Search Committee Chair, Trustee
Head of School Search
Announcing Our Next Head of School
On May 16, 2022, Head of School Victoria C. (Vicky) Yatzus announced that she will be retiring at the conclusion of the 2022–23 academic year. Independence Board President Amelia Julian Wyant '90 followed Vicky's announcement with a letter to the community thanking Vicky for what will be 15 years of service to The Independence School when she retires in June 2023.
On October 24, 2022, the Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Timothy Costello as the fifth Head of School at The Independence School, beginning July 1, 2023, following a robust national search.
Dear Independence Community,
I am overjoyed and honored to be named your next Head of School. From the moment I stepped onto the stunning campus, there was a connection to this most special place of learning. My visit to Indy was both invigorating and affirming. After every interaction, the passion and love for the school was palpable and on full display.
- What is the broad timeline of the search process?
- What is the role of the Board of Trustees in the process?
- What is the role of the Search Committee in the process?
- How can I participate in the search process?
- What is the role of our search consultants, Educators Collaborative?
- Will current Independence employees be considered for the position?
- Will the search committee consider candidates from outside of Delaware?
- How will candidates be evaluated?
- When will the new Head of School be announced?
- A note about confidentiality
Our search process was launched in May 2022 and is designed to conclude with the announcement of the next Head of School in the fall of 2022.
The process can be thought of as three-phased: The Learning Phase, Recruitment Phase, and Evaluation Phase.
Learning Phase: During this phase, our consultants from Educators Collaborative (EC), Joan Beauregard and Steve Piltch, familiarize themselves with all aspects of the Independence community, program, operations, and future goals, to provide potential candidates with a thorough profile of the school.
Recruitment Phase: Although this phase is largely quiet for the Indy community; it is a very busy time for the EC consultants. Joan and Steve will recruit and thoroughly vet a pool of candidates for presentation to the Search Committee (SC). The vetting process will include interviewing the candidates and completing reference checks on the candidates.
Evaluation Phase: Once a qualified candidate pool has been established, the SC, in consultation with EC, will enter the Evaluation Phase with the goal of determining finalist candidates. The finalist candidates will visit and meet with members of our school community in the fall of 2022.
The work of the SC concludes when the committee presents its nomination of the candidate to the Board of Trustees, in fall of 2022. Following the appointment of the new Head, a transition period will follow. The new Head will officially assume responsibilities at Independence on July 1, 2023.
EC reminds us that each school’s search process has its own trajectory, and that time frames may shift where needed.
Most of the members of the Search Committee (SC), including Chair Mona Singh, are current or past Independence trustees. The SC will provide regular updates to the full Board throughout the process. As the process draws to completion, the Board will review the recommendations of the SC and ultimately appoint the new Head of School. The Head of School is the only employee that is hired by and reports directly to the Board of Trustees; as a result, choosing a new Head of School is one of the Board's most important responsibilities.
The Search Committee (SC) leads the head search, working closely with the consultants from Educators Collaborative throughout the process. It is the responsibility of the SC after careful interviewing and vetting of the candidates, and after consideration of the input from the school community, to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for the best candidate for our next Head of School. While leading the search process, the SC will communicate regularly with the school community, particularly through this Head Search page.
Inquiries related to the search can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The input from our parents, students, faculty and staff is an essential and valued aspect of the search process. During the Learning Phase, the consultants from Educators Collaborative (EC) held listening sessions to learn more about The Independence School from our community. In addition, all parents (and other constituents) were invited to complete a confidential survey at the beginning of the process to help guide the search. In the Evaluation Phase, school community members will have the opportunity to meet the finalists during their campus visit and provide confidential feedback, which will be aggregated by EC and presented to the Search Committee for their consideration.
Upon receiving Vicky Yatzus' notification of her planned retirement at the end of the 2022-23 school year, Board President Amelia Wyant and a group of Trustees identified a list of possible search firms with expertise in independent school placements. A Request for Proposal was prepared and sent to five firms. Two were selected for further consideration and interviewed. After a thorough and thoughtful review, the consultants from Educators Collaborative (EC), Joan Beauregard and Steve Piltch were determined to be the best fit and were presented to the full Board of Trustees for approval.
EC is an experienced and respected firm focusing on independent schools, having conducted over 1,000 successful head of school searches since 1971. Both Joan and Steve have also served as heads of independent schools, are professional and personal in their approach, and have a demonstrated commitment to the high standards of education, integrity, inclusion and citizenship that is reflective of the Independence mission and core values. They have strong local knowledge, particularly of the ADVIS region which includes Delaware. References for both Joan and Steve recounted experiences of a remarkably thorough process not just on the search, but also on guidance throughout the transition process. We have every confidence in their ability to support us in this process. You can find more information about Joan, Steve and Educators Collaborative on EC’s website linked here.
All individuals with an interest in the position, including any current or former Independence School employees, are welcome to participate in the search process and submit the required documents for consideration. Educators Collaborative and the Search Committee are committed to keeping the process as transparent as possible while maintaining the confidentiality of candidates until the finalists are selected.
The Search Committee (SC) intends for the scope of the search to be broad, recognizing the importance of finding an excellent head to lead Indy’s next brilliant chapter. Posts for the position and specific recruitment efforts will take place in Delaware and throughout the country. We also invite members of the community to make referrals of appropriate candidates. As stated above, although the process will be as transparent as possible, confidentiality will be upheld concerning the identity of candidates until the finalists have been selected.
After the initial Learning Phase, Educators Collaborative develops a candidate profile of the ideal match candidate based on their research with the Independence community’s constituents. This profile reflects consideration given to experience and skills, personal characteristics and integrity, alignment with the Independence mission and core values, leadership and communication style, and more.
Candidates will be evaluated based on how well their background, experience, skills, and characteristics match the candidate profile. The Search Committee will conduct thorough interviews, evaluating and discussing each candidate extensively before bringing forward a select group of finalists. The finalists will visit Indy's campus in the fall to meet with our community.
Vicky will continue to lead The Independence School and move forward on current initiatives throughout the 2022-2023 school year. Following the Board’s appointment of the new Head in the fall of 2022, our community will help the new Head to get to know Indy and make the transition as effective as possible. We anticipate that the new Head will officially assume responsibilities at Independence on July 1, 2023. EC reminds us that each school’s search process has its own trajectory and that time frames may shift where needed.
To ensure the transparency of the process, the Search Committee will share updates with our community on the process and progress via this webpage. Since potential candidates need assurance that confidentiality of the process is upheld, specific candidate information will not be shared by the Search Committee until the finalists are selected.