13 November 2020
Dear members of the St. Michael’s High School community,
The Board of Trustees of St. Michael’s High School has begun the search for a permanent president. The selection of the new president is one of the most important responsibilities of the Board of Trustees. We realize that we will want an exceptional individual who believes in our mission and shares a love for our students.
The first action in the process was to identify and engage a search firm to assist us in this all-important task and we have selected Educational Directions of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, as our partner. Educational Directions was founded in 1987 and is a highly respected national firm. The search will be led by Mathew Heersche and Risa Oganesoff Heersche. Mathew and Risa bring deep experience both as educational leaders in Catholic education and search professionals as well as expertise and enthusiasm to our search. In addition, they have worked with a number of Christian Brothers schools in the San Francisco-New Orleans District in their search for new leadership and so they are very familiar with the Christian Brothers charism as well as governance and leadership structures.
Our next action was to establish a search committee, with representation from faculty, staff, parents, alumnae and trustees. I will lead the search committee as its chair.
An important first step is for our search professionals Mathew and Risa to begin the process of learning as much as possible about St. Michael’s High School. Normally, they would conduct an onsite visit in which they interview members of all stakeholder groups within the school (students, faculty, parents, administrators, alumni, board members) to learn as much about the school as possible and what we seek in our next leader. Given our new reality, they will be conducting these meetings virtually, in small groups and small forums. Among the key questions that they will ask of all of us are:
A detailed schedule for these virtual meetings will be provided shortly. In addition, we are providing an additional opportunity for your input through an online survey. You can access the survey at the following: President Search Survey Link
From all of the information gathered through this process, Mathew and Risa, with the search committee, will develop a brief opportunity statement to be used as part of their overall marketing and recruitment efforts. We will, of course, share this document with all members of the St. Michael’s community once it is completed.
Our search professionals will be reaching out both locally and nationally to individual Catholic educational leaders, executive directors of educational organizations as well as other organizations, a variety of Catholic educational leadership programs and regional school associations to notify them of our opening. Over the next months, they will be identifying and evaluating top prospects. Our goal is to identify a group of top-level candidates and then narrow that number down to five to seven individuals with whom the search committee will conduct interviews. From that group will come three finalists who will be visiting us some time in February/March. There will be opportunities for school community members to meet each of the finalists. Upon completion of evaluation of all of the data gathered (including deep reference checking) and deliberation, the committee will present its recommendation of their final selection to the board of trustees. Since St. Michael’s High School is a Lasallian institution within the San Francisco New Orleans District, district leadership must also ratify the selection of the president. Once this is complete, the board will make an announcement regarding the new president as soon as possible.
Our calendar calls for identification and engagement of the next president of St. Michael’s High School to be completed by the end of March, 2021. There will be an organized transition process culminating with the new president commencing work on or about July, 2021.
We look forward to the search process and will keep all members of our school community informed as to its progress via regular updates. All information pertaining to the search will be posted on the president search page on our website.
Clarice Pick-Berhost ‘78