Head of School Search

From the Search Committee Co-chairs, August 3, 2022

Dear Tower Hill Community, 

With Bessie Speers’ announcement that she will be finishing her tenure at Tower Hill at the conclusion of the 2022-2023 school year, the Board of Trustees has begun the process of selecting our school’s next head. After extensive research and due diligence, we have chosen to partner with Resource Group 175 (RG175) to assist us in identifying our next head of school.

Composed exclusively of former heads of independent schools, RG175’s unique perspective and ability to listen deeply and distill the culture of a school will make them invaluable partners. RG175 consultants Bob HendersonMarcia Spiller and Hamilton Clark will help guide our process—seeking input from our school community, serving as coaches to our search committee and recruiting qualified candidates. Their early insights signal both their respect for Tower Hill’s tradition of excellence and their shared excitement at the prospect of viewing the search for a new head as a growth opportunity.

We also are pleased to share the news of the formation of our head of school search committee. This team will engage in a thoughtful, thorough, and confidential process to review and engage potential candidates to lead Tower Hill. While many independent school head search committees are composed solely of trustees, we deeply value the insights to be gained from the faculty and administrators who will serve on our search committee—bringing a depth and variety of experience and perspectives. Ultimately, the search committee will recommend to the Board of Trustees the next individual to lead the school.  

THS Head of School Search Committee Members:
  • Suzanne Ashley, co-chair, trustee, parent ’27, ’29, ’31
  • Gina Ward, co-chair, trustee, parent ’15, ’17, ’19
  • Dr. John Gavenonis, trustee, parent ’29, ’33
  • Catherine Miller, trustee, parent ’16, ’16, ’23
  • David Nowland ’85, trustee
  • Genelle Trader ’70, trustee
  • Carmen Wallace ’93, trustee
  • Lindsay Phelps Acevedo ’95, Director of College Counseling and Dean of Hiring & Recruitment, parent ’33, ’34
  • Michelle Coulter, Lower School Teaching and Learning Specialist, formerly Kindergarten Teacher, parent ’17, ’20
  • Patrick Kaiser ’02, Middle School History Teacher, Sixth Grade Class Dean, Head Boys’ Basketball Coach, Varsity/Middle School Baseball Coach, Middle School Football Coach
  • Bret Kroeger, Upper School Math Teacher, Director of Scheduling, Assistant Cross Country Coach, parent ’34, ’36
  • Matthew Twyman III ’88, Director of Upper School Admission and Financial Aid, Assistant Coach of Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field programs, Upper School Student Advisor, formerly Director of Alumni Relations and former trustee, parent ’25, ’25
The head of school search process now begins with the most important step of connecting with you, the Tower Hill community. Within the next few weeks, with the help of RG175, we will send out a survey seeking your perspectives on the school’s strengths and the opportunities for even greater success moving forward. 

In addition, our search consultants intend to be on campus in August and again in September to conduct interviews with faculty, administrators, trustees, parents, alumni and students—the results of which will provide valuable information used to write a position statement. This statement will be shared widely and is an initial step in the recruitment stage of our search. 
We appreciate your valuable input and will continue to share updates on an ongoing basis. We are fortunate to have Bessie's continued leadership through this academic year and Tower Hill's position of strength upon which to build. On behalf of the search committee, we encourage everyone to engage with this process at this significant time in Tower Hill’s history. 
For more information on our head of school search as it becomes available, please visit the THS Head of School Search webpage.

Thank you for your support and participation,

Suzanne Ashley & Gina Ward
Co-chairs, Head of School Search Committee



List of 7 items.

  • What is the role of the Board of Trustees in the search?

    A primary responsibility of the Board is the selection of and support of the Head of School. The Board will do so in the best interests of the full Tower Hill community. The detailed task of conducting the search is being undertaken by the Board designated Search Committee led by Gina Ward and Suzanne Ashley.
  • What is the role of the Search Committee?

    The Search Committee is responsible for leading the search for THS’s next Head of School with guidance and support from the RG175 consultants. With input from many different THS constituents, the search committee will work with RG175 to define the qualities required of the next Head of School. The Search Committee will review candidate files, conduct semi-finalists and finalists interviews, review community feedback on candidates, speak with multiple references and make a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Tower Hill’s Board of Trustees ultimately bears the responsibility for appointing the Head of School.
  • How were the Search Committee members selected?

    Search Committee members were selected by the Board Chair and the Committee Co-chairs in consultation with various stakeholders. Search Committee members share a deep appreciation for Tower Hill School’s history and mission along with a vision for the school’s future. They include individuals who offer a diverse set of experiences and points of view as well as a strong degree of commitment to, and involvement in, the school community.
  • What is the role of the search firm Research Group 175 (RG175) and how were they selected?

    After evaluating the experience and proposals of a number of qualified search firms specializing in the independent school arena, the Board has engaged Resource Group 175 (RG175) to assist the Search Committee. RG175 will partner closely with the Search Committee to identify THS’s needs, clarify expectations and recruit highly qualified candidates. As a consultancy focused exclusively on leadership and governance at independent and international schools, in the past five years alone, RG175 has completed more than 120 leadership searches for schools such as Lake Forest Country Day School (IL), Shady Hill School (MA), Shipley School (PA), St. Luke’s School (CT), St. Mark’s School (TX), and American International School of Johannesburg. RG175 consultants Bob Henderson, Marcia Spiller and Hamilton Clark will guide our process.
  • What is the scope of the search?

    The search for the new Head of School will have a broad national scope, seeking the most qualified candidates with a record of excellence and leadership. A primary goal is to make the search process as transparent as possible, with opportunities for community updates and feedback along the way. Confidentiality about individual candidates, however, remains a critical component for success. Some potential candidates may not be actively looking for a new position, and others may not want it known at their current institution that they are pursuing an interest in Tower Hill. As such, the Search Committee will keep the THS community informed and engaged throughout the search process while respecting the confidentiality of the recruitment process.
  • How will candidates be evaluated?

    Candidates will be evaluated against a position statement that will be written by RG175 based on community interviews and survey data.
  • How can the THS community at large participate in the search process?

    The THS community will be invited and strongly encouraged to participate in a survey designed by RG175. This survey will allow all constituents to share input about THS and the search process. This input will be instrumental to effectively define the leadership, professional and personal qualities required in the next head of school. In addition, the community is encouraged to stay engaged in the process by following updates sent from the Search Committee and posted to the THS website.  

Board of Trustees

Benjamin duPont ’82, Chair
Jack Flynn, M.D., ’81, Secretary
Marna Whittington, Ph.D., Treasurer

Suzanne Ashley
Kimberly Wright Cassidy, Ph.D.
Régis de Ramel
Robert DeSantis
Heather Richards Evans
John Gavenonis, Ph.D.
Laird Hayward ’02
Eric T. Johnson, M.D.
Henry Mellon
Catherine Miller
David Nowland ’85
Lisa A. Olson ’76
Matt Plumb
Kenneth A. Simpler
Isabella Speakman Timon ’92
Genelle Trader ’70
Carmen Wallace ’93
Gina Ward

Earl Ball, Ed.D., Emeritus