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Head of School Transition

Dear CHS Community,

On behalf of the Head of School Transition Committee, I write with a variety of updates about the work of our committee and some details about Tamara Schurdak’s recent and upcoming visits to the school. In supporting a smooth and supportive leadership transition, we are mindful both of optimizing opportunities for helping Ms. Schurdak to become connected with the CHS community and of respecting her commitments to the Town School until she officially begins at CHS in July.

Despite being forced to reschedule more than once due to snow, Ms. Schurdak came to CHS on February 15 and 16 for a variety of meetings. She also visited classrooms at every developmental level, including rolling up her sleeves to paint in a Pre-K Art/Science class and participating in a leadership activity with Grade 5. The Advancement Office arranged for a professional photographer to capture many images of Ms. Schurdak engaged in our community which will be used in a variety of publications relative to her announcement and arrival. 

Ms. Schurdak’s next visit to CHS will be on April 20th and 21st. The purpose of this visit will be to meet with a broader range of community members and to focus, in particular, on making connections relative to the secondary school counseling process. On Thursday, April 20th, Ms. Schurdak will accompany Dr. Tobolsky on visits to a few local secondary schools during the day, and together they will host a secondary school evening for rising upper school families (details to follow). In addition to meeting with the full faculty and staff on Friday, April 21st, Ms. Schurdak will attend the Kindergarten Play and host a coffee for all current families.

In addition to facilitating logistics around Ms. Schurdak’s upcoming visits, next priorities for the Transition Committee include working on a formal printed announcement of our new Head of School which will be disseminated to all internal and external constituencies. We will also begin to prepare for Ms. Schurdak’s arrival in July and welcome events in the fall.

We hope we will see as many of you as possible at the coffee on Friday, April 21st.


Dean Kolbas, Board Vice President, Transition Committee Co-Chair
Deb Sullivan, Assistant Head & Academic Dean, Transition Committee Co-Chair
Michelle Hayden, Transition Committee Member
Melanie Hoffmeister, Board Member, Transition Committee Member
Faiza Riaz, Family Association President, Board Member, Transition Committee Member
Jen Williams, Board Member, Transition Committee Member

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Search Firm has been retained to assist with the Search?

The Search Committee has selected Resource Group 175 (RG175) to assist with the Head of School search process.  Resource Group 175 is a multifaceted and experienced team of former Heads of School that has established a respected track record of leadership in the United States and Europe.  

The Search Committee will specifically be working with Clay Stites, RG175’s current president, whose background delivers a broad perspective that has helped him complete over 100 successful head searches. He has done extensive work with elementary schools, as well as searches, retreats, and long-range planning for PK-12 and boarding schools. Clay is particularly well-known for his keen sense of school culture, for his intimate knowledge of candidates, and for his work with Boards.  He taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, and is the former Chair of the NAIS Elementary and Middle Schools Committee. Clay was Head of School at Friends Academy (MA) and the Curtis School (CA), for 15 and 5 years respectively, and has served as a Board member of four independent schools and currently serves on the BB&N Board.

How will the transition to a new Head of School impact my child’s time at CHS?

Your child’s time at CHS will not be impacted by the transition to a new Head of School.  Efforts are already underway to ensure a smooth transition in July 2017.  The Board of Trustees, Dr. Tobolsky and Ms. Schurdak are all committed to ensuring that each child continues to have a fulfilling experience during the 2016-17 school year and beyond.

Will the Head of School transition impact secondary school placement?

No.  Dr. Tobolsky is committed to ensuring that secondary school placement continues at the highest possible level.  The secondary school placement team established in Spring 2016 will be involved throughout the year to ensure a smooth transition.  In addition, Ms. Schurdak brings to CHS years of success in secondary school placement from her previous position and has prioritized forging connections with local schools upon her arrival in July.

Will the school’s mission change with the arrival of a new Head of School?

No.  The school’s mission has been thoughtfully developed and has continued to evolve as the community has grown.  An important criteria in selecting Ms. Schurdak, as the next Head of School, is her commitment to support and enhance our mission.

What can I expect during the transition?

In parallel to the Search Committee process, the Board of Trustees has established a Transition Team to ensure that we experience a smooth transition between Heads of School and fully support Ms. Schurdak during her first year at CHS.  The Transition Team co-chairs, Deb Sullivan and Dean Kolbas, have already begun planning this work.  Our search firm, RG175, is also a key partner in ensuring a smooth transition and will make sure that all key steps are completed.  In addition, RG175 will provide support to Ms. Schurdak throughout her first year in the new role.

Dr. Tobolsky will continue to make all important decisions through the end of June 2017.  We look forward to planning events to celebrate his achievements and legacy in the coming year.  We do not expect Ms. Schurdak’s involvement in the Spring, although there will be opportunities for everyone in the community to meet her. Ms. Schurdak will begin her official role as Head of School in July 2017.