Head of School Search

Candidate Biographies

List of 2 items.

  • Candidate #2 - Michael Wirtz

    Michael Wirtz
    Candidate for Head of School at Tower Hill School
    Visiting December 6-8

    Mike Wirtz is visiting Tower Hill School from Tarrytown, New York where, since July 2016, he has been the Head of School at the Hackley School, a K-12 coeducational day and boarding school, enrolling 855 students.

    Mike grew up in Mentor, Ohio and graduated from Mentor High School. He was inspired by an eighth grade science teacher and, after graduation, pursued a chemistry degree at Ohio University where he graduated in 1997 summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.

    After first working as a scientist at Pfizer, Inc., Mike started his teaching career as a chemistry teacher at Montgomery Academy in Montgomery, Alabama in 1999 and, after two years, relocated to Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts where he taught for nine years. In 2006, Mike received his Master’s Degree in Education Policy, Planning and Administration from Boston University, and a year later Mike was named Head of the Science Department at Concord.

    Three years later, in 2010, Mike was appointed Assistant Head and Dean of Faculty at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts. He was involved in every aspect of the program and operations of the school during his six year tenure, including leading the development of the school’s STEM initiatives culminating in the development of curricula, programs and the construction of a new building.  

    Mike is completing his seventh year as Head of Hackley School. During his tenure, Mike has led the school through a successful strategic planning cycle, and Hackley has enjoyed considerable success in implementing Redefining Excellence, Hackley's strategic plan, as well as fundraising, diversity, equity and inclusion programming.

    Mike and his wife, Hilary, have two school age children; they are very excited to meet the Tower Hill community and to have the opportunity to learn more about the school.
  • Candidate #1 - Sarah Baker

    Sarah Baker
    Candidate for Head of School at Tower Hill School
    Visiting December 4-6

    The first of the three finalists to meet with the Tower Hill School community is an individual who is well known to many of you: Sarah Baker, Tower Hill’s Head of Upper School. She will “visit” with us on Monday and Tuesday, December 5 and 6.

    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 where she majored in History and minored in Latin and Developmental Psychology.  She started her teaching career at Agnes Irwin School and taught both Latin and History to Middle and Upper School students.

    Sarah returned to her alma mater in 2007 to work in the Development Office where she coordinated the Ever Episcopal campaign, raising 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 moved to Tower Hill School in 2021 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.

    Sarah and her husband, Scott Adams, as well as their two children have greatly enjoyed living in Wilmington over these past 17 months. Sarah is honored to present herself as your first Head of School candidate.


From the Search Committee Co-chairs, November 23, 2022


Dear Tower Hill Community,

We’re pleased to provide an update on the search for Tower Hill’s next Head of School.
 
Our search process yielded a pool of applicants of exceptional quality, a testament to Tower Hill’s strength and desirability. After a rigorous and careful selection process from this applicant pool, the Search Committee hosted six semi-finalist candidates for interviews this past weekend. From that group, the Search Committee identified three finalists who will be visiting campus in December. Our finalist candidates have extensive experience as educators and administrators in an independent school environment and represent a range of backgrounds and areas of expertise.  
 
All of our finalists welcome the opportunity to fully engage with our community with transparency and candor. We will host our three finalists on campus on the following dates:
  • Candidate Visit #1: December 4-6
  • Candidate Visit #2: December 6-8
  • Candidate Visit #3: December 11-13
Out of respect for the candidates' confidentiality given their professional responsibilities at their current schools, we will not reveal their names until closer to each visit–at which point the candidate’s name and a professional bio will be shared with the community and published on our Head Search website.
 
We remain committed to ensuring an inclusive search that reflects the mission and values of our community. To that end, all parents and all faculty and staff, among others, will be invited to attend a session with each of our candidates on campus during their respective visits. Faculty and staff will receive invitations to meet with the finalists in the coming days.
 
An email for parents to RSVP will be forthcoming; in the meantime, parents, please save the dates below. We strongly encourage you to come to campus to meet the candidates in person. A Zoom option will also be available, although the ability to engage by Zoom will be more limited.
  • Candidate #1: December 5: 8-9:00 a.m. parent session
  • Candidate #2: December 7: 8-9:00 a.m. parent session
  • Candidate #3: December 12: 8-9:00 a.m. parent session
Everyone who meets with our finalists will be invited to take part in an anonymous survey to provide valuable feedback to the Search Committee.  
 
Together, we want to ensure that we put our best foot forward with each of the candidates, and we thank you in advance for your partnership in this important work. During these visits, and as we work to identify the candidate who best fits our aspirations for the future, it will be an opportunity to showcase our commitment to excellence and all that makes Tower Hill so special.  
 
Once the campus visits are complete and additional feedback from the community is considered, the Search Committee will present a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, which ultimately is responsible for the appointment of our next Head of School.   
 
We look forward to introducing our finalist candidates to the Tower Hill community, and they look forward to meeting you. Thank you for your continued support of our school.
 
Best regards,
 
THS Head of School Search Committee 
Suzanne Ashley, Co-chair, trustee, parent ’27, ’29, ’31
Gina Ward, Co-chair, trustee, parent ’15, ’17, ’19


  
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