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Head of School Search

In December 2019, Sally Keidel announced she will be departing Montgomery School at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, following six years of service. 

In her letter to the Montgomery community, Sally shared the following message:

"It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to share with you that I will be departing as Head of School in June 2020 to begin a new chapter in my career. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this very special community and for the many meaningful relationships I created and will treasure going forward.”

"I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a dedicated faculty and staff, colleagues in education who live the motto of our school so authentically. We could not have succeeded in so many of our endeavors without the commitment of the administrative team, the Board of Trustees, and the unwavering support of our parents.  Most of all, I have cherished the daily opportunity to engage with the talented and engaged students entrusted to our care.”


Board of Trustees Patty Dahm P'15 and Kristine Ilaria P'23 '29 will co-chair the search committee for the next head of Montgomery School, a process that will include soliciting input from all constituents from the Montgomery School community. 

Montgomery School's community will be informed throughout the search process for the next Head of School, and this page will be updated as the search progresses. 

Search Firm

To help guide the search process, the school has retained Carney, Sandoe & Associates, an industry leader among independent school search firms. Carney Sandoe is renowned for their excellent work in independent school leadership search, faculty recruitment, and strategic consulting. Our efforts will be led by search experts Burke Zalosh and Bob Vitalo

We encourage our parents to share their comments, questions, and thoughts with the search committee during one of the following parent sessions:

Thursday, January 9
6:00 - 7:00 pm in the Library

Friday, January 10
7:45 - 8:30 am in the Library


If you are unable to attend a meeting, please share your thoughts with the search committee by contacting Burke Zalosh at burke@carneysandoe.com or Bob Vitalo at robert.vitalo@carneysandoe.com.

SEARCH COMMITTEE

Co-Chairs:
Patty Dahm P'15, Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees

Kristine Ilaria P'23,'29, Trustee

Committee Members:
Harry Carpenter P'12,'13,'17, Trustee

Julie Diaz P'16,'18,'27, MSCA Vice President, 2019-2020

Paul Gilbert P'17,'20,'23, Secretary, Board of Trustees

Michele Long P'24,'26, Trustee

James McConnel, Director of Finance and Operations

Kami Mulzet, 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Marketing Assistant and Social Media Specialist

Staci Williams Seeley P'18, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Communications to the Community

A Letter From Sally Keidel, Head of School, December 12, 2019

December 12, 2019
Dear Montgomery School Community, 
It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to share with you that I will be departing as Head of School in June 2020 to begin a new chapter in my career. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this very special community and for the many meaningful relationships I created and will treasure going forward. 
From the moment I stepped onto the campus in 2010 as a prospective parent, I felt the “Montgomery Magic” -- the excitement and sheer joy of children learning; the deep connections between students, faculty and families; the emphasis on academic challenge infused with character education. Immediately, my husband and I knew that Montgomery was where we wanted to send our son. As a Head of School candidate four years later, the positive energy was palpable to me. Remarkably, the magical feeling that greeted me as a prospective parent carried over after I was installed as Head of School.
I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a dedicated faculty and staff, colleagues in education who live the motto of our school so authentically. We could not have succeeded in so many of our endeavors without the commitment of the administrative team, the Board of Trustees, and the unwavering support of our parents.  Most of all, I have cherished the daily opportunity to engage with the talented and engaged students entrusted to our care. 
Together, we accomplished a great deal in the past six years. We celebrated the School’s Centennial birthday and completed a community-based Strategic Plan, A Bold Move Forward, which culminated in our Excellence within Reach initiative. In conjunction with our happy observance of our Centennial, we engaged anew with many alumni, parents and friends, and we made a commitment to secure Montgomery’s short-term and long-term futures with the enrollment growth created by the Excellence within Reach plan. 
As a School and community, we have made significant accomplishments in the past six years. We secured reaccreditation from the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools. We grew the Annual Fund. We enhanced our curriculum and implemented a faculty evaluation system. We also improved our digital presence through our outreach and social media. For these past six years, the work was always energizing and challenging, and our diligent efforts on behalf of this wonderful school leave it in a better position than it was when we began.
There is quite a bit of important work which remains to be done over the next six months. During this transition, I look forward to partnering with the Administrative Team and our outstanding faculty and staff. I will also be working closely with the Board of Trustees, in particular, with Board Chair, Staci Williams Seeley. Staci and I have collaborated on a series of initiatives in her capacity as the chair of the board of trustees, to see projects through to productive fruition and to always have what is best for Montgomery School at the top of mind. 
I very much look forward to seeing how this remarkable Montgomery community will continue to grow, evolve, and strengthen as we finish out this year and long into the future.
With deepest gratitude,

Sally Keidel
Head of School

A Letter from Staci Williams Seeley, Chair of the Board of Trustees, December 12, 2019

December 12, 2019

Members of the Montgomery Community,
Today, I write to share with you that Sally Keidel has been offered and has accepted the Head of School position at The Agnes Irwin School, an independent pre-K-12 school for girls in Rosemont, PA, beginning July 1, 2020. Over the past several years, in working with Sally as a member of Montgomery’s Board of Trustees, I have consistently admired the dedication, integrity, and care she has exhibited in matters of bold, strategic importance to the entire community, and in those requiring deft skill and patience behind the scenes. In so many ways, large and small, she has stewarded and shaped our mission of igniting “each child’s love of learning and fostering their individual talents during the most formative years in order to prepare them for future success.” As Sally takes the next step in her career, we know that she will build upon the legacy of her six years as Montgomery’s head of school, leading and inspiring Agnes Irwin’s students to achieve their best.
Sally’s leadership at Montgomery has contributed to positive momentum and significant developments since her arrival in 2014. Our Excellence within Reach initiative was indeed a bold move forward for students, families, and faculty alike. Following a successful, community-wide engagement in strategic planning for the future from 2015 to 2017, we unveiled our tuition reset in 2018. Strong enrollment surges in the last two years have been the result of our response to the need in our region for an excellent, affordable choice for the important, foundational years of early childhood, elementary school, and middle school.
Montgomery School has long been a destination for students seeking preparation for high school and beyond, and we have delivered on the promise of a rigorous curriculum with a nurturing approach to teaching, learning, and educating the whole child. The principles of Veritas, Pietas, Caritas – Truth, Loyalty, Compassion – remain the pillars of a Montgomery education. In partnership with families, the school’s offerings have readied students to enter the area’s most prestigious independent, parochial, and public schools. Our program allows students to explore passions, engage in research, test their limits as students, athletes and performers, and to share their wisdom in the capstone experience of delivering a chapel talk in eighth grade. This is an exciting time to be a part of the Montgomery community and I look forward to our next phase of growth and innovation.
We will now begin the process of identifying Montgomery’s next leader. We will seek a school leader who will build on Montgomery’s strengths and on our great traditions and innovative spirit. I am pleased to announce that Trustees Patty Dahm P’15  and Kristine Ilaria P’23 ‘29 will co-chair the search committee. I will be working closely with Patty and Kristine as we undertake this crucial step in selecting the next head of school. We have already begun our outreach to leading search firms that focus on independent school leadership, and will be establishing a full search committee to assist our co-chairs in what will be a vibrant, thorough, and inclusive process. We will be seeking input from across our community and will be in touch soon to share updates.
We wish Sally all the best in her future endeavors and will have time over the course of the winter and spring to express our gratitude for her years of service. Until then, the Board and I look forward to working closely with Sally, who remains committed to continuing the exciting work of Montgomery School in this final year together. 
Sincerely,
Staci Williams Seeley
Board Chair

A Message From The Search Committee

January 5, 2020
Dear Montgomery Community, 

Happy 2020! We are writing to provide an update on our search for Montgomery's next Head of School. We believe we are in an excellent position to attract a new leader who will build on our strengths and guide us to an even brighter future.

With that sense of excitement in mind, following the announcement late last month that Sally Keidel will lead The Agnes Irwin School in July 2020, we have worked to organize a search process for her successor that will be engaging, effective, and efficient. Our first task has been to form a search committee whose members will bring their considerable experience, expertise, and love for the school to bear in leading this effort. Together, they reflect the fabric of our special community. No one person represents a specific group, but each one of them brings multiple perspectives within our community. We are delighted to announce that, in addition to the three of us, the search committee will be comprised of:


Harry Carpenter P'12,'13,'17, Trustee
Julie Diaz P'16,'18,'27, MSCA Vice President, 2019-2020
Paul Gilbert P'17,'20,'23, Secretary, Board of Trustees
Michele Long P'24,'26, Trustee
James McConnel, Director of Finance and Operations
Kami Mulzet, 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Marketing Assistant and Social Media Specialist 


The search committee will be supported by Carney, Sandoe & Associates, an industry leader among independent school search firms. Carney Sandoe is renowned for their excellent work in independent school leadership search, faculty recruitment, and strategic consulting. Our two consultants – Bob Vitalo and Burke Zalosh – have extensive experience as school leaders and search experts that will help us develop a strong, deep, and diverse pool of candidates over the coming months.

Bob and Burke will be visiting Montgomery on Thursday, January 9 and Friday, January 10 to gather community input from faculty, staff, parents, students, and members of the search committee. Their visit will allow them to get to know the school, observe the rhythms of a day in the life of a Montgomery student, and gather feedback that will allow for the most inclusive process possible. Please plan to attend one of two parent forums to provide input on the search for our next head of school led by Bob and Burke, on Thursday, January 9 at 6:00 pm OR Friday, January 10 at 7:45 am, during which early mornings care or aftercare will be provided at no additional charge.

Please join us for one of two parent sessions: 

Thursday, January 9 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the Library
(childcare provided at no charge)

Friday, January 10 from 7:45 am to 8:30 am in the Library
(childcare provided at no charge)


In the meantime, we encourage members of the community to begin thinking about the essential questions they will ask us:

What is special about Montgomery? What must be maintained no matter who is the next leader? What makes Montgomery, Montgomery?

What are the opportunities for the next head of Montgomery? In other words, what might be different about Montgomery in future years that would have a positive impact on its students, families, faculty and staff?


Describe the next head of school. What are the skills, experiences, characteristics, and qualities you desire?

We invite the entire community to share their thoughts in response to these questions and suggestions of candidates. In addition to meeting with Bob and Burke on campus, the community will be invited to participate in an online survey to share their insights regarding the next head of school, and any other input you would like to offer, that will go live at the conclusion of their visit. We will also provide their emails in the same communication following their visit. 

The search will be a collaborative effort, but the search committee must observe best practices in discretion and confidentiality. The search committee will recommend finalists who will visit campus to introduce themselves and get to know our community.  At the conclusion of the finalists' visits, the search committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, who will make the final selection. We will provide periodic updates to the school community on the search process.

We are committed to an inclusive process that will help shape Montgomery's future, and look forward to working with all of you to make that happen.

Sincerely,

Patty Dahm P'15, Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees
Kristine Ilaria P'23,'29, Trustee
Co-Chairs, Head of School Search Committee

Staci Williams Seeley P'18
Chair, Board of Trustees