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Head of Schools Search


Sacred Heart Schools is well-positioned as a school leader within the Sacred Heart Network and the city of Chicago. On October 30, 2019, Nat Wilburn, Head of Schools, announced his plans to transition from his role on June 30, 2021. Mr. Wilburn’s passion for Sacred Heart education propelled his many accomplishments as Head of Schools. Under his leadership, Sheridan Road has experienced substantial growth, progress, and financial strength, leaving the Schools poised for a dynamic new leader committed to the mission of Sacred Heart education to assume the Head of Schools position in July 2021.

The Board of Trustees appointed a Search Committee comprised of Board members to lead the search for the next Head of Schools. Subsequent updates on the Head of Schools search will be posted here and will be sent as warranted via email to the Sacred Heart community from Mr. Dan Bayston, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Please contact the Search Committee at searchfeedback@shschicago.org with questions or to offer input on the Head of Schools search.
 

Prospective Candidates

To learn more about the position of Head of Schools at Sacred Heart Schools – Sheridan Road, please access the job description.

To apply:
For consideration as Head of Schools, please submit a cover letter, resume, three written references, and the answers to the Head Questionnaire to search@shschicago.org. The submission deadline is midnight on December 1, 2019.
 

Head Questionnaire

Answer the following questions based upon your knowledge of Sacred Heart Schools, concluding each of your responses by making a connection to a specific opportunity or challenge you have identified with regard to Sacred Heart Schools.

1.  Describe a meaningful institutional change for which you had primary responsibility and indicate how you went about affecting, as well as communicating, that change. What have been the outcomes of that change?

2.  What do you see as the greatest threats to financial sustainability in independent schools? How would you propose to respond to those threats?

3.  What experience and responsibility have you had in the preparation and implementation of operating and capital budgets?

4.  To what extent have you been involved in fundraising? Do you feel comfortable asking people for money? Overall, what do you see as the nature of the Head’s role in fundraising?

5.  How have you managed one or two particular crises or other stressful problems in your school?

Search Committee and Process

A Search Committee has been appointed by the Board of Trustees to spearhead the efforts to recruit and interview candidates for the Head of Schools position. The Search Committee includes the following Trustees: 

  • Patrick Collins (H’16, A’18, H5, A8), Chair of the Search Committee
  • Aric Cleland (H’11, H’13, H’17), Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees
  • Rahul Danak (H’17, A’19, H6)
  • Christy Gerst (A2, A6)
  • Meggan Needham (A’18, H5, A8)
  • Sr. Sue Rogers, RSCJ

The Search Committee has created a thorough search process following the best practices recommended by the National Association of Independent Schools.

The Search Committee began its work reviewing the most recent data on the strategic and operational future of Sacred Heart Schools.  This data included the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) accreditation commendations and recommendations, new Strategic Plan, most recent parent survey, and qualitative and quantitative research conducted in 2018 by a consulting firm with prospective families, current families, alumni, feeder preschools and high schools. The Search Committee’s review of this data has guided each stage of its work. This data and input from Nat Wilburn regarding strategic and operational lessons learned from his tenure as Head of Schools and Chair of both the Network of Sacred Heart Schools and ISACS Boards of Trustees informed the position description that includes both essential operational functions as well as key expectations for Sheridan Road’s next Head. 
 

The Advisory Council

The Search Committee, in conjunction with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, is in the process of forming an Advisory Council to aid in the Head of Schools search. The role of the Advisory Council is to ensure the Search Committee hears feedback from all of Sacred Heart’s key constituents. Expected Advisory Council members include the SHS Leadership Team, faculty, staff, alumnae/i, parents and past Board members. Those named to the Advisory Council will be announced once established.
 

The Search Process

The Head of Schools job description was shared broadly on October 30, 2019 within the Network and the independent school community. Applications for the Head of Schools may be submitted until midnight on December 1, 2019.

All application materials will be evaluated by the Search Committee based on the position description and best practices in equal employment opportunity. The Committee will prioritize candidates currently within the Network of Sacred Heart Education or with past or related experience to the mission of Sacred Heart. Candidates will proceed through a confidential search phase with interviews conducted by the Search Committee, and finalist candidates will be invited to a more public campus visit to meet with the Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees. If the Search Committee recommends a more extensive, nationwide search after evaluating its candidate pool, a search firm may be engaged. The search process will be conducted according to the best practices for Head of School searches as outlined by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Timeline

December 2019

  • Application deadline (midnight, December 1)
  • Search Committee evaluates all submissions and narrows interview pool
     

January/February 2020

  • Search Committee will conduct in-person interviews with select candidates and determine semifinal candidates
  • Semifinal candidates will proceed through a confidential phased interview process with the finalists advancing to the public phase, which includes meeting with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, the Board of Trustees and Advisory Council. An opportunity for the community to meet finalist candidates will be offered.
     

March 2020

  • After a thorough evaluation and background check, the Search Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Board will vote on the new Head of Schools at the March 2020 Board meeting. Shortly after Board approval and negotiations are complete, an announcement will be made to the Sacred Heart community.
     

July 1, 2021

  • New Head of Schools begins

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