Posted at 20:18h
in School News
After a carefully planned and systematically executed process, the Search Committee identified John Zurn from a national pool of twenty-one top candidates as its unanimous choice to be nominated to the Board as the next Head of School. The Board enthusiastically and unanimously accepted the nomination at a special meeting that was held on October 16, 2013.
John comes to St. Michael’s from the Pegasus School, a school for bright and gifted children in Huntington Beach, California. Prior to his tenure at Pegasus, John spent 20 years at St. John’s Episcopal, a K-8 school in Olney, MD. During his time in Maryland, John’s accomplishments included doubling enrollment, expanding facilities to accommodate the additional students and increasing annual giving by an order of magnitude. In 2009, the last year of John’s tenure, St. John’s Episcopal was recognized by the National Association of Independent Schools as one of twenty model schools from around the world for its Global Education Resources Program.
A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, John attended the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Williams College where he earned a B.A. in English, and the University of Pennsylvania where he earned an M.S. in Educational Leadership. In 2006 he attended the Head’s Fellowship program at Columbia University’s Klingenstein Institute. He has served on independent school boards and the boards of several school associations through his career. John has two adult children, Josh and Alexander. He enjoys squash, basketball, sailing, and travel. He is a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies.
We look forward to welcoming John to the St. Michael’s community in July of 2014 when he will assume the reins from Whitney Slade, the longest serving Head in our school’s 75 years. Whitney has been an inspirational and transformative leader over the last 16 years. The impressions that Whitney leaves on our campus, curriculum and culture are indelible and our gratitude for his service is enormous. His tireless devotion to the faculty and his unwavering dedication to the children are the hallmarks of his tenure. We will plan opportunities in the coming months to celebrate our time with Whitney and his wife Ellen and to thank them for their contributions to St. Michael’s.
At the outset of this search, the Board was committed to seeking the counsel and guidance of the entire school community – parents, faculty, administration, staff, alumni, students and trustees. Your input was highly valued and greatly appreciated as the Search Committee went about its due diligence and your participation was critical to our success. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Search Committee members – Lauren Abraham, Karen Andrade, Bethany Di Napoli, John Dunn, Tamara Farrick, Ken Hileman, David Howe, Mary LoPresti, Cory Plumb, Molly de Ramel, Becky Smith, and Bob Tavares – for the many hours and seemingly infinite energy that they devoted to this process.
While the applicant pool was impressive, John stood out as the candidate that most completely met the expectations of our community, the needs of our school and our collective vision of the future. In his cover letter to the Search Committee John wrote,
“I want to work in a school that celebrates its traditions with pride, but that also embraces the challenges of the future with urgency. I want to work in a school that challenges its community to lead. I want to engage people in a discussion about what makes a great school and how we discipline ourselves to get there.”
We trust these words will resonate with the school community much as they did with the committee. They closely reflect the position statement that was developed for this search as well as the goals and values expressed by the Mission and Philosophy statements of St. Michael’s.
With Mr. Zurn leading the way, we are certain that our future will be bright and that St. Michael’s Country Day School will continue proudly and successfully on its mission of excellence.