Miller House at nightWS

HEAD OF SCHOOL SEARCH

A Message from Headmaster John Thomas

Dear Flint Hill School Community,

While we are still in the midst of navigating this very productive but challenging school year, I wanted to share with you the news that, with sincere confidence that we are at a moment of tremendous success as a school, I have informed our Board of Trustees that I will retire in June of 2022.

The 2021-22 school year will mark my 17th year at Flint Hill, my 26th year as a headmaster and my 50th year in the field of education. While words cannot express how deeply I will miss this community, it is time. It is the right time for me to step away and have more time with my family and it is the right time for Flint Hill to benefit from new leadership.

We had originally envisioned making this announcement in the spring of 2021. However, with the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic, we felt it would be best to make this announcement now to give Flint Hill more time to conduct a comprehensive and successful national search. Flint Hill offers an amazing educational experience, and like you, I want us to find the right person to step in and join our School family as we move forward into a very exciting future ahead.

I have been honored to serve this School family each and every day since I began my journey at Flint Hill. It is exciting to think about all that we have accomplished together. And throughout it all, we have kept our focus on making our approach to teaching absolutely student-centered. It has been a privilege to engage with so many talented students, and watch them blaze their own amazing trails. The poise and confidence of all the students who attend Flint Hill is worthy of praise.

It has also been awe-inspiring to witness and benefit from the innovative mindset of our faculty and staff members. Their passion, drive, and warm, caring approach make them deeply respected mentors to countless students. And I have been inspired by working with Trustees who continue to be visionary stewards of our mission, vision and core values. I have had the opportunity to learn from and with four incredible Board chairs. And, without question, I will always cherish the relationships and friendships I have been fortunate to build with our committed parents. That partnership is one of the great joys of my career.

At the same time, I know I need more time to spend with my family. I will be forever grateful to my amazing wife, Emily, for allowing me to serve in this role in the way that I believe is best. She has been incredibly patient and understanding as I have invested so much time, attention and energy into my commitment to Flint Hill. Emily has supported me throughout various moves around the country throughout my career, and while she was a very successful teacher herself, she was willing to uproot our family at various points and continuously build a loving home for me and our boys at each step in our family’s journey. But it has been a sacrifice for sure, and it’s time for us to spend more quality time together, with our children, and our amazing grandchildren. They are scattered throughout the United States, and it is time for us to travel and follow the advice I have always given people here at school, “family first.”

Throughout this transition period, I will continue to embrace the energy, creativity and collaborative nature of our wonderful School. I know that the relationships that we have built with each other will continue, and the joy I take each day in watching our Huskies blaze those trails on their individual journeys will always remain.

June of 2022 may be my last month to be with you on a daily basis, but Flint Hill will be in my heart forever. And please join me in thanking my wife Emily for her loving support over the years.

Best wishes to you! GO HUSKIES!

Sincerely,

John M. Thomas
Headmaster

A Message from Board of Trustees Chair Pia Trigiani

Dear Flint Hill Community,

It has been my privilege to know and work with John Thomas over the past several years, first as a Trustee and now as Board chair. John has been a compassionate, dedicated servant-leader who has helped shape Flint Hill as both an innovative, dynamic academic institution and a vibrant, caring community.

Under John’s leadership, Flint Hill’s accomplishments have been significant. Through the strategic planning process, we introduced a new vision for every student, which has become a common refrain for members of our community. With the launch of our Innovation Program, we have seen our academic offerings expand in robotics, cybersecurity, makers, computer science and more. We have made tremendous strides in affirming our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we have continued to strengthen our relationship with Apple, a relationship that has been instrumental in our students’ and faculty’s ability to continue academic programming through remote learning.

We have strengthened relationships with our alumni – both Falcon and Husky — and formed connections with the neighbors surrounding our campus. We launched and completed the historic Momentum campaign, which resulted in the construction of the new Peterson Middle School, and many improvements to the newly re-named Hazel Lower School. And we completed a comprehensive branding process to solidify our institutional identity and claim our position in an increasingly competitive market.  John’s tireless support, encouragement and active presence have enabled Flint Hill to build upon its legacy of curiosity and innovation and take it to new heights.

John believes in leading visibly and whole-heartedly. He’s at every home game, play, concert and admission event, usually holding the door for attendees before taking a seat to watch or offer remarks. He even has a regular presence in the crosswalk during morning carpool at the Lower School. For nearly 17 years he has been the perfect embodiment of Flint Hill’s dynamism, excellence and humility. With his wife Emily’s support and encouragement, John’s legacy is strongly embedded in this wonderful community. There is truly no one like him.

As we turn our attention to the important work of choosing Flint Hill’s next head of school, we are confident that Flint Hill will attract qualified applicants nationwide and that we will have a strong pool of candidates to consider. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to assure you that choosing a leader who will move Flint Hill forward while maintaining the identity and spirit of the School we all love is our mission over the coming months. With that goal in mind, we have asked Liza Wright Renner, chair of the Committee on Trustees and a partner with Lochlin Partners, a world class corporate executive search firm, the mom of two lifelong Huskies and past president of the Parents’ Association, to chair the committee that will lead the search to identify a worthy successor for consideration by the Board of Trustees. After the holidays, we will provide more details concerning the Board’s plan for identifying John’s successor to join Flint Hill in the 2022-23 academic year.

The announcement of John’s retirement is an important milestone as we both honor John and choose Flint Hill’s next leader. We will have many opportunities to thank and celebrate John and Emily who have both given generously to Flint Hill. We are grateful that we will continue to benefit from John’s leadership during the next year and a half. I know we will be together to commemorate the John Thomas years and welcome our next leader in the new year.

Best wishes for safe, happy and healthy holidays.

Very Truly Yours,

Lucia Anna (Pia) Trigiani
Chair, Board of Trustees

 

 

Updates to the Community

Dear Flint Hill Community,
 
Since the announcement last month that our beloved Head of School, John Thomas, will retire in June 2022, the Board of Trustees has taken steps to begin the search for his successor. It is our intention to provide periodic reports on our progress and this communication is our first — we have formed a Search Committee and engaged an executive search consultant to work with us to identify qualified candidates to lead Flint Hill School.

Search Committee

The Head of School Search Committee is charged with identifying candidates, reviewing qualifications, conducting interviews, and recommending finalists from which the Board of Trustees will select John Thomas’s successor. The Committee will work directly with our search consultant.
 

Serving on the Committee is important service that requires a generous commitment of time. In establishing the Committee, we are guided by the Flint Hill anthem of intentional and strategic thinking. Our goal is to ensure full representation of the Flint Hill community in the process – with the primary goal of involving members of the Board, many of whom are parents of current students and alumni, and members of the Flint Hill faculty and administration.

 
The Search Committee members are:
 
Liza Wright Renner
Search Committee Chair
Trustee & Committee on Trustees Chair
Hugh E. Taylor
Trustee & Investment Committee Chair
Michael P. Corkery
Trustee & Vice Chair
Lucia Anna (Pia) Trigiani
Trustee & Board Chair
Harry Edward Dean III
Trustee & Development Committee Chair
Anne D. Peterson
Assistant Head of School for Finance & Operations, Flint Hill School
Lisa R. Lisker
Trustee & Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Chair
Mia T. Burton
Director of Institutional Equity & Inclusion, Flint Hill School
Gary D. Rappaport
Trustee, Treasurer, & Finance Committee Chair
Emily Sanderson
Director of Studies, Flint Hill School
 
The Committee brings to this task extensive knowledge of, and deep commitment to Flint Hill, a remarkable diversity of experience and perspectives, and the shared commitment to identifying a leader to ensure continuity and the capacity to build on the solid foundation that is the hallmark of John Thomas’s 16 years at Flint Hill — strong academic and extracurricular programs that focus on the full development of students.

Search Consultant

After considering proposals from eight different search firms, the Board selected Resource Group 175 (RG175), to guide the search. RG175 is a national firm comprised of 16 highly successful, long-serving heads of school. The firm enjoys a stellar reputation and an impressive success rate.
 
The RG175 consultants who will work with the Committee are Thomas P. Olverson and Deborah E. Reed. Tom and Debbie bring a great breadth and depth of experience and knowledge to the task of recruiting a strong and diverse pool of candidates. The Search Committee will be staffed by Associate Director of Institutional Advancement and Board Liaison at Flint Hill School, Bridget Montagne.

Timeline and Community Input

The Search Committee will begin work immediately. The first phase of work will focus on soliciting and considering input from the Flint Hill community to inform the search. There will be ample time and opportunities to ensure thoughtful and thorough input. Some of these opportunities may be through in-person meetings (according to Flint Hill physical distancing guidelines) or virtual meetings with specific constituent groups; other opportunities may be through online surveys designed to invite community perspective on important criteria for the search and insights into Flint Hill and our culture. We believe it is important to ensure that all members of the Flint Hill community are given an avenue to submit thoughts and feedback. We look forward to your input.
 
John Thomas has given us many gifts, even now in the selection of his successor – the gift of time. After the announcement to his colleagues and the greater community, John is pleased to get back to the work of educating our students. He and his wife, Emily, have been buoyed by the expression of good thoughts and well wishes (you are encouraged to keep them coming!) John will be with us through the 2021-2022 academic year, so we are in the enviable position of having time and resources to dedicate to this search. We anticipate that most of our work will be completed in the summer of 2021 with an announcement in the fall of 2021. The Board is committed to appointing a new head of school to join Flint Hill no later than July 1, 2022.
 
Committee work will necessarily remain confidential throughout the search process. Complete confidentiality is essential in order to recruit the strongest candidates. As the search progresses, and as appropriate, we will provide updates to the Flint Hill community. Communications about the search will be accessible on the Flint Hill website under “About” in the website navigation under “Head of School Search.”

Nominations and Contact with the Search Committee

The Committee welcomes nominations of possible candidates or any other information you wish to provide for Committee consideration. Please forward nominations or contact the Committee at searchcommittee@flinthill.org.
 
The selection of the head of school is the Board’s most important responsibility. With the support of a capable Search Committee, we are confident that the opportunity to lead our school will attract outstanding candidates. We look forward to recruiting an exceptional new leader for Flint Hill School.
 
The Board is deeply grateful to the faculty, staff, and administration for the continued focus on student success – advancing the core mission of Flint Hill School of service to our children and the community.
 
For Flint Hill,

Lucia Anna (Pia) Trigiani 
Chair, Board of Trustees 
Liza Wright Renner
Chair, Search Committee
Pattern Right

Position Statement

Search Committee Members:

 

Liza Wright Renner
Search Committee Chair
Trustee & Committee on Trustees Chair

Hugh E. Taylor
Trustee & Investment Committee Chair

Michael P. Corkery
Trustee & Vice Chair

Lucia Anna (Pia) Trigiani
Trustee & Board Chair

Harry Edward Dean III
Trustee & Development Committee Chair

Anne D. Peterson
Assistant Head of School for Finance & Operations, Flint Hill School

Lisa R. Lisker
Trustee & Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Chair

Mia T. Burton
Director of Institutional Equity & Inclusion, Flint Hill School

Gary D. Rappaport
Trustee, Treasurer, & Finance Committee Chair

Emily Sanderson
Director of Studies, Flint Hill School