Head of School Search

From the Board Chair, Jan. 2, 2023

Dear Tower Hill Community, 
I am delighted to announce that Sarah D. A. Baker has been appointed the Head of Tower Hill School, effective July 1, 2023.
Already a trusted member of the Tower Hill community as Head of the Upper School, Sarah has developed valuable experience working effectively with faculty, staff, students and parents. Sarah is poised to leverage that experience to build upon Tower Hill’s many strengths and the successful leadership of current Head of School Bessie Speers.
The Search Committee, composed of parents, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni, recommended Sarah to the Board of Trustees after an extensive and inclusive process yielding an outstanding national and international pool of talented candidates. Based on feedback from the school community gathered through meetings, surveys and interviews, the Search Committee sought a collaborative academic leader with a deep understanding of independent schools and a strategic vision for Tower Hill’s future. 
Sarah grew up in Philadelphia, attended Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, PA, where she was class Valedictorian, and went on to graduate summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University. She started her teaching career at Agnes Irwin School teaching both Latin and History to Middle and Upper School students before returning to her alma mater in 2007 to work in the Development Office on the Ever Episcopal campaign, working to raise the capital to finance Episcopal Academy’s new campus. In 2010, Sarah moved to Episcopal’s academic divisions, becoming Upper School Form Dean, and later in 2014, being appointed Chair of the English Department.
Sarah completed her Master’s Degree in Education in the Independent School Leadership Program at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, and she continues to serve as an Associate Instructor and mentor in the program. In 2016, Sarah became the Assistant Head of the Upper School at Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia. After a successful five years in that role, she came to Tower Hill School to serve in her current role, where she leads all aspects of the Upper School. An educator at heart, Sarah has continued to teach each year even as she progressed through her various administrative roles.
In accepting the position, Sarah said: “I am deeply honored to lead Tower Hill into the next phase of its tradition of excellence and to build upon the gains that Bessie Speers has made for the school in her eight year tenure as Head of School. While Tower Hill has already stolen my heart, it will be my great privilege to enter into my leadership of the school with the mind of a learner, eager to listen to students, faculty and staff, parents and alumni to ensure that Tower Hill remains a school where each student is known, seen and fully served. My husband Scott Adams and I greet with excitement and true gratitude the opportunity to raise our children, Cover ’36 and Alice, as Hillers and to devote our family’s full energies to the stewardship of this marvelous school.”

Sarah will be the eleventh Head of School in Tower Hill’s 103-year history. She has a true respect for Tower Hill’s traditions, and will further our commitment to innovation and excellence in the region and nationally.
I would like to thank the Search Committee for their focused and thoughtful work. We are also grateful to the students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters who shared their valuable perspectives throughout the process.
Bessie’s leadership and vision has lifted Tower Hill in tremendous ways to position the school as a school of Wilmington and of the world, celebrating a student-centered culture, academic excellence, inclusion and public purpose. Bessie will continue to lead the school for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year and will work directly with Sarah to ensure a smooth leadership transition. We will celebrate Bessie’s extraordinary leadership later this spring; as was announced last June, the Speers family will move to Concord, MA as Bessie becomes the Head of Middlesex School.

We look forward to welcoming Sarah, Scott, Cover and Alice to Hayward House this summer. 
Ben duPont
Chair, Board of Trustees

Head of School Search Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 6 items.

  • How can the THS community at-large participate in the search process?

    The THS community was invited to participate in a survey designed by RG175. The survey allowed all constituents to share input about THS and the search process. The input was instrumental to effectively defining 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.
  • How will candidates be evaluated?

    Candidates will be evaluated against the position statement written by RG175 based on community interviews and survey data.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Position Statement

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