We applaud trustees’ commitment to their institutions and their willingness to give their time and talents to one of the most important endeavors a school undertakes—that of choosing the right leader for a particular moment in a school’s history. Trustees will face difficult choices along the way, but with the help and support of Wickenden Associates, our clients find leaders who not only demonstrate the values of their schools, but who are also prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Here’s what our clients can expect:

  • A thorough and candid analysis of the school’s strengths and challenges.
  • A broad-based recruitment effort carefully tailored to each school’s unique leadership requirements, resulting in a diverse and talented pool of candidates.
  • A multidimensional evaluation of candidates’ credentials, experience, and leadership qualities.
  • An inclusive search process that appropriately engages the school community and sets the stage for the new leader’s successful entry.
  • A well-informed, well-prepared search committee—extensively supported by us and well equipped to make sound decisions in the school’s best interests at every stage of the search.
  • The appointment and transition of a new leader extraordinarily well positioned for success.

Wickenden Associates conducts Head of School searches for independent schools of all types and sizes. The detailed, yet flexible, roadmap we offer our clients is based on years of experience. Schools vary widely in their values, resources, circumstances, and missions. We embrace this diversity and enjoy the challenge of determining how best to serve each client.

Head Search Process Model:

Wickenden Associates develops a relationship with the search committee and establishes confidence in the search process. We convene on-campus meetings, conduct interviews with key constituents, and disseminate community surveys. Based on our discovery, we craft a comprehensive job prospectus outlining the school’s opportunities and challenges and defining the qualities sought in the new leader.

Wickenden Associates sources a diverse talent pool, encourages promising candidates to apply, and assesses their preparedness and potential for the job through multiple lenses. We present the search committee with a comprehensive set of candidate credentials and at-a-glance summaries. We provide on-site support and guidance during the review of candidate credentials and selection of interviewees.

Wickenden Associates coordinates all aspects of the interviews with a select group of semifinalist candidates and coaches committees, so they can make the most of these interviews. We conduct extensive interviews with multiple references for each finalist, help schools design in-depth campus visits to assess finalist candidates’ fit, and collect and analyze community feedback on each finalist.

Wickenden Associates plays a strong supporting role as a search committee navigates the final steps—securing the formal support of the Board, negotiating a contract, and announcing the new appointment. We help ensure the success of the new Head by providing a detailed transition guide and are on call to address any questions or concerns. We also offer to return to the school during the Head’s first year to assess his/her entry into the community.