Head of School Transition Updates

On October 6, 2017, our Head of School, Elizabeth Nugent announced her intention to step down at the end of the 2017/18 School Year. Read the letter here.

As we search for a new Head of School, we will keep the School Community informed as news develops. Those updates will be sent out in the Weekly Update, and archived here.

eNotify Archive

February 15, 2018

Candidates have been interviewed.

Over the past few days the search committee interviewed several candidates for the HoS position. These interviews have been via video conference each lasting about 50 minutes. There were a healthy number of candidates put forward by our search firm, Carney Sandoe. The candidates interviewed were from numerous regions of the country; east coast, midwest, south central, and the west coast. The candidates had broad ranging experience; from Waldorf teaching and leadership positions to careers in independent school management. Some brought years of experience to the interview, others are rising stars looking to join a thriving school.

The search committee plans to select a few of the candidates in order to get to know them better. After additional conversation, if any of these candidates become finalists, we will invite them to come visit our school and meet with many in our community. The committee hopes to have candidate visits complete before spring break.

January 10, 2018

We continue to move forward with the search for a new leader.

At this time, Skip Kotkins, our search consultant, and his firm, Carney Sandoe and Associates, are engaged in the next step in the process of searching for our new head of school. Skip has posted the position description on the websites of his firm, AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America), NWAIS (Northwest Association of Independent Schools) and Waldorf Today. Additionally, Carney Sandoe has sent targeted emails, has posted the position with the largest independent school job board, and has been networking extensively in search of qualified candidates. If you have not yet seen the position description, you can view it here.

Skip and his colleagues at Carney Sandoe have started the process of screening, vetting and interviewing interested candidates. Once this step is complete, Skip will present a list of promising candidates to the search committee. At that time, the full committee will meet to interview each candidate via Skype.

The committee will proceed with its due diligence, narrowing the applicant pool to three or four finalists who will be invited to visit Cedarwood in March. At that time, all interested community members will be invited to meet and engage with these candidates and provide feedback to the committee.

We will continue to keep the community updated throughout this process.

~ HOS search committee ~ Anika Bent-Albert, Amy Beacom, Jeff Benerofe, Brewster Crosby, Gia Davis, Nigel Jaquiss, Cecelia McClellan, Jen Martin, Ann Messick

December 21, 2017

  • As a result of his visit to Cedarwood, Skip Kotkins, our search consultant, has created a Position Description document as the next step in the process of hiring a new Head of School (HOS). We are excited to announce that this document has been released to the public. The intention of this document is to cast a wide net nationally and internationally in search of candidates. The Position Description is not a job description or a comprehensive list of skills and attributes, but rather a tool to inspire interest in learning more about Cedarwood Waldorf School and potentially applying for the Head of School position.
  • The Position Description is available here.
  • The HOS transition has created an opportunity for Cedarwood to assess and potentially restructure the governance of Cedarwood, while maintaining our three pillar approach. Recognizing that the current HOS job description is unsustainable as Cedarwood has grown, the faculty and board are working together to meet the growing needs of our school community. Faculty has proposed that we create a new position and hire a Pedagogical Director who will work closely with the new HOS. A decision on this new position will be made by the board in January.
  • During the HOS search, the role of the search committee is to regularly inform the community of the process, evaluate candidates based on feedback from the Cedarwood community, host finalist candidates as they visit Cedarwood and ultimately, with feedback from the community, select a candidate to present to the board. While committee members have varying backgrounds and roles at Cedarwood, they are mandated to work from an “all-school perspective” rather than represent any one constituency.
  • We would like to invite all parents and available staff and admin to join us for coffee and pastries when we return to school on Wednesday, January 3 at 8:30am in the Community Kitchen. Several members of the search committee will be available to answer questions regarding this process.

Search committee members: Anika Bent-Albert, Amy Beacom, Jeff Benerofe, Brewster Crosby, Gia Davis, Nigel Jaquiss, Cecelia McClellan, Jen Martin, Ann Messick

December 11, 2017

Next steps for the Search Committee

Dear Friends,

Last week we had a flurry of activity surrounding our search for a new head of school. We announced that Anika Bent-Albert, Jeff Benerofe, Brewster Crosby, Gia Davis, Nigel Jaquiss, Cecilia McClellan, Jen Martin and Ann Messick have been named as the search committee. The job of this committee is to evaluate candidates using the criteria that community members developed, through the meetings last week and through an online survey.

Your role in finding a new head of school is crucial. Last week, more than 100 of you met in person with Skip Kotkins, our search consultant. More than 100 of you also responded to our online survey. Skip, who has conducted searches for other leading Waldorf and independent schools, told us that through his three days of meetings at Cedarwood and the survey results he feels well-equipped to begin his work. He also asked us to thank you for your warm welcome to Cedarwood and for the commitment to a successful search that shone through his interactions with you.

Skip will now distill what he’s learned about Cedarwood into a position description for our next leader. Rather than being a definitive profile of Cedarwood, the position description is designed to give candidates enough information to decide whether to apply. Skip has already shared a preliminary draft of the document with the search committee and will produce another draft before he publishes it.

Community members will continue to be centrally involved in the search process. Once the committee has narrowed the pool to a small number of finalists, those candidates will visit Cedarwood. During that time, we will invite all community members to meet the candidates at open forums and share your impressions with the search committee. With heavy reliance on your feedback, as well as all the other due diligence that the search committee and Skip and his firm, Carney Sandoe & Associates, will conduct, the search committee with then recommend a new head of school for appointment by the board.

We will send periodic updates on the search process which will be archived on the school’s website.

~ Anika and Ann, search committee co-chairs

December 4, 2017

The search committee has been finalized

The Board of Trustees has finalized the Search Committee membership. The committee members are;

  • Amy Beacom, parent
  • Jeff Benerofe, parent
  • Ms. Cecelia, faculty
  • Ms. Davis, faculty
  • Jen Martin, staff
  • Anika Bent-Albert, board
  • Ann Messick, board
  • Nigel Jaquiss, board
  • Brewster Crosby, board

November 29, 2017

Visits from the Search Firm

Dear Cedarwood Community,

The Cedarwood Board of Trustees is pleased to announce it has retained Carney, Sandoe & Associates (C S & A), the leading firm providing head of school search services to independent schools such as Cedarwood. The firm is headquartered in Boston, however, our lead search consultant, Skip Kotkins, lives in Seattle. Skip has helped several Waldorf Schools find new leaders. He has also completed consulting projects with many schools in the Pacific Northwest including Oregon Episcopal School and Catlin Gabel here in Portland.

An eight-person search committee will work with Skip. The committee will represent Cedarwood's three-pillar structure—board, faculty and parents. We are pleased that two board members—Anika Bent-Albert (P'23, P'24) and Ann Messick(GP'21, GP'24)—have agreed to co-chair the committee. Nigel Jaquiss (P'09, P'13, P'15) and Brewster Crosby (P'09, P'24) will also serve as board representatives on the committee. Committee members will be selecting two faculty representatives and two parents to serve as well. The search committee's job will be to evaluate candidates based on criteria that you as community members will help develop. The committee will ultimately recommend a candidate to the board for approval.

All of us in the Cedarwood community will have two important roles in our search for our school's next leader. At the beginning, our opinions and ideas will help shape the position description detailing the qualities we seek in a leader. Later in the process, community members will get an opportunity to meet with finalist candidates when they visit Cedarwood.

Skip Kotkins will be at Cedarwood next week to meet with as many members of our school community as possible. In order for him to get a clear understanding of our community and our hopes for future leadership, some of these meetings will be in an open forum, while other meetings will be private, so people can speak to Skip in confidence.

There are several options for anyone interested in meeting with Skip. No RSVP is necessary. The times and places are:


Tuesday, December 5, 8:30am - 10am; Skip will join the Volunteer Appreciation breakfast and and Parent Council meeting in the Music Room. All are welcome!

Tuesday, December 5, 6:30pm - 7:30pm; Performance Space

Wednesday, December 6, 2pm - 3pm; Community Kitchen


Tuesday, December 5, 3:30pm - 4:30pm; Faculty Conference Room

Wednesday, December 6, 7am - 8am; Faculty Conference Room


Wednesday, December 6, 3:30pm - 4:30pm; Faculty Conference Room

Thursday, December 7, 7am - 8am; Faculty Conference Room


Wednesday, December 6, 8:30am - 9:30am; Community Meeting Room

Thursday, December 7, 8:30am - 9:30am; Community Meeting Room

If you are unable to attend one of the in-person forums, we strongly encourage you to respond to the same questions that will be asked in those forums, via this online survey. The survey will close next Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the end of the day. All survey responses will anonymous. These initial community meetings and the survey will inform Skip as he creates the position description that is used to recruit candidates.

This is an exciting time for our school, and we are confident that with your participation, we will find the next strong leader to add to the fantastic foundation Elizabeth Nugent has built.

Thanks in advance for your involvement. We will continue to keep you informed as the search progresses through the Head of School Transition Updates page on the Cedarwood website.

Erika Starrs

Transition Committee Chair

Brewster Crosby

Board President

November 12, 2017

Updates on the Search Firm

The Board of Trustees Transition Committee has been interviewing search firms to assist in the identification of candidates qualified to be our next Head of School. The committee has created a list of characteristics for selecting members of the community who will be asked to join a formal Head of School Search Committee. This committee will work closely with the search firm and the broader school community to develop criteria for desirable candidates. Additionally, the transition committee has modified the search committee structure so it will include four (rather than three) board members, two faculty members (no change), a parent leader, and, in addition, a member of the administrative team. This search committee will be tasked with recommending to the board the candidate who will best serve Cedarwood's mission.

October 20th, 2017

The Search for a Search Firm Begins

Two weeks ago, Elizabeth Nugent announced that 2017-18 will be her last year as head of school. To begin the process of selecting a new leader, the board of trustees has formed a transition committee. That committee will hire a search firm to assist in the identification of candidates qualified to be our next head of school. In addition, the transition committee will identify members of the community—three board members, two faculty members, and parent council members—to create a formal head of school search committee. The search committee will work closely with the search firm and the broader school community to develop criteria for desirable candidates. The search committee will then be tasked with recommending to the board the candidate who will best serve Cedarwood's mission.