Principal search committee seeks resilient candidate

Audrey Matzke, Assistant Editor

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By the end of winter quarter, the principal search committee plans to select a top candidate to forward to Director Charlie Abelmann, who will make the final decision.

Guided by recent discussions with outside consultants, the 10-person committee is seeking a replacement for current principal Stephanie Weber. Ms. Weber announced in November 2018 she would leave her position at the end of the school year.

The search process will begin with a series of video interviews with candidates to determine the finalists. These candidates will then visit campus, where they will demonstrate their communication and leadership skills through meeting with students, parents, faculty and staff.

“The plan is for the community to interact with finalists,” Assistant Director Carla Ellis said, noting the opportunity for wider involvement in the search process.

The committee is seeking resilient, community-minded candidates, according to Dr. Ellis, who is leading the committee.

The committee includes five administrators and five faculty members. Administrators are Assistant Principal Asra Ahmed, Dean of Students Ana Campos, Dean of Teaching and Learning Noah Rachlin, Athletic Director David Ribbens and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Priyanka Rupani. Faculty members are Laura Doto, learning coordinator; Sari Hernandez, English; Cindy Jurisson and Naadia Owens, history; and Fran Spaltro, world languages. Dr. Spaltro served as interim principal in 2015-16.

“The culture here is that people express their opinions from all angles,” Dr. Ellis said, and mentioned the importance of listening to difficult feedback.

Working alongside consultants from Carney Sandoe, the school outlined six desired qualities in a future principal: confidence, resilience, vision, curiosity, sensitivity to school cultures and ability to navigate complexity. According to the outline, the search committee is looking for candidates who both honor and challenge U-High’s existing customs.

Through conversations with consultants from Dialogos, the committee was made aware of U-High’s renewed interest in unity.

“We have different divisions, but we are the Laboratory Schools, so the ability to connect across divisions is important,” Dr. Ellis said.

In addition to desired qualities, Carney Sandoe helped the committee determine opportunities for growth within the school, which candidates should be eager to take on. Building trust between students and the administration is at the top of their list.