By Avidan Shah ’21
Pingry’s headmaster, Mr. Nathaniel Conard, announced his resignation this past June after a 13-year tenure. Headmaster Conard has made leaps and bounds towards improving our school and the quality of life for Pingry students, one of his greatest achievements being the extremely successful Blueprint for the Future campaign, which raised a record 75 million dollars.
With his departure, Pingry has launched a full-scale search for its next headmaster. The search is currently spearheaded by a committee comprised of Board of Trustees members Stuart Lederman, Katharine Wyman Procter, Arlyn Davich, Jeffrey Edwards, Denise Grant, Dev Ittycheria, and Steven Lipper. Mr. Lederman and Mrs. Procter are co-chairing this committee.
In terms of seeking out prospective candidates, it is a multi-step process. The executive search and leadership consulting firm Spencer Stuart has been hired by the committee to aid Pingry in its search. Upper School Director Ananya Chatterji explains why this firm was hired, saying that, “They identify great candidates. The search firm’s job is to identify who the best people would be [for a position].”
The firm will factor in many different variables when looking for a new headmaster, including the results from the survey that was sent out to all students. This survey asked students what qualities they expected from the next headmaster, as well as what skills they have developed the most while at Pingry and what resources they have utilized the most. The firm also took private meetings with members of the Honor Board and the senior Student Government to have conversations about what they would like to see change in the school as student leaders.
Naturally, the firm has many connections and contacts with potential candidates at different schools. They are in contact with people whom they believe would be viable options for the job. Spencer Stuart has also put together a position description where candidates can reach out to the firm and apply themselves, rather than being contacted by the firm. The firm is currently still compiling its list; once it is complete, they will present the Search Committee with their final portfolio of potential candidates whom the school will then interview.
When asked if any candidates at Pingry were being considered for the position, Dean Chatterji explains, “Spencer Stuart does what is called a ‘closed search’, meaning they do not publicize the names of the candidates that are in the pool.” With that said, candidates from within Pingry is a possibility.
After rounds of interviews, the entire Board of Trustees will make the final decision, advised by the Search Committee. This arduous process will be complete by the end of the school year. At that point, the final choice for the Head of School will be publicized to the student body, faculty, and staff.