Search Update – 12/6/17

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From Noah Van Amburg, St. Michael’s Board Chair:

On behalf of the Board of St. Michael’s School, I am delighted to update the school community regarding the work to secure a successor to Margaret Moore as head of the school.

Following the announcements in late September by Margaret and me about her retirement from her position next June, the process to form a search committee and find our next head of school was begun. I also met with the faculty and staff to discuss Margaret’s departure and to outline likely next steps.

The following agreed to serve on the search committee:

  • Noah Van Amburg – St. Michael’s Board Chair and Chair of Search, school parent (3rd and 5th)
  • Peter Cheney – St. Michael’s Board member and Search Coordinator, priest associate at St. Michael’s Church
  • Randy Downer – current St. Michael’s School parent (2nd) and Vaquero
  • Kristin Greenwood – current St. Michael’s School parent (5th and 8th) and SMA member
  • John Hsieh – St. Michael’s board member and former school parent, St. Michael’s Church parishioner and immediate past Senior Warden
  • Paulette O’Malley – St. Michael’s Church parishioner, former St. Michael’s School parent, and twice a St. Michael’s board member
  • Matt Teller – current St. Michael’s administrative leader and school parent (5th and alum in 10th grade)

Initial Search Process

  • Peter Cheney agreed to coordinate the search for Margaret’s successor. He served as the Executive Director of the National Association of Episcopal School from 1998-2007, and as a Senior Search Consultant with Carney, Sandoe and Associates, headquartered in Boston, from 2008-2013. Peter has facilitated the searches for the heads of 15 independent and Episcopal schools throughout the United States.
  • An online survey and conversations were conducted with St. Michael’s parents, board, faculty and staff to gather input about the particular strengths, opportunities/needs at St. Michael’s, and ideal qualities/skills/experience of a new school leader.
  • A brief position opportunity statement for the St. Michael’s headship was created and posted with several regional and national career listing services, as well as on the school’s website, followed by extensive personal, direct networking with independent and Episcopal school leaders, including a number of search consultants with various firms.
  • Follow-up contacts and preliminary conversations have been conducted with leaders recommended for consideration and with those who self-identified.

Current and Future Steps

  • Search Committee reviews and discusses the input from the survey and conversations with parents and faculty/staff.
  • Search coordinator and committee reviews the dossiers, the summaries of preliminary conversations with strong candidates, and results of initial reference checks, and selects candidates to interview.
  • The search committee interviews top candidates with the goal of selecting candidate finalists to invite with spouses to campus in January and early February for in-depth interviewing by the search committee, and conversations at school with key stakeholders, including students, parents, faculty and staff, the Board and Rector. Deep referencing and background checks conducted.
  • Committee selects a candidate to nominate to the Board as the next head. With Board concurrence, the Rector and Vestry are asked to ratify.
  • Discussion with the head-elect to present offer and finalize the appointment.
  • Formal communications with school and parish communities.
  • Transition work before and after the new head begins work at St. Michael’s.


The work of the search committee and the identity of candidates is necessarily confidential until finalist candidates are announced and the schedule of each leader’s visit to St. Michael’s is determined.