculty and staff and another session open to all parents. In both of these sessions, the candidates will make opening remarks and then take questions from the community. Thus, every interested person will have an opportunity to hear from and to engage directly with each finalist.

After each contact opportunity, every member of our community who participates in any portion of a finalist's visit will be encouraged to complete a feedback survey administered by Carney Sandoe. This important component of each finalist's evaluation will provide the search committee with specific individual feedback about your impressions of each of the finalist candidates. 

Ways to Stay Engaged

We hope you have had an opportunity to visit the head of school search web page. This web page allows the search committee to keep the community up-to-date about our process and progress, and it is regularly updated with all communications, materials, and information about the search process. 

If you are interested in being considered for a parent focus group, please submit your name, division affiliation (Lower, Middle, and Upper School), and any particular areas of interest (for example, fine arts, athletics, or wellness) to our search committee at headofschoolsearch@smhall.org. We will strive to ensure that the parent participants represent a broad range of constituencies and will speak to the goals, concerns, and priorities for the new head of school as conveyed by parents to the search committee.

We continue to encourage all members of the community to submit comments, questions or feedback any time to headofschoolsearch@smhall.org.

Guided by the meaningful feedback we have received from our community, and determined to build on Jonathan Eades’ strong foundation, we are committed to engaging a new head of school who will take us to even greater heights by humbly listening, by strongly communicating, and meaningfully inspiring parents, faculty, staff, administration, and students.

Very truly yours,

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Ricardo Reyna
Chair, Head of School Search Committee

Head of School Position Description - October 24, 2019

Letter from the Search Committee - October 11, 2019

Dear Saint Mary’s Hall School Community,

The Saint Mary's Hall Board of Trustees has appointed a committee to lead the search for Jonathan Eades’ successor as head of school of Saint Mary’s Hall.

The search committee will consist of the following members:

  • Ricardo Reyna - Search Committee Chair & Board of Trustees Vice Chair
  • Vicky Bates - Chief Financial Officer
  • Carla Alvarez Brozovich '01 - Board of Trustees Assistant Secretary & Community Engagement Chair 
  • A.B. Cruz III - Board of Trustees Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair
  • Sam Hamilton - Dean of Academics & Head of Middle School
  • Kathleen LeFlore - Board of Trustees Immediate Past Chair
  • Connie McCombs McNab - Board of Trustees Emerita
  • Benjamin Tubb - Board of Trustees Member
  • Curtis T. Vaughan III - Board of Trustees Chair
  • Karen Lee Zachry - Board of Trustees Assistant Treasurer
  • Allison Zeller - Board of Trustees Member

We are committed to creating a process that will be as inclusive as possible, and we will provide opportunities for our entire community to meaningfully participate.

The board of trustees has retained the nationally recognized search firm of Carney Sandoe & Associates to assist us. The firm has particular expertise in senior level appointments at independent schools. Carney Sandoe & Associates has placed numerous members of our administration and faculty over the years, including Bob Windham and Jonathan Eades. We encourage you to visit their web site at www.carneysandoe.com to get a better sense of their expertise, professionalism, and successful placements.

The Carney Sandoe & Associates search consultants assigned to our search will be Bob Windham and Rhonda Durham. Bob is our head of school emeritus, head of school at Saint Mary's Hall from 2005 - 2010, and president from 2011-2015. Few people know our school better than he, and his knowledge of the school will be invaluable to us. Rhonda spent 15 years as the executive director of the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), our accrediting association. Her knowledge of all ISAS schools and her extensive work with the National Association of Independent Schools has given her unparalleled access to leaders at independent schools.  

Search Process

In the coming days, Bob will meet with the faculty, administration, parents, alumni, and board of trustees to open the dialogue on the search process and, more importantly, to listen to your input regarding the characteristics and skills we are seeking in our next head of school. We very much want your attendance and thoughts about what matters most to you. The schedule below lists dates for the first constituent group sessions.   

  • PARENT SESSION: Tuesday, October 15 at 8am, Remmert Theater
  • FACULTY/STAFF SESSION: Tuesday, October 15 at 3:45pm, Remmert Theater
  • ALUMNI SESSION: Mid-October, To Be Announced 

Carney Sandoe & Associates will use your input to develop a head of school job description for use in recruiting candidates. This will be distributed to thousands of independent school leaders throughout the country to cast a wide net in identifying potential candidates. In conjunction with this wide-net approach, Bob and Rhonda will utilize their extensive experience with and knowledge of specific regional and national professionals in a more narrow and targeted search for identifying strong candidates.

Search Timeline

Mid-October - Carney Sandoe & Associates will educate us about the search process and solicit input through information sessions and by a survey to the entire Saint Mary's Hall community.  Please see below for a link to complete the survey.

Late October/Early November - The search committee will begin meeting with and screening candidates through initial interviews. This portion of the search is conducted in a confidential setting to encourage qualified candidates to make themselves available for an initial evaluation of their candidacy.

January 2020 - After the initial screening of candidates and completion of semi-finalist interviews, the search committee will select a group of finalists. These finalists and their spouses will each have multi-day visits to the SMH campus. During these campus visits, every constituency of our school will have the opportunity to meet the finalists, ask questions, and submit a feedback survey. 

This valuable input will be shared with the search committee as we make our final recommendation to the board of trustees for approval.  Our goal is to be able to announce our new head of school in January of 2020.

Search Survey

To help the committee begin our work in earnest, we want to get a preliminary understanding of how you feel about our school's strengths and where you think we are most challenged. Please complete this anonymous online survey by Wednesday, October 16. We encourage everyone to participate as this will help us more accurately identify what is important to each of you.

We also want you to know that we welcome your continued input as we move forward in our search.  We will have a dedicated head of school search web page on our school's web site, which will provide our community with updates on our progress. The page is expected to be up late next week. 

There will be additional constituent group sessions, as well as smaller focus group sessions scheduled throughout the process.  Information about these upcoming opportunities will be posted on the head of school search web page.

Throughout our process, it is important to let you know that we very much value your thoughts and questions and look forward to working together.  We are determined to engage a head of school who respects our Saint Mary’s Hall culture and history, believes in our mission, and shares our dedication to providing an outstanding college preparatory education in a culture that fosters wellness and balance.  

The Saint Mary's Hall Board of Trustees and Carney Sandoe & Associates are confident that our school’s academic excellence, quality of our faculty and students, and enthusiasm and support of our community will attract candidates of a stature that will result in hiring an outstanding head of school who will lead our SMH family into a new era. 

For specific inquiries and input on the head of school search process, please feel free to email the search committee at headofschoolsearch@smhall.org.

Sincerely, 

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Ricardo Reyna
Head of School Search Committee Chair

Letter from the Chair of the Board of Trustees - October 1, 2019

Dear Saint Mary’s Hall family,

On behalf of the Board, I write to inform you that our beloved Head of School, Jonathan Eades, was unexpectedly approached by The Kinkaid School of Houston about their Head of School opening, and, after much soul-searching and prayerful consideration, Jonathan has informed the Board that he has accepted the position beginning in July 2020. We respect the decision he has made, applaud his focus on his family, and wish him the best as he begins this next chapter in his professional life.  

Jonathan has given tirelessly of himself to Saint Mary’s Hall for the past 13 years, and his shoes will be difficult to fill. However, because of the mutual respect and close working relationship between Jonathan and the Board, the Board had the opportunity to prepare for the possibility of the need for a search. Thus, the Board will immediately commence a search, toward the goal of selecting a new Head of School by early January. 

In the coming days and weeks, the Board will communicate more expansively about the search process so that the full community will be informed and engaged. Collectively, we can think of no greater responsibility that we have to each of you – our students, our parents, our faculty and staff and our alumni – than to select a distinguished, dynamic Head of School who can fully embrace our fundamental mission to “prepare students for success in college and fulfillment in life.”   

Together, Jonathan and the Board are committed to carrying on the important work of the school throughout the remainder of this year, and to making every effort to ensure a smooth leadership transition for our new Head of School.

Jonathan has been a transformational leader in the life of Saint Mary’s Hall, and will be greatly missed. We will have many opportunities throughout the year to more fully recognize and celebrate the spectrum of his contributions, but it is important to pause here to briefly acknowledge some highlights. During Jonathan’s tenure he helped make our academics among the strongest in the nation, facilitated the leadership development for our students and faculty, and provided a broad variety of avenues where our students can participate in the arts and athletics at the highest levels. Moreover, he promoted our commitment to diversity – racial, ethnic, religious and socio-economic – and raised significant funds in support of that commitment. But, the cornerstone of Jonathan’s legacy will surely be his work to build our sense of community and his recognition of the need to establish a culture of wellness for our students and faculty. Those efforts put in place the foundation that helped him guide us through the devastating losses our community suffered last year, and we pledge to continue this important work.

It will be with a heavy heart that we gather in the spring to celebrate Jonathan and to send the Eades family into their next chapter with our deepest gratitude, with prayers for their family, and with love in our hearts.  However, we know that Jonathan will join us in welcoming a dynamic new leader to the Saint Mary’s Hall community.  Please join the Board and me in thanking Jonathan for his dedicated and faithful service to Saint Mary’s Hall, and for his efforts to create the strong foundation on which our next chapter will be built.

Respectfully,

Curtis Vaughan III, Chair

Saint Mary’s Hall Board of Trustees

Letter from the Current Head of School - October 1, 2019

Dear Saint Mary’s Hall Community,

Elizabeth and I have made the difficult decision for me to accept the offer to become the next Head of School at the Kinkaid School in Houston.  After much prayer and careful deliberation, the opportunity to re-join our family in Houston is very compelling, as is the opportunity to join a school similar to Saint Mary’s Hall in its rich traditions and strong history of excellence.  I am fully aware that this announcement will come as a surprise to our community because everyone knows how deeply and genuinely I love Saint Mary’s Hall.  Our children remember no other school than Saint Mary’s Hall.  The Board of Trustees, my colleagues, and the Saint Mary’s Hall students and their families have truly become my family.  

I understand that this announcement will invoke a wide range of emotions because change can be hard.  Saint Mary’s Hall will continue to thrive because our sustained success and strong family community is a result of all the great people here.  Our Board of Trustees will work diligently to ensure that there is a smooth leadership transition and that our Strategic Plan continues to advance our fine school.  Saint Mary’s Hall can absolutely count on my strong service and commitment through June 30, 2020.

I have given Saint Mary’s Hall my very best for thirteen beautiful years.   Leading Saint Mary’s Hall has been the most tremendous honor and responsibility of my life.  At Saint Mary’s Hall I have experienced a visionary, supportive, and deeply committed Board of Trustees.  I have been beyond fortunate to work with a high-functioning, talented, and experienced Administration team.  For thirteen years I have had the privilege of a front-row seat to the talent, love, and dedication of the extraordinary Saint Mary’s Hall faculty and staff.  I’ve developed meaningful relationships with our alumni and with our grandparent community.  Above all, I have been supremely blessed to be a Saint Mary’s Hall father.  The academic, spiritual, artistic, athletic, and leadership development of our children is something for which I have tremendous gratitude and will never be able to repay Saint Mary’s Hall.

Because of the life-changing relationships that our children, Elizabeth, and I have formed at Saint Mary’s Hall, I promise that this is not goodbye.  We will always be Barons, and the Saint Mary’s Hall community will always hold a precious place in my heart.  I love you all.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Eades

Jonathan Eades
Head of School

FAQs

How will the Saint Mary's Hall community be kept informed about this search?

In addition to direct communications with the Saint Mary's Hall community, ongoing updates from the search committee will be available on this dedicated web page.

How will the search be managed?

The Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting and hiring Saint Mary's Hall's next head of school. To facilitate the search process, the Board of Trustees created a search committee that will recommend a head of school candidate to the full Board of Trustees for vote and approval. A list of the search committee members is listed to the right. 

The Board has retained the nationally recognized search firm of Carney Sandoe & Associates to assist in the search and serve as consultants to the Search Committee throughout this process. Carney Sandoe & Associates has placed numerous members of our administration and faculty, including Bob Windham and Jonathan Eades. We encourage you to visit their web site at www.carneysandoe.com to get a better sense of their expertise, professionalism, and successful placements.

The Carney Sandoe & Associates search consultants assigned to our search will be Bob Windham and Rhonda Durham. Bob is our head of school emeritus, head of school at Saint Mary's Hall from 2005 - 2010, and president from 2011-2015. Few people know our school better than he, and his knowledge of the school will be invaluable to us. Rhonda spent 15 years as the executive director of the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), our accrediting association. Her knowledge of all ISAS schools and her extensive work with the National Association of Independent Schools has given her unparalleled access to leaders at independent schools.  

How will the Saint Mary's Hall community be involved in the process?

The search committee is committed to creating a process that will be transparent, thorough, and as inclusive as possible. To that end, they will provide opportunities for our constituents to meaningfully participate. Parents, students, alumni, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to share their input with the search firm through constituent group sessions, scheduled meetings, online questionnaires, and direct communication with the search committee and Carney Sandoe & Associates.

Additionally, once the finalists have been named, they will each spend several days on campus and every constituency of our school will have the opportunity to meet the finalists, ask questions, and submit a feedback survey. 

What is the role of the interim head of school in the event one is needed?

In the event it is necessary, an interim head of school will continue to lead the school and implement existing strategic priorities until a new head of school is in place.

What is the role of the Board of Trustees?

The Board of Trustees sets and monitors the mission of the school, fiduciary matters, and establishes the policies for the operation of the school. The Board is also responsible for selecting and hiring the next head of school.

To facilitate the search process, the Board created a search committee that will recommend a head of school candidate to the full Board of Trustees for vote and approval.

A list of the search committee members is listed to the right.

What is the estimated timeline?

Mid-October - Carney Sandoe & Associates will educate the community about the search process and solicit input through information sessions and by a survey to the entire Saint Mary's Hall community. 

Late October/Early November - The search committee will begin meeting with and screening candidates through initial interviews. This portion of the search is conducted in a confidential setting to encourage qualified candidates to make themselves available for an initial evaluation of their candidacy.

January 2020 - After the initial screening of candidates and completion of semi-finalist interviews, the search committee will select a group of finalists. These finalists and their spouses will each have multi-day visits to the SMH campus. During these campus visits, every constituency of our school will have the opportunity to meet the finalists, ask questions, and submit a feedback survey. 

This valuable input will be shared with the search committee as they make their final recommendation to the Board of Trustees for approval.  The goal is to be able to announce our new head of school in January of 2020.

Whom do I contact if I have questions or comments?

You may contact Bob Windham or Rhonda Durham from Carney Sandoe & Associates at bwindham@carneysandoe.com and rdurham@carneysandoe.com, respectively. 

In addition, you may contact the search committee at headofschoolsearch@smhall.org.

Search Committee

Ricardo Reyna*
Search Committee Chair & Board of Trustees Vice Chair
Vicky Bates
Chief Financial Officer
Carla Alvarez Brozovich '01*
Board of Trustees Assistant Secretary & Community Engagement Chair 
A.B. Cruz III*
Board of Trustees Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair
Sam Hamilton
Dean of Academics &
Head of Middle School

Kathleen LeFlore
Board of Trustees Immediate
Past Chair

Connie McCombs McNab
Board of Trustees Emerita
Benjamin Tubb*
Board of Trustees Member
Curtis T. Vaughan III
Board of Trustees Chair
Karen Lee Zachry*
Board of Trustees Assistant Treasurer
Allison Zeller*
Board of Trustees Member

* Current SMH Parent

Our Search Firm

Carney Sandoe & Associates

Bob Windham
bwindham@carneysandoe.com

Rhonda Durham
rdurham@carneysandoe.com

Additional Questions?

Please contact search committee Chair Ricardo Reyna at  headofschoolsearch@smhall.org.