Dear Meridian School Community,
I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to serve as your Head of School next year. Over the past few weeks I have spoken with faculty, trustees, and parents, and their love for this very special community is palpable. I am inspired by the shared values that shaped every conversation I had – an uncompromising commitment to the unique academic, social, and emotional development of each student, to equity and inclusion, and to community stewardship and civic engagement. These mirror my own convictions, personally and professionally.
The past year has tested the fabric of all communities. Our country, city, and families have faced difficult challenges – racial and political reckoning, financial instability, and a havoc-wreaking pandemic. But with every storm comes a parting of the skies when rays of light appear, lifting our hearts and spirits. It’s this promise of a brighter future, evidenced every day in the joyful faces of Meridian students that energizes and guides our work. I am grateful to Meghan, the faculty, staff, trustees, and parents who have stewarded the enduring legacy of Meridian School with care, and I am humbled to offer my contribution as well. Meridian’s mission – cultivating a balance of mind and heart to nurture caring and confident learners prepared to thrive in and contribute to their local and global communities – is more vital and valued now than ever.
With a 30-year career in independent schools, including nearly a decade as Head of School, I understand the importance of strong, experienced leadership during times of change. I am eager to work in partnership with Meridian’s inspiring and talented faculty and staff, as we move toward a “new normal” following this most unusual, challenging year. I look forward to supporting the important work of the school during this period of leadership transition. Most of all, I am filled with excitement about getting to know the children and families at Meridian, and serving a community that means so much to so many.
With gratitude and anticipation,
We have assembled a search committee comprising a broad spectrum of the Meridian
community, including trustee parents and alum, administrators, and faculty. The committee
Additionally Andrew Beers, Chair of the Meridian Board, and Elizabeth Hodgson, Assistant Head
of School, will be assisting the search process.
May 2021 (Discovery)
June 2021 (Candidate Recruitment/Assessment)
July 2021 (Dossier Delivery)
August 2021 (Candidate Selection)
September 2021 (Semi-finalist Phase)
October 2021 (Finalist Phase)
November 2021 (Offer made/accepted)
December 2021 (Head of School Announced)
Jan-July 2022 (Transition Phase)
The Search Committee is excited to share the Opportunity Statement, which will focus our search for the future full-time Head of School. The document was drafted from Carney Sandoe & Associates’ extensive discovery process with the Meridian community and it reflects perspectives and priorities from each Meridian constituency.
The Opportunity Statement will be shared proactively by Carney Sandoe & Associates with potential candidates as well as posted in appropriate educational forums and on the Meridian employment page. Please feel free to circulate the PDF (linked) or Meridian employment page link if you have friends or colleagues who are leaders in K-5 education or know people who are.
Thank you again to everyone who participated in the search firm interviews and completed the survey. Over the summer the Search Committee will be reviewing candidate dossiers and conducting interviews. We plan to provide intermittent updates on progress. We’re excited about this journey and believe we have a robust process that will deliver an amazing leader. From the outset we’ve prioritized inclusivity and transparency in the process and would welcome suggestions or feedback to continuously improve our delivery on those promises.
Andrew Bleiman, Taylor Kanemori, and the Meridian Search Committee
The Search Committee is grateful for the community’s engagement in this process, frank observations and comments, and expressions of support for the school and excitement about our future.
A few teachers were able to lead their classes through a worksheet on what they love about Meridian. Carney Sandoe and Associates were able to incorporate that into the opportunity statement alongside the survey data. The picture below is a great reminder that our students understand the heart of the matter!
*Opportunity Statement: An engaging description of the school, its programs, culture, mission, and values, intended to attract a diverse candidate pool. At the same time, the opportunity statement must paint a realistic picture of the ways in which a school wants and needs to move forward and the skills and qualities candidates will need in order to do so.
*Implicit Bias: “Unconscious prejudice in favor of or against a person or group, compared with another person or group, usually in a way to be considered unfair.” – Lawrence Alexander, II (Carney, Sandoe and Associates)
Taylor Kanemori and Andrew Bleiman
Search Committee Co-chairs
The Search Committee in partnership with Carney Sandoe & Associates (CS&A) continues to make progress on the long-term Head of School search.
CS&A is halfway through their discovery process, a critical piece of which is the community-wide survey. Parents, faculty, staff, and alumni are all encouraged to complete this survey between now and Sunday, May 16th. Results will be shared with the entire community and will directly inform the Opportunity Statement, a comprehensive job description for the new head of school.
Survey Link – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MeridianSchoolSurvey
The survey should take 7-10 minutes.
We have the following progress updates to share:
As you know, Meghan will be stepping down in June and Tracy Bennett will assume the position of interim Head of School on July 1. Tracy brings great depth and breadth of educational and leadership experience and resonance with Meridian’s mission and values. Of course, we remain deeply grateful to Meghan for her six years of service to our school and will recognize her contributions later this spring.
The Board has appointed Andrew Bleiman and Taylor Kanemori to co-chair the Search Committee that is charged with driving the search for our next long-term head of school to start in the fall of 2022. Taylor, is the Director of Equity & Inclusion at Seattle Academy, a proud Meridian alum, has served on the Board for six years, has led our E&I committee for nearly all of that time, and brings valuable perspective as a leader at an independent school. Andrew is a business and conservation leader, who serves on the Governance Committee on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Aquarium and the Leadership Council for Upwardly Global, an organization that helps recent immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers find fulfilling employment in the United States. He is the parent of a second grader, Avery.
I’m confident that their work will result in an amazing head of school for Meridian. Below, they introduce themselves and talk more about the process.
As Co-chairs of the search committee to identify Meghan’s successor, we would like to share with you our progress in this process.
After interviewing highly qualified search firms as a search committee, we have retained Carney Sandoe & Associates to assist us in this process. The firm is nationally recognized as a leader in recruiting Heads and other senior administrators at independent schools around the country. We will be represented by CS&A Senior Search Consultants John Faubert and Janet Durgin, both with extensive search and school experience, and Associate Search Consultant and member of the CS&A Diversity and Equity practice, Brandon Jacobs.
We have assembled a search committee comprising a broad spectrum of the Meridian community, including trustee parents and alum, administrators, and faculty. The committee includes:
Additionally Andrew Beers, Chair of the Meridian Board, and Elizabeth Hodgson, Assistant Head of School, will be assisting the search process.
The search committee’s role is to select and recommend a candidate to the Board of Trustees for approval. It will be the responsibility of the search committee to work with Carney Sandoe to screen and evaluate candidates and to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, which will make a final decision on the successful candidate. Our expectation is that this process will lead to an announcement of our next Head of School by late fall.
We are committed to an inclusive and transparent process and plan to update the community frequently, including a dedicated page on our website where you will be able to find all relevant information and related documents. Thank you for your trust and partnership.
Note that we plan to send frequent updates about the progress of the search throughout this process as well as maintaining a Meridian HOS search webpage with an up-to-date timetable, highlights, and new information.
Please feel free to contact Taylor or Andrew as we begin this very important process of identifying our next Head of School. We are excited to kick off this process with the community and committed to finding a leader who continues the work of championing and elevating our mission and values.