Introducing Collegiate's 29th Head of School

With excitement, we'd like to introduce you to David S. Lourie, whom the Board of Trustees has unanimously appointed as Collegiate’s 29th Head of School, following the unanimous recommendation of the Search Committee. Mr. Lourie will succeed Dr. Lee Levison as of July 1, 2020.
 
Mr. Lourie currently serves as Head of School of St. Anne’s-Belfield, a pre-K-through-12 day-and-boarding school of 900 students in Charlottesville, Virginia, a position he has held for more than a decade. Mr. Lourie, himself the product of a boys’ school, has also served as the Head of two other schools, while also teaching, coaching, and directing theater. Before describing Mr. Lourie’s background further, I want to share some details about the search that led to his appointment.
 
The Head of School Search Process
 
The Board commenced the search process in December 2018 following Dr. Levison’s announcement that he would retire effective June 30, 2020, after 14 years of exemplary leadership as our Headmaster. The timing of Dr. Levison’s announcement afforded the Board the opportunity to conduct a thorough search for his successor in which the widest range of potential candidates would be available for consideration. The appointment of Mr. Lourie now ensures ample time for an orderly transition.
 
The Search Committee was comprised of 10 individuals: Ethan Berman, Parent of Alumni (’15, ’17), current Trustee, and Chair of the Board Admissions and Financial Aid Committee; Ali Bhanji (2011), Director of College Guidance; Jerry Bright ’93, former Trustee, former President and current Chairman of the Collegiate School Alumni Association; Sidney Child (1984), Director of the Arts and Upper School Drama and English Faculty member; Karin DeMasi, Parent (’23, ’24, ’27, ’31) and current Trustee; Melanie Hutchinson (1990), Director of Teaching and Learning and former Lower School Curriculum Coordinator and First Grade Teacher; Josephine Linden, Parent of Alumni (’04, ’12), current Trustee and former Board Treasurer; Beth Trilling (2011), Middle School Mathematics Coordinator and Faculty member; Jonathan Youngwood ’85, Parent (’19, ’25) and President of the Board of Trustees; and Rochelle Yu, Parent (’23), current Trustee and President of the Parents Association.
 
In January 2019, the Board retained Carney, Sandoe & Associates, one of the leading consultants in executive searches for independent schools. Led by its President, Devereaux McClatchey, and Barbara Chase, former head of school of Phillips Academy (MA), Carney Sandoe conducted a survey of our community and visited the School to meet with a wide range of representatives. From that visit, the results of which were shared broadly in March, the Search Committee and Carney Sandoe developed the Position Statement for candidates.

During the winter and early spring, more than 400 individuals were considered for the position. These included both educators who reached out on their own and others who were proactively recruited. The pool included individuals from higher education and public schools, as well as other independent schools. Based on the criteria set forth in the Position Statement, the candidate pool was eventually narrowed to 30 candidates, who each provided in-depth submissions. More than a dozen of these individuals were selected by the Search Committee for in-person interviews in New York in late April. Of those individuals, more than half were sitting heads of school, one was an educator abroad, nearly 25 percent were women, and nearly 40 percent were educators of color. The academic training of those interviewed was wide-ranging, including individuals with degrees in math, history, English, classics, and a wide variety of other subjects. Many, but not all, had a background in boys’ education.
 
Following those interviews, the Search Committee invited three finalists to return to New York in May for extensive visits, which included confidential meetings with other representatives of our community, including trustees, teachers, parents, administrators, and alumni. On May 28, the Search Committee unanimously determined to recommend Mr. Lourie as the next Head of School to the full Board.
 
On Friday, May 31, the Board unanimously voted to appoint Mr. Lourie as Collegiate’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2020.

Collegiate School’s next Head of School, David S. Lourie
 
Although committed to independent schools, David Lourie has learned and worked in a variety of educational settings. He grew up near Boston and attended high school at The Roxbury Latin School, an independent school for boys. He received a B.A. in History from Yale University in 1993 and an M.A. from Teacher’s College at Columbia University in 2005, where he was also a fellow at the Klingenstein Summer Institute. Since 2006, Mr. Lourie has served as St. Anne’s-Belfield’s Head of School, where he has also consistently taught upper-school history. This past winter he directed the school musical, Beauty and the Beast. Prior to St. Anne’s-Belfield, Mr. Lourie served as Head of School of the Midland School in Los Olivos, California, and prior to that he founded and led a charter school in Tampa, Florida. He began his career teaching and coaching directly out of college at Tampa Preparatory School. 

Mr. Lourie will leave St. Anne’s with a long list of accomplishments, including the adoption of two strategic plans, the innovation of the K-12 curriculum to focus on 21st-century learning, the creation of an annual summer professional-development program, and the growth of the school’s endowment by more than a factor of ten. Mr. Lourie has been very active in the Virginia Association of Independent Schools and currently serves as its President.
 
Mr. Lourie is married to Sarah Altemose Lourie, who is a teacher, coach, and personal trainer. The Louries have two children—Jacob, a rising sophomore at New York University, and Becca, a rising junior at St. Anne’s-Belfield.
 
Those within our community who met Mr. Lourie during the search process described him with praise:
 
“I think we’d be lucky to have him as our head of school. I’d love to work for him. I found him curious, smart, and able to build trust.”

“Clear convictions regarding diversity and inclusion principles.”
 
“With David’s extraordinary achievements and experience, it is most notable that he is not only so young but genuinely interested in and recognizes that each school is its own entity and has its own identity. He is wise enough to carefully listen and energetic enough to freshly respond to questions without jargon or rote replies. I am struck by David’s understanding of and an appreciation for Collegiate that I have known in our legendary Heads.”
 
“I was happy to see and hear his sense of justice and empathy.”
 
“Thoughtful, personable, willing to admit ignorance and unafraid to take a stand on difficult issues.”
Similarly, those associated with his current school community identify him as a strong and bold educator:
 
“He never stops thinking about what could be better for the institution.”
 
“He jumps in with faculty and becomes part of the faculty community.”
 
“He’s a rock star, at the cutting edge in the field of education.”
 
“He is great with parents. Empathic and kind. He does what is best for school and students.”
 
“He wakes up and he wants to move forward and he wants to go fast. You want him if you want to move forward.”
 
Mr. Lourie is a direct and compelling communicator. His words upon learning of his appointment reflect his deep commitment to the educational communities he has led:
 
“I am humbled by and grateful for this opportunity to join the Collegiate community. The most important and meaningful aspect of my work in schools has always been building relationships, and during the search process I discovered that the same is true at Collegiate. I am eager to work with everyone there to continue to nurture a supportive, inclusive community that is the essential fuel for academic excellence, deep learning, and sustained hard work. This commitment was confirmed in the dozens of conversations that I had with teachers, administrators, alumni, parents, and trustees, who shared their love for Collegiate along with lofty aspirations for its future. That Collegiate, with its already exceptional program and rich history of excellence, remains eager to explore ways to get even better is energizing and inspiring. I am honored by Collegiate’s faith in me to build on Dr. Levison’s legacy, and I am looking forward to meeting people soon and starting to build the relationships that will be at the heart of our work together.”
 
Mr. Lourie will join Collegiate at an important time in our history—a moment of inflection and opportunity. Under the remarkable dedication and leadership of Dr. Levison since 2006, we have improved on our strengths in every traditional measure of independent school success. We have extraordinarily high standards of academic excellence; curious, kind, and collegial students; and deeply dedicated teachers, administrators, and staff. We enjoy stunning new facilities that support modern-day learning. And we have established policies and programs that cultivate inclusivity. But as recent events—at our school, in New York City, and in this nation—demonstrate, there remains significant work to ensure we are the diverse and just environment we value. True to our Statement of Beliefs and our commitment to lead in the education of boys, we will move forward, with conscience, courage, and compassion. We believe that Mr. Lourie embodies the values, integrity, and vision to continue to lead us on that journey.
 
This search would not have succeeded without the tireless efforts of the nine other members of the Search Committee and the dedicated expertise of our consultants at Carney Sandoe—Mr. McClatchey, and Ms. Chase, as well as their colleagues, Ben Bolté, Lawrence Alexander, and Jessica Wright. The Board and the School are in their debt.
 
Mr. Lourie will be in New York next week to meet personally with our faculty, administrators, and staff. Events involving students, parents, and alumni will take place in the fall.
 
Over the next year of transition, Dr. Levison will continue to lead the School, and our community will have many opportunities to celebrate his enduring legacy. Until then, on behalf of the Board, I wish you a wonderful summer. And we thank you for your continued support of and trust in Collegiate.
 
Sincerely,
 
Jonathan K. Youngwood ’85 
President
Board of Trustees
 

Communications

List of 7 items.

  • A Letter from Headmaster Lee M. Levison

    December 4, 2018

    Dear Members of the Collegiate community,
     
    The 2019-2020 academic year, my fourteenth, will be my last at Collegiate.

    There, I wrote it. No easing into it with a prolix prologue. Short and to the point. Of course, such a decision is anything but straightforward. The word “retirement” provides clarity, but my intention is to continue to work in some capacity other than as a school head, which will have been my professional title for 28 years in June 2020. Barb and I look forward to beginning the next chapter of our lives in Maine. I believe that the time is right for the school to do the same—to commence the next dynamic chapter in its storied history.

    I want most, in this letter, to express my gratitude:

    To the three Board presidents I have had the good fortune to work with since 2006: David Forer ’69, Gar Bason ’72, and Jon Youngwood ’85. Their selfless service to the school cannot be adequately described but to say that their wise counsel, unstinting support, moral clarity, and beneficent leadership were—and are—indispensable to the life of the school. Gar Bason’s decade of extraordinary leadership and service to the school defies any suitable expression of gratitude. My life was enriched immeasurably by this partnership.

    To all who served on the Board of Trustees since 2005: Thank you for your genuine commitment to and hard work on behalf of the school. Your service enables the school’s continual evolution and improvement.

    To my colleagues on the faculty: Your efforts to inspire your students to know and understand are the heart of the school. Your intellectual commitments and your respect for the boys are palpable and paramount in their lives. Your generous commitment of time to your students beyond the classroom is absolutely appreciated by your students and their parents. My colleagues on the senior leadership team (i.e., Admin) demonstrate every day their resolute commitment to fulfilling the commitments made in our Statement of Beliefs. More personally, their counsel to me is much appreciated—and essential.
    To the staff: Your dedication to the school and your hard work are vital in shaping the culture of pride in our community. You care and that caring imbues everything you do and how you do it.

    To the students: Your curiosity, ambition, joy, and energy nourish your teachers. Your devotion to one another and to the school makes Collegiate a most special community. At your best, you make each other better in all ways.
     
    To parents: Thank you for your faith in and tireless commitment to the school. Thank you for embracing Collegiate’s values and goals.
     
    To alumni: I recognize that affections for one’s school change over time, but what is clear to me is that, regardless of where one might fall on the “Collegiate devotion scale,” the fervent feelings of alumni about Collegiate and classmates breathe an indispensable and sustaining energy into our community. In addition, the ongoing interest in and commitment to the school demonstrated by your parents through the Parents of Alumni group are remarkable and, of course, meaningful.

    To Ben, Sam, and Liza, my children: You keep me humble and make me proud. Thank you for your gracefulness in navigating the sometimes complicated moments during your school years due to my work. Your love and support mean more than you will ever know.
    To Barb: My best friend and indefatigable support. You believe in me when I am filled with doubt. I could not have done this work without your love and support. Period. Thank you is completely insufficient.

    It has been a privilege to be a part of the Collegiate community. I have been blessed to do work that I love, even on days when love is not necessarily in the air! I am honored to be a member of the Collegiate faculty and community. My focus during the next 18 months will be to work with my colleagues to narrow the gap between what we say in the Statement of Beliefs and what we do each day. My hope is for us to live those 106 words, making them part of who we are and what we do at school—and beyond 301 Freedom Place South.

    Thank you. Thank you for your many kindnesses to me.
     
    With deep appreciation,

    Lee M. Levison
    Read More
  • A Letter from the President of the Board of Trustees

    December 4, 2018

    Dear Members of the Collegiate Community,
     
    I write on behalf of the Board of Trustees concerning Dr. Lee Levison’s announcement that the 2019-20 school year will be his last as our Headmaster.  Joining us in 2006, Dr. Levison is the only head that our present students, and most of our current parents, have ever known. He has and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of our boys, our faculty, administration, and staff, as well as our broader community.
     
    There will be many opportunities between now and June 2020 to fully recognize and celebrate Dr. Levison’s many contributions.  First and foremost, he has been an exemplary steward of our mission, fostering the energy, respect, and curiosity that our faculty and students share with each other every day.  Dr. Levison embodies the character of Collegiate and our embrace of respect, kindness, humility and integrity.
     
    Any discussion of Dr. Levison’s tenure would not be complete without reference to our magnificent new home at 301 Freedom Place South.  His leadership enabled the School to move not just its address, but its soul. The vision, courage, and pure grit necessary to move our community from its home of more than a century to our modern building speak for themselves.  We now have a state-of-the-art, flexible K-12 facility that will be a home for our boys for many decades to come.
     
    On a personal note, I am grateful to Lee for the time and guidance he has offered to the Board (past and present), and to me and prior Board presidents.  His wisdom runs deep.
     
    In announcing his plans now, Dr. Levison has given the Board ample opportunity to conduct a thoughtful and successful search for his successor.  We are in the process of forming a Search Committee, which I will chair and which will report to the full Board and its Executive Committee.  The Search Committee will consist of other board members, parents (current and former), alumni, and faculty.  It will be assisted by an experienced search firm.  We expect to select our next Headmaster before the end of 2019, allowing for an effective and smooth transition.  Our work will be informed by input we seek from all of you.  And, within the confines of what at many times will need to be a highly confidential process, we will seek to provide appropriate communication and, when possible, transparency.
     
    The transition from one longtime head of school to another is necessarily a time of reflection and, potentially, inflection. As with any moment of change, there will be aspects of uncertainty. The process the Board is putting in place will be a deliberate one.  The search is an opportunity for us to recognize who we are today and to explore where we need to go.  We will focus not only on our deeply rooted strengths and proud tradition, but, as importantly, on new educational goals for the world in which our children will live.
     
    Our Statement of Beliefs, reformulated under Dr. Levison, reflects our priorities.  We believe in a diverse and just community that fosters purposeful and spirited engagement. We strive for education that prepares our students to be citizens who act with conscience, courage, and compassion.  That is Collegiate School at its best, and that is the school we will continue to be.
     
    The Board and I look forward to working with the entire community in the months to come.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Jonathan K. Youngwood '85
    President, Board of Trustees
    Read More
  • March 8, 2019 Update

    March 8, 2019

    Dear Members of the Collegiate Community,

    I write on behalf of the Board and the Search Committee to share with you our position statement, which is the formal job posting for our next head of school. The statement is now on our website and will be distributed to potential candidates.
     
    As I noted last week, with this step completed, we will begin the process of considering specific individuals. Now that we are in this confidential stage, by necessity, there will be much less that the search committee will be able to share.
     
    Thank you again for your continued support of our school. Please feel free to use the search committee email address (headsearch@collegiateschool.org) to share any further thoughts as we move forward.
     
    Jonathan K. Youngwood '85
    Chair, Search Committee
    President, Board of Trustees
    Read More
  • February 28, 2019 Update

    February 28, 2019

    Dear Members of the Collegiate Community,
     
    I write again with an update on the head of school search process, primarily to share with you some of the high level results of the survey so many of you completed.  At this  link, you can see some of the highlights of the survey responses (top 6 responses in each category), as well as a one-page summary of  some general impressions regarding the strengths and challenges facing the school gathered from the Carney, Sandoe visit earlier this month.
     
    These responses and impressions demonstrate the importance of our historic values, traditions and priorities, as well as our challenges for the future.  The strengths of our school begin with solid foundations — our standards of excellence, the curiosity of our students and faculty, and the values embodied in our Statement of Beliefs.  Yet, as recent events and discussions at Collegiate and other independent schools in New York City illustrate, we need to work continually to be a more diverse, just, and inclusive environment.  These are the considerations foremost in the mind of the search committee and the board as we continue our work.

    Before spring break, we will share with you the finalized statement that will serve as the formal job posting for our next head of school.  With that step completed, we will be deeply immersed in the search.  By necessity, my communications may become less frequent and less detailed given the need for confidentiality in order to attract the best candidates.  The search committee email address (headsearch@collegiateschool.org) will remain available to the community to share any thoughts during the process.  

    Thank you again for your continued support of our school and of this search process.
     

    Jonathan K. Youngwood '85
    Chair, Search Committee
    President, Board of Trustees
    Read More
  • February 4, 2019 Update

    February 4, 2019

    Dear Members of the Collegiate Community, 

    I write on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the search committee to once again update you on our head of school search process. As I previously shared, we have retained Carney, Sandoe & Associates to assist us, and I am pleased to detail below the ways in which the firm will continue their work learning about our community.
     
    First, representatives of Carney, Sandoe will visit the School on February 11th and 12th. In addition to meeting with our faculty, staff and students, Carney, Sandoe will be present at open meetings with our parents and alumni.
     
    Current parents will have the chance to share their thoughts on Monday, February 11th at either 8:20 a.m. or 6:00 p.m. at the School in the Main Dining Room. Alumni can join representatives of the firm at a reception on Tuesday evening, February 12th, also in the School’s Main Dining Room beginning at 6:30 p.m. More specific information on these events will follow in separate invitations.
     
    In addition, as part of the work of the search committee, we ask that you take a few minutes to complete this short survey. The survey will help inform and guide us as we move forward.
     
    Finally, should you have additional thoughts that you wish to share outside of the survey or in the coming months, we encourage you to either respond to this email or email headsearch@collegiateschool.org.
     
     
    Thank you in advance for your engagement with this process,
     
    Jonathan Youngwood '85
    Chair, Search Committee
    President, Board of Trustees
    Read More
  • January 25, 2019 Update

    January 25, 2019

    Dear Members of the Collegiate Community:
     
    I write on behalf of the Board and the Search Committee to update you on the Head of School search process and to inform you that we have retained Carney, Sandoe & Associates to assist us in our work.  Carney Sandoe is an internationally known educational recruiter for independent schools.  The Firm has worked with Collegiate in the past and knows our school and culture. 

    The Carney Sandoe team assisting us will be led by Devereaux McClatchey, who has more than 18 years of experience as a search consultant and is Carney Sandoe’s President.  Working with him will be Barbara Chase, who served as a head of school for more than 32 years, most recently at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts; Ben Bolte, who has personally worked with Collegiate previously; and Lawrence Alexander, who in addition to his search- consulting responsibilities plays a key role in Carney Sandoe’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.  In Devereaux, Barbara, Ben, and Lawrence, we have a diverse team that offers extensive experience in national searches for heads of independent schools, including schools in New York City.
     
    Our 10-person Search Committee will work closely with Carney Sandoe. The Search Committee will make recommendations to the Board of Trustees, which will make a final decision on our next head of school.
     
    This will be an inclusive process.  We are working with the Carney Sandoe team to schedule a multi-day visit to Collegiate in the next several weeks.  During that visit, our community (parents, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators) will have the opportunity to share current views of Collegiate and visions for the future.  This information will be vital as we look to identify our next head of school.  Details about the visit will be shared shortly. 
     
    Jonathan Youngwood '85
    Chair, Search Committee
    President, Board of Trustees
    Read More
  • January 10, 2019 Update

    January 10, 2019

    Dear Members of The Collegiate Community,
     
    I write to update you on the search for our next Head of School. The following members of our community have agreed to serve on the search committee:
     
    • Ethan Berman, Parent of Alumni ('15, '17), current Trustee, and Chair of the Board Admissions and Financial Aid Committee
    • Ali Bhanji, Director of College Guidance
    • Jerry Bright '93, former Trustee and Chairman of the Collegiate Alumni Association
    • Sidney Child, Director of the Arts and Upper School Drama and English Faculty member
    • Karin DeMasi, Parent ('23, '24, '27, '31) and current Trustee
    • Melanie Hutchinson, Director of Teaching and Learning and former Lower School Curriculum Coordinator and First Grade Teacher
    • Josephine Linden, Parent of Alumni ('04, '12), current Trustee and former Board Treasurer
    • Beth Trilling, Middle School Mathematics Coordinator and Faculty member
    • Jonathan Youngwood '85, Parent ('19, '25) and President of the Board of Trustees
    • Rochelle Yu, Parent ('23), current Trustee and President of the Parent’s Association
     
    The committee has already begun to interview search consultants. We plan to select a firm shortly.  As I noted in my December 4 letter, the work of the Board and of the Search Committee will be informed by input we seek from all of you. We will be back to you once a consultant has been retained with further news regarding the search. We look forward to working with the entire community in the months to come.
     
    Many thanks and Happy New Year,
     
    Jonathan Youngwood '85
    Chair, Search Committee
    Read More