Head of School Search
On October 26, Head of School Kevin Breen announced that he will conclude his 8 years at Marshall School at the end of the school year, on June 30, 2021. The Board of Trustees has retained Educator's Collaborative LLC, a highly regarded national search firm, to work with Marshall School's Search Committee to find a new Head of School. This page will be updated periodically to provide news and information regarding the search.
Introducing Our New Head of School
February 11th, 2021
Dear Hilltopper Community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Search Committee, I am excited and honored to announce the appointment of Mr. James (Jamie) Steckart as the next Head of School at Marshall School, effective July 1st, 2021. Jamie will succeed Kevin Breen, who will continue in his current role this year until June 30th.
Last fall, the Search Committee began the process of finding future leadership suited to the mission of our school and Marshall’s future needs. Following preliminary, confidential interviews and substantive sessions with the Search Committee, finalists were invited to visit Marshall, where they toured the campus and met both in person and virtually with our faculty, staff, parents, and trustees. On February 8th, the Board of Trustees received the Search Committee’s nomination and selected Jamie Steckart as its unanimous choice to be the next Head of Marshall School.
Throughout the interview process, Jamie’s enthusiasm for Marshall, for its future promise, and for our region was abundantly evident. His experience in a variety of educational settings—public, independent, and international—has consistently focused on a student-centered approach and a commitment to serving students of varying interests, backgrounds, and strengths. References cite Jamie’s ability to build strong relationships with faculty, students, and parents.
In regard to his academic credentials, Jamie earned a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Political Science major and a M.A. from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Outdoor Education. His prior professional positions include Director of Northwest Passage High School in Coon Rapids, MN; Principal (Chief Academic Officer) for Qatar Foundation, in Doha, Qatar; and from 2014-2020, Head of School for THINK Global School, a global traveling boarding school for high school students.
A native of Wisconsin, Jamie and his wife Angie Tenebrini have three children: Charlotte, Finn, and Piper. They currently reside in Cornucopia, WI in a home Jamie himself built.
Upon learning of his selection as our next Head of School, Jamie shared:
“My family is excited to become part of the Marshall School community and to begin conversations with the community as we look forward to the next strategic stage of Marshall's future. The magnificent campus, small learning community, and progressive nature of the school correspond to my values as an educator. I am especially excited about the possibilities of expanding the use of the campus and using place-based learning as a way to increase community partnerships and learning opportunities for students. The global nature of Marshall’s mission is dear to my heart. Marshall is a gem of the upper Midwest, and our family could not be happier about becoming part of the Duluth community.”
Choosing a new Head of School is one of the single greatest responsibilities of the Board of Trustees, and it was my privilege to serve as the Chair of our Search Committee. Assisting as Vice-Chairs were Trustees Nels Ojard ’95 and Julie Pierce; other members include current trustees Kristina D’Allaird ’86, Regina Seabrook ’92, and Andrea Schokker, former trustee Doug Lewis, Associate Head of School Karen Snyder, and Faculty Member Amber Minardi. The Committee devoted many hours and great care to the search process to ensure its successful outcome. Our process also benefited from the guidance of Jean Lamont and John Mackenzie of Educators’ Collaborative, whose combined experience of over eighty Head of Schools searches helped us to understand and operate according to best practices in conducting a search for the head of an independent school.
Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to the entire Marshall School community for your feedback, support, and patience through the search process. We may all look forward to welcoming Jamie Steckart to our school community and to his tenure as Marshall’s next leader.
President, Board of Trustees
Chair, Head of School Search Committee
Communications from Board of Trustees
January 19, 2021
Dear Members of the Marshall School Community,
On behalf of the Head of School Search Committee I am very pleased to provide this update on the search for Kevin Breen’s successor as well as an initial invitation to meet our finalist candidates.
Over this past weekend, our Search Committee held preliminary, confidential interviews with eight candidates interested in the opportunity to lead Marshall School. These eight had been previously selected by the Search Committee from a larger group presented after prior vetting by our search consultants from Educators’ Collaborative. Following these interviews, the Search Committee has selected a smaller group of candidates to advance to the finalist stage.
Beginning as early as next week, Marshall will host the finalist candidates in visits to Duluth and to our campus. In light of COVID protocols, the in-person aspects of their visits will be limited, but, in our commitment to a transparent process, there will be opportunities for members of the Marshall community to meet the candidates virtually. In addition, all who interact with the candidates will be able to provide their feedback via an electronic survey about the strengths that person would bring to the Head of School position. Survey responses—which are anonymous—will be compiled by the search consultants and submitted to the Search Committee for their consideration in selecting Marshall’s next Head of School.
You should expect that there will be follow-up communications starting later this week with information about our first finalist candidate, including days, times, and Zoom links for candidate forums with faculty, staff, parents, and alumni, as well as links to the online feedback surveys cited above.
On behalf of the Search Committee, I would like to thank you, in advance, for the warm welcome you will extend our candidates and for investing the time and effort to complete the surveys.
As a reminder, the selection of the next Head of School is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees based upon a nomination from the Search Committee. Kevin Breen will continue in his role through the 2020-21 school year, and his successor will assume responsibilities on July 1, 2021.
With sincere appreciation,
Chair, Head of School Search Committee and
President, Board of Trustees
December 1, 2020
Dear Members of the Marshall School Community,
On behalf of the Head of School Search Committee, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the progress of the search as the Board of Trustees seeks to identify Marshall’s next Head of School. While some activity related to the search has been visible to the school community, many of the most important steps over the coming weeks will take place behind the scenes, and I want to provide periodic updates about this progress.
As previously announced, the Search Committee is working with search consultants Jean Lamont and John Mackenzie of Educators’ Collaborative (EC). Due to COVID restrictions, the EC consultants have not yet been able to physically visit the school, but recently spent four days engaged in Zoom conversations with teachers, staff, parents, students, and alums. In addition, members of our community had the opportunity to complete an online survey giving more feedback regarding the state of the school and the direction of the search. With the benefit of all this information, EC and Marshall have put together a detailed profile to inform and encourage candidates to apply for the Head of School position. The profile can be viewed here.
EC is now actively engaged in building a strong candidate pool and then vetting the candidates through preliminary interviews and reference checks. Our Search Committee expects to begin screening candidates in early January, with the intention of identifying a small group of finalists. Out of respect for candidates’ privacy, all communications with candidates and all interviews prior to the finalist stage will be handled in a confidential manner. In the interest of transparency, we hope to have broad representation of the Marshall community meet the finalists. We will be following up with more information on what form this may take - whether "real" or "virtual".
In case it has not already come to your attention, please note that communications about the Head of School search are available on the Marshall School website at: https://www.marshallschool.org/our-school/head-of-school-search
We will provide additional information between now and the finalist visits. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
President, Board of Trustees and Chair, Head of School Search Committee
November 4, 2020
Dear Members of the Marshall School Community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am writing to share with you the steps being taken to conduct the search for the next Head of Marshall School, who will assume responsibilities on July 1, 2021, upon the completion of Kevin Breen’s eight-year tenure as our Head.
Consistent with its responsibilities, the Board has appointed a Search Committee to conduct a comprehensive, national, and international search for a new Head of School. I will chair the committee and Nels Ojard (‘95, current parent and trustee) and Julie Pierce (trustee) have agreed to be vice-chairs. The other Search Committee members are: Doug Lewis (past trustee), Kristina D’Allaird (‘86, current parent, trustee), Regina Seabrook (‘92, trustee), Andrea Schokker (current parent, trustee), Amber Minardi (faculty member), and Karen Snyder (Associate Head of School and Middle School Principal). The final selection of the next Head of School will be made by the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of this Search Committee.
John Mackenzie and Jean Lamont of Educators’ Collaborative, a national consulting firm specializing in working with independent schools, have been engaged to assist us with the search. Both consultants have themselves headed independent schools, and they bring significant relevant experience working in and consulting with independent schools.
The Board of Trustees is committed to making this an inclusive process and will provide opportunities for community input through virtual meetings with the consultants and via an on-line survey. In addition to their interviews with the Search Committee, Trustees, school administrators, and student leaders, the consultants will host open forums for faculty and staff as well as for parents and alumni.
In addition, all members of the school community are invited to complete a brief survey, which may be accessed via this link. https://www.surveymonkey.com/
Using the information gathered from these meetings and forums and from the online survey, the Educators’ Collaborative consultants will develop a comprehensive position profile for the next Head of Marshall School. They have already begun to build the pool of candidates by listing the position with appropriate agencies and associations, contacting selected educational leaders to solicit recommendations for the position, and reaching out to potential candidates with whom they and their colleagues are familiar. After the candidate pool has been developed, the Search Committee will meet to review the credentials of the top candidates identified by our consultants.
Our goal is to complete the search process and announce the appointment of a new Head of School in the early months of 2021. Through this process we will seek to find an appropriate balance between involving community input and respecting the privacy of the candidates. This latter consideration regarding candidate confidentiality is important to help ensure the strongest possible candidate pool. The Marshall community will be kept apprised of the progress of the search process via updates on a designated “Head of School Search” page on our website and by email.
If you have suggestions or questions, we encourage you to talk with members of the Search Committee. In the meantime, the Search Committee and Board of Trustees are grateful for your support and assistance.
President, Marshall School Board of Trustees
October 26, 2020
On behalf of the trustees. I am writing to announce we are opening a search for our next head of school whose term will begin on July 1, 2021. Kevin Breen has accepted a position in his home state of Massachusetts, closer to his family, and will serve in his current capacity through the end of the school year.
As Kevin shared with the Board of Trustees:
"Dana and I consider ourselves so very fortunate to have found the Marshall School in the wonderful city of Duluth, a school which will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
For more than seven years, I have worked alongside some of the finest people I have ever met. I am deeply respectful of my administrative team, a team comprised of the most loyal and dedicated professionals I have ever known, and equally indebted to our amazing teachers and staff who, among other things, helped raise my two children. Finally, I have a profound appreciation for the current and past trustees who have guided the school as we accomplished a great deal, all the while supporting and caring for me and my family.
In my new role, Dana and I will be within 50-minutes of our children, parents, grandparents and siblings at a time where being available to help and spend time together is important. It is the right time for me and my family to be back home and this position is the right place for me for the future.
The school is in excellent hands and I am committed to be fully engaged through the 2020/2021 school year. This chapter is not yet complete. Together we will continue to deliver on the Mission of Marshall School today and as we transition to the future."
Knowing Kevin from the start I can tell you that his move here was for both family and career. He saw Marshall not only as an innovative gem he could help polish, he also saw a caring community where he could raise his children. His move back East is very similar. Kevin will be closer to both sets of parents allowing for more time spent together and a career move that is to help a school improve itself. These choices earn my highest respect and his impact will echo through our halls for decades.
In searching for a new Head of School, the Board sees a great opportunity to build on the school's current momentum. Our facilities have seen great improvements in efficiencies and aesthetics. The teachers, the core of our quality, are industry leaders in curriculum and new era delivery. We have just witnessed a jump in enrollment as the scope of education has changed and we were there to offer a way through. All of these accomplishments and momentum will attract a strong candidate who will help deliver these new steps and forge the way through this changing landscape.
The search for Kevin's replacement is already underway, and we will seek input from all constituent groups at the appropriate time. To that end, we are in the process of interviewing consultants from several search firms and will choose one this week. Once we select a firm, a formal search committee will be established, and we will maintain a page on our website where you will be able to find frequent updates.
Our new head of school will be joining a sailing vessel at full sail with a reliable crew, their job will be to show us improvements and take us to our next destination.
We know you will have questions regarding the search process. Please look for an FAQ on the website in the very near future.
|Board of Trustees|
- Q: What is the expected timeline of the search process?
- Q: What is the role of the Search Committee?
- Q: What is the Board's role?
- Q: What is the faculty role in the search?
- Q: How can parents participate in the search process?
- Q: Will students or faculty experience any disruption during the search process?
The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees will continue working for the next several weeks, with the expectation of forming a Search Committee by early November. The Search Committee will work with a consultant to build a pool of candidates and eventually name Marshall's next Head of School in early spring of 2021. We will work as expeditiously as possible while ensuring a thorough, thoughtful process. The next Head of School will begin on July 1, 2021.
The Board of Trustees has asked the Head Search Committee to engage in a thoughtful and thorough process to develop and assess prospective candidates, ultimately recommending one person to the Board for consideration as Marshall's next Head of School. The Board expects the Committee to engage broadly with the School community, to listen to a wide variety of views about the School and the qualities needed in the next Head of School. The Board asks the Search Committee to keep the community informed and engaged throughout the search process, while respecting the confidentiality of the candidate recruitment process.
As the caretakers of Marshall School, the Board of Trustees holds the important responsibility of appointing the Head of School. Members of the Board will share their thoughts with the consultants prior to the development of the position statement. The Board of Trustees will have the opportunity to meet with the finalist candidate(s), and, acting on the recommendation of the Search Committee, will vote to approve the appointment of the next Head of School.
The faculty will remain actively engaged throughout the Search, from giving feedback and commentary to the search consultants during the information gathering stage prior to publication of the Leadership Profile, to meeting semifinalists and finalist candidates. Faculty, staff, and administrators will remain in close contact with the Search Committee throughout the process and will be represented on the Search Committee as well.