Head of School Search

The following is excerpted from a message sent to the SSFS community on April 22 from Hamid Faruqee, Clerk of the Search Committee and Assistant Clerk of the Sandy Spring Friends School Board of Trustees

Dear Friends,

After Tom notified us that he will retire following the 2019-20 school year, the SSFS Board of Trustees created a Search Committee to begin a year-long process to find the next Head of School—one who would build on Tom's tradition of excellence and successfully lead our special school in fulfilling its mission. It will be the responsibility of the Search Committee to find and recommend such a person to the Board for consideration and approval. 

As Kip mentioned in his April 4 email to the SSFS community, we decided to retain Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates (SPA), a highly reputable national search firm, to help us throughout this process. After reviewing several firms, we chose SPA because of their extensive networks and experience, including familiarity with Quaker schools, and their strong commitment to diversity. Sherry Coleman and her team bring great energy, enthusiasm, and thoughtfulness to their work. 

  • Want to contact Storbeck/Pimentel directly with questions or suggestions about the search process for a new SSFS Head of School? Please email SSFSHeadofSchool@storbecksearch.com.

Finally, let me say that the last key ingredient in our search process is you—our SSFS community, including our alumni from around the world. There are many ways to get involved, and we need to hear from you!

  • Online survey. A community-wide online survey was sent out on May 13, 2019, to draw upon your feedback to develop the Head of School prospectus, made available to potential candidates, including leaders from independent schools and other fields who can offer nominations. The online survey will also be available throughout the search process to continue to solicit your thoughts about the important characteristics you hope to see in a new Head of School.
  • Search Advisory Group. The search advisory group will have an opportunity to present its thoughts on SSFS leadership needs and prospective candidates directly to the Search Committee, including meeting with finalists that we bring on campus near the end of the process. Please feel free to contact Mary Lawson, Julie Mendez, or other members of the Search Advisory Group for more information, or to provide your feedback about the search process and/or potential candidates. 

Search timeline:

  • From May through summer 2019, we will be working with SPA to build a highly-qualified, diverse pool of candidates. Here, the Search Committee would welcome receiving your ideas for the next Head, including non-traditional candidates that we should consider. You can submit your suggestions directly to our designated inbox (please email ssfsheadofschool@storbecksearch.com).
  • From summer into the fall of 2019, we will work to narrow the pool, through screening and off-site interviews, down to a set of finalists that we would bring onto campus to meet with different members of the school community. Until these later stages, please note that we will need to firmly respect confidentiality to avoid closing the door for some candidates.
  • At the finish line, we expect the Board to reach its decision and make an announcement of the next Head of School this winter

Throughout the search, I shall provide you with occasional updates on where we are in the process—so please stay tuned! In return, I hope you will share your thoughts with me or other committee members along the way when you feel moved to do so. As a community, let us look forward to a new chapter for SSFS, one that reaches for new heights, and let us work together to make it so.


Hamid Faruqee
Clerk, Search Committee
Assistant Clerk, Sandy Spring Friends School Board of Trustees