Head of School Search
- September 2023: Update from Board President Patricia Hatler
- June 2023: Letter from Head of School Chris Cheney
- June 2023: Letter from Board President Patricia Hatler
Dear KHS Community,
In June, Kents Hill School announced that following an impactful tenure as Kents Hill School’s leader, Head of School Chris Cheney has decided to step down at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year.
As noted in June, David Greene, President of Colby College and a KHS Trustee and parent (‘20), has agreed to lead the search process. In addition, I am very pleased to report that Camille McGadney, also a KHS Trustee and parent (‘23) has agreed to serve as Vice-Chair of the Search Committee. We are finalizing the full membership of the Search Committee and will announce those names shortly. The Search Committee will hear from many members of our community and will include school Trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents. The Search Committee expects to recommend one or two candidates to the Board of Trustees for final decision.
Over the summer, we considered proposals from several search firms, and then we interviewed the firms with the four strongest proposals. Trustees David Greene, Camille McGadney, David Rhodes (‘69), and I interviewed the principals of all four firms. Each firm had considerable experience in the independent and boarding school worlds and had thoughtfully designed processes for carrying out searches. They all had admirable records of success in their placements. After our interviews, in August we decided to engage the Storbeck Search firm.
The Storbeck team will be led by Staci Williams Seeley and Matthew Marsallo. Staci is a graduate of Bowdoin and earned her master’s degree at Brown University. She is the former board chair of an independent school and is married to the head of an independent school in NYC. Matthew is a graduate of Hamilton and has a master’s degree from Columbia University. He worked in admissions and development at independent schools and at Columbia before joining the search firm. The Storbeck team has worked with a wide range of schools across the country, including Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Gilman School, Miss Hall’s, Miss Porter’s, Putney School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfield Academy, Hockaday School, William Penn Charter, St. Paul’s, Pomfret, Pingree, Phillips Academy Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Lawrenceville, to name a few. They have an excellent track record in developing diverse and talented pools and placing leaders who succeed and stay at their new institutions.
Immediate next steps in the search process will be to finalize a new Head of School position description and to have Storbeck consult with Trustees, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and students to identify the key attributes and experiences we need in our next Head. Storbeck will be spending time on campus and is already identifying potential candidates. We expect the Search Committee to commence formal interviews in October. We continue to be on a timeline to finish the search by the end of the calendar year, understanding that all searches have their own rhythm and it could be shorter or longer depending on many variables.
I will be back in touch with you later this fall.
Patricia Hatler, P ’08
President, Kents Hill School Board of Trustees
Dear Kents Hill School Community:
With Head of School Christopher Cheney’s announcement that the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year will be his last at Kents Hill, I write on behalf of the Board of Trustees to thank him for his remarkable service and share some information about the Board’s next steps.
We are grateful for all Chris has done to position Kents Hill for continued excellence and success. His leadership includes navigating the uncharted waters of the COVID pandemic, working with the Trustees to develop our Bicentennial Strategic Plan that will anchor our third century of education in Maine, recruiting and guiding a talented and dedicated leadership team, and strengthening both our academic programs and our community life. We wish Chris and his family the very best as they begin their next chapter.
Our Board of Trustees is launching a search for our next Head of School — the 21st Head in the 200 years since Kents Hill School opened in 1824. We will be looking for a new Head of School who can continue our tradition of strong academics amid uncommon community and who will shape the next chapter of a Kents Hill education pursuant to the Bicentennial Strategic Plan. This Head of School will be the person to lead Kents Hill School into our third century of education and our students into their 21st century adult lives and careers.
Trustee David Greene, a Kents Hill parent and the President of Colby College, has agreed to lead our search. The Board of Trustees is committed to a search process that includes input from trustees, parents, students, faculty and staff, alumni, and other members of the Kents Hill community.
We will keep you informed of our progress.
With Warm Regards,
Patricia R. Hatler, P ’08
President, Kents Hill School Board of Trustees