Head of School Search



“Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to guide us;
then we will act on the Spirit’s gentle inspiration.”

~ St. Madeleine Sophie Barat





 

March 8, 2013

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

The Board of Trustees for Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School is pleased to announce Elizabeth Miller as our next Head of School, effective July 1, 2013. The trustees unanimously voted to offer the position to Elizabeth following a comprehensive national search. They were particularly impressed with Elizabeth’s “commitment to her Catholic faith and her vision to immerse herself in the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart education.”

Elizabeth is currently Upper School Head at Hutchison School, an all girls’ school (age 2-grade 12) founded in Memphis in 1902. Her leadership responsibilities include academics, student life, advancement and enrollment management. She previously served as a faculty member and registrar for Pace Academy, developing an Asian History curriculum for the independent K-12 school in Atlanta.

Elizabeth was called to independent school education in 2002 after a successful career in international business. She managed multi-million dollar accounts for AT&T and conducted business negotiations throughout Asia. Elizabeth is fluent in Japanese and holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Studies East Asia from Harvard University.

Elizabeth said, “After nearly a decade in international business in successive roles, I discovered what I had intuitively known long before—I wanted to be where I belonged in education. Independent school education has since become my life’s vocation.”

The Board thanks Sr. Lucie Nordmann for serving as Head of School since 2009. Board Chair John Hanichak said, “We remain most grateful for the leadership and contributions of Sr. Nordmann in collaboration with the leadership team, faculty and staff, and friends of Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School.” She joins the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, Louisiana this summer as Director of Advancement.

The Board is also indebted to the Search Committee and its Advisory Committee. They helped develop the criteria for our next Head of School based on extensive feedback from our school community. Their unanimous recommendation reflects the aspirations you generously shared as students, parents, alums, faculty, and staff. A student council member stated after meeting Elizabeth, “We can look up to her.”

In her statement of educational philosophy, Elizabeth wrote, “One of my core values as an educator is that each child thrives in the school that he or she attends, not merely prepare for the next. Our society pushes students to focus so much on future demands—that they may not flourish in the very school the student and the family chose to enroll in. I challenge students to relish their current roles.” Her words echoed the advice of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. “Do not look back to the past, nor forward to the future. Claim only the present, for it holds God’s will.”

Elizabeth will be moving to St. Louis this summer with her husband, Mark. Their boys, Kevin and Jackson, will join Oak Hill in the fall. There will be opportunities to meet the Miller Family before the start of the new school year. In the meantime, please join us in officially welcoming Elizabeth and her family into our Sacred Heart family.

Sincerely,

John J. Hanichak, Chair Board of Trustees
Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

Beth Lenke, Chair Search Committee Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

February 28, 2013

We are pleased to announce that we have selected our two finalists for Head of School.We invite parents to join our first finalist for a brief presentation followed by the opportunity to ask questions.

Tuesday, March 5 from 7:45-8:30 a.m. in the Villa Duchesne library
We will welcome your feedback forms by the end of the school day on Tuesday.

Our second finalist is unable to leave her current position until July 2014. Because of her professional commitments, she has decided to delay a return visit to St. Louis. However, your input about the finalist has been noted and you are welcome to submit an additional feedback form.

Your input thus far in our process has been seriously considered and our intention is to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees in March. The Search Committee and Board of Trustees thank you for entrusting us to gather as much information as possible and conduct the search process with due diligence. We encourage you to continue participating in the process and provide input on the feedback forms. In the meantime, please keep the candidates and our community in your prayers. 

February 12, 2013

The Search Committee thanks you for warmly welcoming our first three candidates for Head of School. A fourth semifinalist joins us Tuesday, February 19. We invite parents to meet her from 2:45 p.m. until 3:25 p.m. Our informal gathering will be held in the Large Conference Room of the 1929 Main Building.

You will be asked immediately after the meeting to complete a feedback form and return it by noon on Wednesday, February 20. In the meantime, additional information about Candidate D is available for your review. Please visit Linda Kratz in the Portry or Jennifer Hennessey in the Duchesne Building to view a copy of the candidate’s resume.

February 7, 2013

The third semifinalist for our Head of School position joins us Monday, February 11. We invite parents to meet her from 2:45 p.m. until 3:25 p.m. Our informal gathering will be held in the Large Conference Room of the 1929 Main Building. You will be asked immediately after the meeting to complete a feedback form and return it by noon on Tuesday, February, 12. In the meantime, additional information about the candidate is available for your review. Please visit Linda Kratz in the Portry or Jennifer Hennessey in the Duchesne Building to view a copy of the candidate’s resume and educational philosophy statement.

Your feedback on each candidate, guided by the following criteria, will ensure the success of our Head of School search.

  • A devoted Catholic who embraces and advances the Sacred Heart Network’s Goals and Criteria in a changing world.
  • A leader who lives the values of the school’s namesake, Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne.
  • A dedicated educator who can advance the enrollment and development goals of the school.
  • An effective communicator who will represent the school well internally and externally.
  • A community-builder who can unify, empower and build a committed team with demonstrated success in working collaboratively with trustees, faculty, staff, students and families.
  • A visionary who can inspire others. 

January 30, 2013

The Search Committee wants to thank you for making our first candidate feel so welcome. The second semifinalist for our Head of School position joins us January 31. We invite parents to meet her from 2:45 p.m. until 3:25 p.m. Our informal gathering will be held in the Large Conference Room of the 1929 Main Building.

You will be asked immediately after the meeting to complete a feedback form and return it by noon on Friday, February 1. In the meantime, additional information about the candidate is available for your review. Please visit Linda Kratz in the Portry or Jennifer Hennessey in the Duchesne Building to view a copy of the candidate’s resume and educational philosophy statement.

January 28, 2013

The Search Committee wants to remind you about the opportunity to welcome the first semifinalist for our Head of School position. We invite parents to join us January 29 from 2:45 p.m. until 3:25 p.m. Our informal gathering will be held in the Large Conference Room of the 1929 Main Building.

The candidate will give a brief introduction before circulating with parents. Please take a moment to share with her why you chose Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School. By sharing your stories, the candidate can better appreciate what it means to be a member of our Sacred Heart family.

You will be asked immediately after the meeting to complete a feedback form and return it by noon on Wednesday, January 30. In the meantime, additional information about the candidate is available for your review. Please visit Linda Kratz in the Portry or Jennifer Hennessey in the Duchesne Building to view a copy of the candidate’s resume and educational philosophy statement.

January 23, 2013

We are making solid progress on our search for the next Head of Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School. Our search consultant, Dick Jung, Ed.D., founder of Education Access Strategies, led listening sessions in November to understand the strengths and challenges of our school community. In December, parents, faculty, and staff were invited to complete a survey to deepen this understanding. Thank you to the many parents, faculty, staff, and trustees who participated.

Based on the feedback, Dr. Jung and our Search Committee prepared a school information profile for use in our search and established updated criteria for our next Head of School:

  • A devoted Catholic who embraces and advances the Sacred Heart Network’s Goals and Criteria in a changing world.
  • A leader who lives the values of the school’s namesake, Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne.
  • A dedicated educator who can advance the enrollment and development goals of the school.
  • An effective communicator who will represent the school well internally and externally.
  • A community-builder who can unify, empower and build a committed team with demonstrated success in working collaboratively with trustees, faculty, staff, students and families.
  • A visionary who can inspire others.

The Education Access Strategies team has cultivated an impressive pool of candidates. The Search Committee met on January 9 and 16 to assess the candidates and narrowed the field to three semifinalists. The interviews will be completed by mid-February.

We invite parents to meet each of the semifinalists when they visit our campus on:

  • Tuesday, January 29 - Semifinalist A
  • Thursday, January 31 - Semifinalist B
  • Monday, February 11 - Semifinalist C

Each parent session is scheduled from 2:45-3:25 p.m. in the Conference Room of the 1929 Main Building. This is an informal opportunity to welcome each of the semifinalists. Immediately after the session, you will be asked to complete a feedback form and return it to Linda Kratz in the Portry or Jennifer Hennessey in the Duchesne Building.

We will notify you about meeting the final candidates near the end of February. We plan to complete our reviews and present our recommendation to the Board of Trustees by late March.

We highly value the input received during the recent listening sessions and survey. While your input was immediately useful to our Head of School Search process, we acknowledge there is more work ahead to address the challenges our school faces in the future. The Board will complete a summary to share with our school community by late February.

Thank you for your continued prayers for God to lead us in making decisions that will further advance our mission of “transforming the world, one child at a time.”

Sincerely,

John J. Hanichak, Chair
Board of Trustees
Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

Beth Lenke, Chair
Search Committee
Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

December 4, 2012

HEAD OF SCHOOL OPPORTUNITY
Anticipated Start Date: July 1, 2013

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School provides education to boys and girls in junior kindergarten through grade six and young women in grades seven through twelve. A commitment to education in the Sacred Heart tradition has remained the cornerstone of its programs since 1929.

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School educates about 640 children ages three to eighteen on its impressive 60-acre campus in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. The school’s facilities include an array of historic and modern buildings, including a stunning chapel, as well as a track, indoor pool, nature trail, tennis courts, playing fields, and performing and studio arts facilities.

The academic, social, and spiritual emphasis of the Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School program is shaped by the vision of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, founder of the Sacred Heart Network. The values of the Sacred Heart Network are evident throughout the school and serve as the foundation of Villa Duchesne’s exceptional college preparatory program. The five Goals and Criteria of the Society’s Network emphasize: an active and personal faith in God, deep respect for intellectual values, social awareness which impels to action, building of community as a Christian value, and personal growth in an atmosphere of freedom.

A vibrant student body and committed faculty and staff work in tandem to create an environment that is both nurturing and rigorous. The rich array of athletic, artistic, religious, and social activities available at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School allows its graduates the opportunity to become well rounded, confident, and capable citizens.

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School claims more than 4,000 alumnae/i and is fortunate to be linked with thousands of Sacred Heart students and alums around the world. Graduating classes at Villa Duchesne average 80 young women with 100 percent attending four-year colleges and universities and 92 percent receiving merit-based scholarships.

The ideal candidate for the next Head of School is:

  • A committed Catholic who embodies and is dedicated to advancing the values of the Sacred Heart tradition in a changing world
  • A leader who inspires trust, support, and living the values of the school’s namesake, Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne
  • A strong visionary who understands how to cultivate resources and achieve strategic goals
  • An effective manager with demonstrated success in working collaboratively with trustees, faculty, staff, students, and families
  • A superb and visible communicator with a proven record in admissions and strong interest in fundraising
  • A passionate and compassionate educator who will represent the school well internally and externally
  • A strategically focused leader with the ability to articulate a clear vision for the school's future

Candidates should e-mail applications by January 7, 2013 to Dr. Richard K. Jung at dick@accesseduc.com that include the following: (1) a cover letter explaining the candidate’s interest in and qualifications for this position; (2) a current resume, including phone numbers, e-mail address, and SKYPE address, if possible; (3) a personal statement of educational philosophy; and (4) the names, email addresses, and telephone numbers of five references.

Please feel free to call Dr. Jung at 301-654-9732 for further details if needed. All materials, inquiries, and nominations will be held in strict confidence at this time. For more information about Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School please visit: www.vdoh.org.

 

December 3, 2012

Dear Sacred Heart Community,

We hope this communication finds you and your family well during this time of anticipation and preparation for a blessed Christmas. Along those same lines, we hope you can help us to better prepare our school for choosing the next head of our school. 

The week before Thanksgiving, the search consultant, Dick Jung, Ed.D. visited with many members of our community. However, it was not possible for him to meet with everyone who has an interest in the success of our school. We want to hear from all of you!

The success of the Head of School Search is dependent upon your input. Please take about 13 minutes to complete the following survey. The survey allows us to understand your impression of our strengths, highlight the challenges, and identify the leadership and personal characteristics of the ideal Head of School. This information will be used to develop a detailed profile that allows the Head of School candidates to understand the needs of our school.

Head of School Survey

Please know that the survey is tallied by the search consultant and is completely confidential. If you have any questions, please email me at headsearch@vdoh.org.

Sincerely,
Beth Lenke
Head of School Search Committee Chair

Head of School Survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MBJFRJZ

November 20, 2012

Dear Sacred Heart Parents,

Our consultant for the Head of School search, Dick Jung, Ed.D. with EAS, spent three days last week meeting with our Search Committee, Advisory Committee, Leadership Team, parents, students, alumnae/i, faculty, and staff. After the meetings, Dr. Jung and his staff said, “We cannot imagine that any guest could miss seeing the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria in living color as he/she walks through your school. But, it was the warmth with which they were conveyed that meant so much to us.”

We appreciate everyone who responded with the opportunities and challenges we face at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School. Your feedback is crucial in identifying our next Head of School. You will all have other opportunities in the coming weeks to give your input. 

  • We will invite you next week to complete a short, but meaningful survey online. Dr. Jung will be receiving the survey results directly, so we hope you will be open about how you see the future of the school.
  • We invite you to our monthly parent meeting on Tuesday, December 4 from 8-9 a.m. in the Conference Room of the 1929 Main Building. Board Chair John Hanichak will be available to discuss the Head of School search.

In the meantime, we would like to introduce the members of our Advisory Committee, who represent parents, alumnae/i, faculty, and staff in our school community.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Joe Walsh, Chair (parent)
Susan Benko (staff)
Alison Coulter (alum, parent, faculty)
Brian Dentinger (parent)
Anne Hill (alum, parent, former trustee)
Sapna Jos (staff)
Missy Leggat (alum, parent)
Jackie Paletta (parent)
Jim Riley (parent)
Marty Rubio (faculty)
Sunny Sims (alum)
Tom Sparks (parent)
Joe Sustar (spouse of alum, faculty)
Geeta Swaminathan (alum, parent)
Dawn Thomas (parent)
Jodi Zook (parent)

Dr. Jung and the Search Committee will be reviewing candidates’ materials in December and identifying semi-finalists in January. In February, the Search Committee along with the Advisory Committee will begin conducting interviews with our semi-finalists. Thank you for your support throughout this process.

We wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,
Beth Lenke, Chair, Head of School Search Committee                  
John J. Hanichak, Chair, Board of Trustees

November 8, 2012

Dear Sacred Heart Parents,

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School is pleased to introduce our Head of School Search Committee.

  • Beth Lenke, Chair (current parent, Board Vice-Chair)
  • Roger Cammon (current parent, trustee, former Vice-Chair)
  • Michelle Borst Hand ’88 (current parent, alum, trustee)
  • John Hanichak (past parent, Board Chair)
  • Susan Maxwell, RSCJ (former Provincial Team member, former Executive Director of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, former Head at Bloomfield Hills and Sheridan Road)
  • Lucy Hatton Schmidt ’72 (past parent, alum, trustee)

Richard Jung, Ed.D. with Education Access Strategies(EAS) will assist the committee with our national search. Dr. Jung is new to our school community, but worked with Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Maryland as well as Crossroads College Preparatory School in St. Louis. He has a firm grasp of our Independent school market having also served as Principal at John Burroughs School.

Our parents, students, alumnae/i, faculty, and staff are an integral part of the search process. Dr. Jung invites all parents to participate in a Listening Session scheduled:

Wednesday, November 14 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. in the Conference Room  

Please click here for a list of questions to help guide the sessions. What you share allows us to identify the leadership qualities and develop the Position Profile that will attract the best candidates.

TIMELINE FOR HEAD OF SCHOOL SEARCH COMMITTEE

  • November: Gather information from Leadership Team, faculty and staff, parents, students, alumnae/i, and other constituents
  • Early December: Complete Position Profile and market the position
  • January: Field candidates
  • February: Interview Semifinalists/Finalists on campus 
  • March: Make formal recommendation to the Board
  • April-June: Implement leadership transition
  • July 1, 2013: New Head of School begins

Sincerely,
John J. Hanichak, Chair
Board of Trustees
Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School
 

October 4, 2012

Dear Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill Community:

In 2009, Sr. Lucie Nordmann, RSCJ, graciously accepted our offer to be the interim Head of School. During that year, she agreed to accept a three-year contract which ends in June 2013.

We feel very blessed to begin a national search on the solid foundation that has been built for our students under Sr. Nordmann’s capable leadership. Much has been accomplished under her direction since July 2009:

  • Attracting and nurturing a superior school leadership team, faculty, and staff to continue our commitment to academic excellence.
  • Enlivening the spirit and mission of the Sacred Heart education we provide, including completion of the self-study and plan for improvements associated with the Sacred Heart Commission on Goals (SHCOG).
  • Restoring financial stability on which to build a successful future, including a breakeven budget since 2009-10.
  • Advancing the school to a record level of fund-raising, both in participation and contributions.
  • Completing many significant facilities and campus upgrades and improvements.
  • Updating and implementing our five-year strategic plan.

Sr. Nordmann has set ambitious goals for 2012-13, the achievement of which will further strengthen her legacy. Sr. Nordmann and the Board of Trustees will have ongoing discussions on what role she wishes to have in the future.

The Board of Trustees is on course with a defined process to identify and recruit a new Head of School who is committed to enhancing our outstanding educational program and will continue to address the many challenges. We are committed to an approach that will tap the skills, talents, and connections of our school community. The search committee will be led by our current Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mrs. Beth Lenke. The Board of Trustees will keep you informed of our steps and progress, and seek your help in identifying, recruiting, and transitioning the new Head of School, whose appointment will begin July 1, 2013.

We remain most grateful for the leadership and contributions of Sr. Nordmann in collaboration with the leadership team, faculty and staff, and friends of Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School. We hope that her plans for the future will continue to bless our school community. We are absolutely committed to attracting an outstanding successor who will build on all she has accomplished for our school and our students in fulfillment of our mission to transform the world, one child at a time. Please pray for God’s blessings on the success of our efforts, and know that we will keep you apprised as we progress.

Sincerely,
John J. Hanichak, Chair
Board of Trustees
Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

Questions?

Contact Beth Lenke,
Search Committee Chair
headsearch@vdoh.org

Downloads:

Guiding Questions for Listening Sessions (Nov. 8)

Letter from John Hanichak, Board Chair (Oct. 4)

Our Students


  • Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School
  • 801 South Spoede Road
  • Saint Louis, MO 63131-2699
  • (P) 314.432.2021
  • (F) 314.432.0199
powered by finalsite