Head of School Search

Search Process

 

The San Diego French-American School Board of Trustees has embarked upon the search for the next Head of School following the announcement of the departure of current Head of School, Mark Rosenblum in June of 2024. 

The Board has engaged Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a top tier search firm with extensive experience in Independent, International and French-American Schools to lead the search for our next Head of School. They will guide us both in the search and in the transition process, ensuring it is seamless for our community.

A search committee was also formed to lead our community through this important process. The members of that committee and our search partner look forward to engaging with and hearing from many of you along the way. Please continue to check back here for updates and new information.

Our Search Team

 

Our Search Partner: Carney Sandoe & Associates

 

We are quite fortunate to have the very talented duo of Deb Welch and Cathy Shelburne from Carney Sandoe & Associates leading us through this process. Deb has vast experience in international independent schools, including having been a Head of School; while Cathy has an equally impressive background, most recently as the Director of Professional Learning with the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) for eight years. 

Our Search Committee

 

Our Search Committee is made up of five trustees:

The committee is headed by Aaron Brennan, a parent at the school for the past 13 years and future Board Chair. He is currently serving as the Treasurer of the Board. If you would like to contact him with suggestions, possible candidates, or questions about the process, please reach out to him at: Treasurer@sdfas.org. 

Our Search Timeline

Communications

Dear SDFAS Community,

The Board of Trustees would like to extend our warmest new year’s wishes and hope that 2022 was a fantastic year for you and your families. We are grateful that our school is vibrant with student learning, campus improvements and community involvement. We are proud that our children continue to flourish.

We are starting the new year with an important announcement. Our Head of School, Mark Rosenblum, will be departing SDFAS at the end of next school year in June of 2024. Please join us in expressing our gratitude to Mark for what will be 7 years of service at our school.

 

Mark is SDFAS’s third Head of School. This was Mark’s first headship, and he demonstrated deep commitment to and passion for our school’s mission and program vision. During his tenure, SDFAS developed a new strategic plan, established an endowment to support financial aid and professional development, navigated Covid and launched a branding update. SDFAS also extended its footprint with the addition of the Ocean View and Montessori campuses. Finally, SDFAS attracted additional top-tier staff and faculty who will continue to provide our students unmatched opportunities to grow, embody the school’s values and become the best versions of themselves. Mark is now ready to pursue the next steps in his global citizenship journey.

As we move forward and continue to take our school to the next level, we have both the responsibility and opportunity to find the next leader of SDFAS. The Board has engaged Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a top tier search firm with extensive experience in Independent, International and French-American Schools to lead the search for a new Head of School. They will guide us both in the search and in the transition process, ensuring it is seamless for our community. We will be communicating information about the search committee and a more specific timeline for our search in the coming months. We envision a robust process with input from faculty, staff and members of our community. 

 

Please join the Board of Trustees in thanking Mark, his wife Stacy and their son Julian (SDFAS alum ‘22) for their contributions to our community. We wish Mark the best in his future career endeavors, and we look forward to the next steps for the San Diego French-American School.

 

Sincerely,

 

Fernanda Coelho

Board Chair, on behalf of the SDFAS Board of Trustees

Dear SDFAS Community,

 

We hope the first weeks of school after the holiday break have been joyful for your families. As promised, we are reaching out to provide you with an update on the Head of School search process and to alert you to some important upcoming events. 

 

We also want to reaffirm our commitment to making this process very inclusive, and to that end, there will be multiple opportunities for parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and students to provide input on the priorities for our School, and ideal qualities for the next Head of School through confidential online surveys and in-person meetings (on campus) conducted by our independent search firm, Carney Sandoe & Associates (CS&A). 

 

The Search Team

We are quite fortunate to have the very talented duo of Deb Welch and Cathy Shelburne leading us through this process. Deb has vast experience in international independent schools, including having been a Head of School; you can see her full bio here. Cathy has an equally impressive background, most recently as the Director of Professional Learning with the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) for eight years; her full bio can be found here

 

Another important part of the process is the formation of a Search Committee. You might be wondering, “You hired a search firm; what does a search committee do?” Quite a lot actually; here’s a partial list:

 

  • Provide feedback on and final approval of the Head of School Position Description
  • Manage logistics relating to CS&A and candidate site visits 
  • Review the application materials of candidates presented by CS&A 
  • Plan, organize, and conduct interviews with candidates starting with initial interviews through finalist interviews
  • Conduct due diligence, reference checks, and background checks 
  • Consolidate stakeholder feedback
  • Make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for their vote on the next Head of School.

 

Our Search Committee is made up of five trustees headed by Aaron Brennan, a parent at the school for the past 13 years (Chase SDFAS ’23 & Olivia SDFAS ’22) and future Board Chair. He is currently serving as the Treasurer of the Board. If you would like to contact him with suggestions, possible candidates, or questions about the process, please reach out to him at: Treasurer@sdfas.org

 

This process will actually move pretty fast. Nothing is set in stone, but we hope to be able to announce a new Head of School before the end of this school year. A picture speaks a thousand words, so the saying goes, so please check out this infographic of our hoped- for timeline. At this link, you will also find our new webpage dedicated to keeping you informed about this process. Here, you will find all updates and past communication about the search.

 

Meetings with Search Consultants

Our team from CS&A, Deb & Cathy, will be visiting SDFAS a week from today, Tuesday, January 24th and Wednesday, January 25th, to meet with faculty, staff, and parents. In those sessions, Deb and Cathy will ask for anonymous input from the community about qualities and characteristics you want in your next school leader.

 

  • For faculty and staff, Deb and Cathy will conduct sessions on Tuesday, January 24th and Wednesday, January 25th in the Auditorium at noon. Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to one of the dates by emailing Stephanie at admin@sdfas.org. Deb and Cathy will also conduct one-on-one sessions with the Senior Leadership Team. 

 

  • For parents, there will be a “Wine & Cheese” session on Tuesday, January 24th at 5:00pm in the Auditorium and a “Coffee and Croissants” session on Wednesday, January 25th between 8:30- 9:15am also in the Auditorium. Please RSVP to one of the dates by emailing Stephanie at admin@sdfas.org. (Please join us even if you did not RSVP. The RSVP just helps us get a general headcount.)

 

Online Survey (closing Jan 26th)

We know that not everyone will be able to attend one of these sessions. CS&A created a short survey where you can give your input remotely. Please note that this survey closes on January 26th. (Click here for the survey)

 

Your Board of Trustees is committed to finding an extraordinary leader who embraces the SDFAS mission and values and who can lead our school into an exciting and successful future. We cannot do this by ourselves.

 

We thank you in advance for your participation and support in this important and exciting initiative.

 

Fernanda Coelho

Board Chair, on behalf of the SDFAS Board of Trustees