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.
Jonathan K. Youngwood ’85
Board of Trustees