Head Search Information

Head of School Position Profile

Head Search Update-

The Head Search Committee is moving forward in its search activities, and wishes to update the Crossroads College Prep community on its status.

As you know, the Search Committee has worked closely with a search firm in identifying and recruiting appropriate candidates, as well as for early screening of these candidates. It has been extremely beneficial to work with a firm that has so many national connections. In addition, the thoughtful work in drafting the position profile was very important in our recruiting efforts. Many candidates expressed their great interest in the position based on their initial reading of the position profile.

A total of 68 candidates from across the country applied for the position. Of these 68 applicants, 53 remained “active” applicants; i.e., they did not withdraw over the course of our search because of changed circumstances. The one disappointment that the Search Committee experienced with the candidate pool is that the pool reflects very little diversity. For example, only 8 of the applicants were women, and only 5 were persons of color. However, one of the primary criteria for our new Head of School is a deep appreciation for the value of diversity in our community, so the Search Committee is carefully screening for this value in all our candidates.

About a third of the candidates have doctorates and over 60% have masters’ degrees. Forty percent of the candidates have had experience as a Head of School, and 54% have had mid-level administrative experience in a school. Most of the applicants (88%) have had experience working in independent schools.

The Search Committee carefully reviewed what we viewed as the top 19 applications, based on the criteria established in the position profile. Of these 19 applicants, 13 were interviewed by the Committee via Skype. After these interviews, the Committee narrowed the pool and currently anticipates bringing in five to six candidates for a visit to the school. One candidate visited Crossroads College Prep last week, another was in yesterday, and two more candidates will visit the week of February 28. The Committee is still making arrangements for additional candidate(s).

The candidates’ first visits are carefully programmed so that they can meet with as many Crossroads College Prep constituencies as possible. They visit with faculty, administrative staff, a parent advisory group, a “friends of the school” group, a student advisory group, and Billy. They are given a tour of the school and a brief tour of the surrounding community. Each group which meets with the candidate is asked to provide feedback to the Search Committee for its continued evaluation.

After these initial visits are complete, the pool will be narrowed to a smaller group based on the entire school community’s evaluations. This smaller group (perhaps 2-3 individuals) will be asked to come to the school for a final visit and a more in-depth tour of the St. Louis area.

Head Search Timeline


Cultivation and evaluation of candidates by consultants.

January 28, 2011

Electronic presentation to Search Com. of candidate materials.

January 31, 2011

Search Committee and consultants review candidate materials.


Search Committee conducts preliminary phone interviews with candidates.

Search Committee selects Semi-finalists.

Semi-finalists visits and interviews.

Search Committee selects Finalists.


Finalist visits and interviews

Search Committee recommends candidate to the Board

Special Board meeting to confirm appointment

Announcement of appointment


November 15, 2010

Dear Members of the Crossroads College Preparatory School Community,

Two weeks ago, Billy Handmaker and Susan Lanigan wrote you about Billy’s decision to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico to head the Bosque School, beginning with the next school year.  In the interim, we have made considerable progress on organizing the search for a new Head of School, and I am pleased to give you an update.

Search Committee.  The Board appointed a Search Committee, with responsibility for conducting a comprehensive, national search for a new Head to join us for the 2011-2012 school year.  The Search Committee members are listed at the end of this letter, along with their contact information.  The staff (both faculty and administration) selected two members of the Search Committee.  In addition, Billy Handmaker and Jim Knight (a former board member and long time active participant in the independent school community) will actively advise the Search Committee.

Search Consultants.  We have engaged outside expertise to help us with the search. We solicited proposals from five nationally known Head search specialists. After interviewing and researching the consultants, we contacted their client references, and we decided to work with Mary Kesler and Dr. Dick Jung, whose firms, The Education Group, www.educationgroup.com , and Education Access Strategies, www.accesseduc.com, will work jointly on our search. I am pleased to tell you more about Mary and Dick and their roles.

Mary Kesler is the founder and president of The Education Group, which began its work with search consulting in 1988. Her professional career began at Foxcroft School in Middleburg, VA where she served as Director of Admissions/Assistant Dean. After 15 years at The Hockaday School in Dallas, TX where her roles included Assistant Head of School, Director of Residence and Director of College Counseling, Mary served as Headmistress of The Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, PA. Due to her experience and commitment to education, The Education Group has become a highly recognized and respected school search and placement firm for independent schools and is particularly known for its involvement in school’s across the Midwest, South, and Southwest.

Dick Jung has an extensive background with independent schools and has recently helped other schools with strategic planning and executive searches. He served as Headmaster of the Bullis School for eleven years, during which time the school’s enrollment more than doubled and the school conducted two successful capital campaigns that raised more than $16 million. Dr. Jung also served as Head of School for the SEED School in Washington, D.C., the nation’s first inner-city college prep public boarding school, and he was a Principal at the John Burroughs School in St. Louis, Missouri.   Dick also taught (and chaired the English Department) at University City High School.

Search Process.  To begin our search, Mary and Dick will help with strategic thinking about challenges and opportunities for Crossroads as we move forward in identifying our next Head. They will be on campus on Wednesday and Thursday, November 17th and 18th, to visit with faculty, parents, students and administrators. Following these meetings, they will develop a position profile we will provide to potential Head candidates.

We expect to list the Head position opportunity with appropriate agencies in December.  Dick and Mary will also personally contact over 400 selected educational leaders to solicit recommendations for the position.  All of this will put us in a good position to review a solid pool of candidates in December, January and February.  We expect to select semi-finalists in January or early February, to interview final candidates in February and/or early March and to make the final selection in late February or early March.

Advisory Committees from the Crossroads Community.  To make sure that all parts of our community can participate in the search process, we plan to ask some members of the staff (both the faculty and administration), students, and parents to participate in advisory committees, which will interview at least the finalist candidates next spring and will share their thoughts and impressions of the candidates with, and provide their input to, the Search Committee, providing valuable input as the Search Committee narrows the field.

Calendar.  Our goal is to complete the search process and announce the appointment of a new Head of School by late February or early March.  At that point, the Search Committee will turn its attention to ensuring a smooth transition as the new Head joins Crossroads next summer. 

If you have suggestions or concerns, I hope you will get in touch with me or with members of the Search Committee.  In the meantime, we are grateful for your ongoing support as we work to ensure that Crossroads is an excellent place for our families, teachers, and staff. 


Irene Holubec

Chair of the Search Committee

The Search Committee

Irene Holubec * Chair


Long time board member and alumni parent

Dick Brickson * Assistant Chair


Long time trustee, former Board Chair, parent of three alumni

Dan Jay * Assistant Chair


Long time board member, parent of three alumni

Susan Lanigan *


Long time board member, current Board Chair and alumni parent

Zach Boyers

Current parent

Jerry Dobson

Long time board member, alumni parent

Fred Falker

Long time board member and alumni parent

Sheila Forrest

Long time board member and a current parent

Patty Hagen

Long time board member and a current parent

Angela Hunter-Knight **

Long time faculty member

Mark Norwood **

Long time faculty member, Dean of Ethics and Social Responsibility, and current parent

Zoila Rendon-Ochoa

Long time board member and an alumni (1996)

*    Also serves on the steering group of the Search Committee

**  Selected by the staff (both faculty and administration) to serve on the Search Committee