Director Search Begins

Posted Mar 01 2013

Dear Members of the Laboratory Schools Community:

I write to update you on the search for David Magill’s successor as Director of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and to invite your participation. Dave’s outstanding leadership over the past decade leaves the Laboratory Schools well prepared for this transition and in a strong position to hire a truly exceptional successor. This search offers us an opportunity to reflect upon the challenges and opportunities facing the Schools, and to engage in ambitious thinking about our future.

The Board of Directors has appointed these members to serve on the Search Committee:

Emily Buss (Chair), Board Member and Parent
Christie Henry, Parents’ Association Co-President and Parent
David Kistenbroker, Board Member and Parent
Leandra Knes, Board Member and Parent
Ka Yee Lee, Board Member and Parent
Peggy Lim, Board Member and Parent
Chris McGowan, Board Member and Parent
Janice Moy, Faculty Member
Andy Neal; Board Member, Parent, and Alumnus
Chaka Patterson, Board Member and Parent
David Greene (ex officio), Board Member (ex officio) and Parent
John Rogers (ex officio), Board Chair, Alumnus, and Parent of Alumna

The Search Committee is committed to representing the interests of the Laboratory Schools’ community as a whole. We recognize the breadth and depth of our community’s wisdom and experience and will make every effort to ensure that your insights shape our process and the ultimate selection. To that end, we will convene discussions with groups of parents, faculty, staff, students, and alumni the first week after spring break, and we will also conduct an on-line survey to allow confidential input. We greatly appreciate the thoughtful comments that you have already shared, and encourage you to continue to contact us at Members of the Search Committee are eager to hear your thoughts informally as well, whether in person or in writing.

To assist us with the search, and to ensure that we are reaching the broadest range of strong candidates, we are partnering with a search consulting firm. Based on our research, the firms’ written proposals, reference checks, and a full day of interviews with several excellent firms, the Search Committee selected the team of Jennifer Bol and Kristine Johnson from the Education, Non-Profit, and Government practice of Spencer Stuart, headquartered in Chicago. This firm has conducted highly successful searches for prominent independent schools throughout the country, including recent appointments at Saint Ann’s School and Philips Academy Andover. In addition, Spencer Stuart has done excellent work at the University of Chicago, including assisting the faculty committee at the Booth School during their latest dean search, working with the Argonne Board on its most recent director search, and recruiting the first executive director of the new Institute of Politics. We selected Spencer Stuart because we feel it is the firm that brings us the best mix of skills and capabilities, including the depth of expertise often associated with a smaller, specialized search firm and the breadth and reach of a global firm. Most important, we feel Spencer Stuart can provide us with the best access to the highest quality candidates as well as the infrastructure required to support a highly professional search.

The Search Committee will remain, of course, deeply engaged at every stage of the process. It is impossible to predict with precision the timeline for the search, but we anticipate that the search will conclude sometime in the fall of 2013, giving the new Director considerable time to plan for an orderly transition in the summer of 2014. We will provide periodic updates as we proceed, both by correspondence and as posts on the search web site:

We look forward to your engagement as we move forward with this search process, one that is of great importance to the educational experience of our students and to the future of the Laboratory Schools.


Emily Buss
Chair, Director Search Committee, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, and
Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School

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