Head of School Search

Worcester Academy recently announced that it will be conducting a comprehensive search for its next Head of School who will be hired for a July, 2021 start. The WA Board has appointed a Head of School Search Committee and that group has enlisted a consulting team from Resource Group 175 (RG175) to manage the search process.

Input from all members of our community will assist us in identifying the critical skills, experience and vision necessary to ensure the future growth and success of Worcester Academy. Our next leader will be charged with helping us realize our fundraising, strategic and master plan goals. This is an opportunity to attract a Head of School who will continue to enhance and improve upon a Worcester Academy education while upholding our core values as we strive to Achieve the Honorable.

This page will be updated as the search progresses. Please check back regularly throughout the next few months. 

Head of School Position Statement


List of 8 items.

  • How can I be involved in the search process?

    Broad community input will be critical to effectively define the leadership, professional and personal qualities needed in our new Head. We are scheduling forums for faculty, staff, students and parents to meet with our consultants, and all current and recent community members will have had an opportunity to complete an online survey to provide input. There will also be further opportunity for WA community involvement in the fall when finalists are brought to campus. Some further ways in which you can help include:
    • Please share the names of any individuals whom you would recommend as potentially strong candidates. Please contact the Search Committee Chair, Susan Puryear (susan.puryear@worcesteracademy.org) so this information may be shared with the search consultants.
    • Please bring any questions or concerns directly to the Search Committee Chair. It is a priority of this search to ensure that there is shared understanding of the process and that any concerns in our community are known and addressed. Direct outreach will allow for constructive follow up and minimize the disruptions that can be caused by speculation and the spreading of inaccurate information.
    • Finally, please review any communications from the Search Committee and check here regularly for any updates.
  • Who is RG175?

    RG175 is a leader among independent school head search firms. It is made up of 17 successful, long-serving former heads of school who understand what it takes to run schools and possess a unique combination of the skills and expertise needed to identify outstanding school leaders. Our consultants, Bob Henderson and Tony Featherston, bring a wealth of experience to the Worcester Academy search and are excited to work closely with the Search Committee to advise us through the search process and identify a pool of candidates with the experience, skills, and vision to lead WA forward. More information on RG175, including bios for Bob and Tony, is available on their website at www.RG175.com.
  • What is the timeline for the search?

    Our consultants and members of the Search Committee will be soliciting and screening candidates throughout this spring and summer. We expect to be hosting finalist visits to our campus in the fall with an announcement about the appointment of our new Head of School coming by the end of 2020. Our new Head of School will assume their role on July 1, 2021.
  • What is the role of the Search Committee in the search?

    The Search Committee is charged with the selection of the search firm; engaging with WA constituent groups to help define the leadership qualities and experience needed for our the next Head of School; and managing an appropriately transparent, fair, and inclusive search process. The Search Committee will review candidate files, interview the most viable candidates, and identify 3 to 4 finalists who will visit our campus. After considering input from various constituents who meet with the finalists, and conducting appropriate reference and background checks, the Search Committee will recommend one candidate for appointment by the Board of Trustees. 
  • How is the Board of Trustees involved in the search?

    The Board is responsible for approving the Search Committee’s recommendation for the next Head of School. The Board will formally vote to extend an offer to the selected candidate. This is one of the most important roles that the Board plays for the School. The detailed task of conducting the search is undertaken by the Board appointed Search Committee.
  • Will the search impact the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years?

    No. All related information sessions, forums, and interviews will be built around faculty, staff, and student schedules so as not to disrupt the academic calendar and schedule.
  • Will this leadership transition impact WA’s mission?

    No. WA’s mission and core values are a defining and driving force in all that we do in serving our students and in our initiatives for the future of our institution. An important factor in evaluating the next Head of School will be the degree to which the candidates understand and can support and promote our mission and core values.
  • Will this leadership transition affect the strategic plan, master plan, and capital campaign initiatives?

    No. These vital initiatives will continue to move forward as approved with the support and involvement of the Worcester Academy community. These plans and their future success will be key considerations in the process of finding the next Head of School who will be best positioned to help lead this work

Search Committee

Susan Puryear
P ’19, P ’21 
Search Committee Chair & Board Member

James J. Pietro ’81 P ’11, P ’14, P ’19
WA Board President

Jamie Lavin ’02
Board Member

Meg O’Leary P ’20, P ’22
Board Member

David Shamoian ’70
Board Member

Please contact Susan Puryear with any questions about the Head of School search.