Members of the Episcopal Academy Community,
The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Thomas J. “T.J.” Locke to succeed L. Hamilton Clark, Jr. as Episcopal Academy’s next Greville Haslem Head of School, effective July 1, 2013.
This appointment is the culmination of an extensive international search in which the 12-person search committee—with the help of our consulting firm Carney Sandoe & Associates—screened hundreds and interviewed nine highly qualified candidates before unanimously agreeing that T.J. Locke was a perfect fit to lead Episcopal Academy in this important time in our history.
T.J. comes to EA after serving as the Head of School for the past six years at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans—which, like, EA, is an independent school with a national reputation for excellence. Despite taking over as Newman’s Head of School in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, T.J. further enhanced the school’s overall curriculum by successfully integrating technology into the school’s entire instructional program as well as adding a ninth-grade writing seminar, senior internships, a School Year Abroad, and a global studies program to the Upper School.
In addition to strengthening Newman’s curriculum, T.J. dramatically improved the school’s bottom line during his time there—increasing annual giving by 75% during his tenure, growing the school’s endowment to $30 million, and accumulating significant operating budget surpluses over the past five years.
The move from New Orleans to Newtown Square will represent a homecoming of sorts for T.J., a south New Jersey native, who started his teaching career as an eighth and ninth-grade English teacher (and state champion-winning volleyball coach) in East Brunswick, N.J. He followed that experience with a meteoric rise in the Cherry Hill (N.J.) public school system—going from an assistant middle school principal to elementary school principal to the Director of Curriculum for all of the 11,500 students in 19 different schools in Cherry Hill.
A 1993 graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in English, Locke then earned a masters degree in Educational Administration from Rutgers in 1999 and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in Educational Leadership and Organizational Theory in 2005.
In addition to serving as our school’s new Head of School, T.J. will also be an EA parent starting this summer and for years to come. He and his wife, Lauren, have a daughter, Katie, who will enter EA as a fourth grader next year, and twin two-year-old boys, Teddy and Charlie, who will be part of EA’s graduating Class of 2028.
We look forward to welcoming T.J., Lauren, and their three children to our school and our community. But as we make this important announcement, I want to publicly thank Ham Clark for his extraordinary leadership and unmatched vision that enabled us to build an entire K-through-12 school campus from scratch that is the envy of independent schools all over the country.
I would also like to thank the members of the Head of School Search Committee and our consultants at Carney Sandoe for their tireless efforts. In addition, I would like to thank all of the members of the Episcopal Academy community who shared their insights and perspectives as to the type of leader that EA needs to continue to thrive and grow.
We, as a search committee, were impressed by T.J.’s enthusiasm for teaching and the business of schools, his instant and genuine connection with Episcopal, his very personable nature, the academic depth on his resume (including an Ed.D from UPenn), and the breadth of exposure that he has had to both public and private schools.
Members of The Episcopal Academy Community:
Here’s a brief update on where we are
with the Head of School Search.
Our consultants have spent the last
several months contacting prospective candidates (domestically and overseas)
about our Head of School position, and forwarding along a Position Description
piece that describes our school. Among their contacts, over 100 candidates were
reviewed for possible inclusion in our search.
The responses from candidates were very
enthusiastic, and the consultants characterized the candidate pool as deep,
though they cautioned that there are a number of other very strong schools also
in a Head Search at the moment, and there would surely be some overlap.
The process went into high gear on
August 29 when the Search Committee had a lengthy meeting with the consultants
to review names that they believed were most suited for us per the survey
responses that we all filled out back in May. The committee reviewed 16 of the
best candidates from their “pool” which included men, women, sitting Heads of
Schools, “up-and coming” senior school administrators, college
administrators/deans, and men/women of color. It was a diverse group of
The next step will be to schedule
confidential, off-campus interviews over the course of the next month or so
with a group of candidates selected by the committee in order to develop a
“finalist” list of perhaps 3-5 individuals. At this stage, we would anticipate
the finalists and their spouses would be brought on to campus, and the
interview circle would be widened to include faculty members, department
If all goes according to plan we hope
to have a decision, and make an announcement by late October/early November.As I said earlier, there are a number
of other excellent schools in a Head Search along with us, but I am confident
that we will emerge with an outstanding leader,worthy of your support.
to view the Head of School Job Description.
members of the Search Committee currently include:
Gary Madeira ’72 P ’04
’07 (Current Board Chair)
Rush Haines ’61 P ’88 (Former Board Chair, involved in our
last Head of School search)
Ed Vick ’62 (Board Member, Strategic Plan Co-Chair)
Debby Hirtle P ’03 ’11 (Board Member, Strategic Plan
Rick Northrop ’70 (Board Member, Financial Aid Committee Chair,
former EA teacher)
Buck Buckley ’78 P ’10 ’14 (Board Member, Finance
Committee Chair, current parent)
David Reape ’80 P ’14 ’16 ’20 (Board
Member, Development Committee Chair, current parent)
Beth Corrigan P ’17 ’19 (Board Member, current
Kris Aldridge (Upper School History)
Silvia Davis (4th Grade Teacher)
Marc Luff (Middle School English)
Doug Parsons (Dean of Faculty, Upper School English)
R. Madeira, Jr. ’72
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Dear EA Community:
We are pleased to announce that, after interviewing several
leading search firms and completing extensive reference checks on each, our Search Committee has selected Carney Sandoe to assist in the search for our next Head of
Our selection criteria focused on three principal areas: 1) the
quality and capability of the search firm; 2) the experience and capabilities
of the specific consultant team who would lead our particular search -
including a broad and deep candidate network and the willingness to seek
highly qualified candidates outside that network; and 3) the firm's
willingness to engage our various constituencies through the search process.
We are excited about working with Carney Sandoe,
because we believe we have a firm and a consultant team that excels in all
Carney Sandoe focuses on conducting
executive searches for Heads of School (and provides other services related
to post-search transition and searches for other top administrators). The
firm has completed more than 725 successful leadership searches throughout
the United States and abroad, more than any other firm in the industry that
Our search team will be led by Earl Ball, former Head of School
at Penn Charter, and will include Aggie Underwood, former head of school at
National Cathedral School and Garrison Forest School, and Jake Dresden,
former head of school at Collegiate School and Concord Academy. We are
particularly excited about the combined experience these three individuals
bring to our process. All three individuals bring a rich understanding of
what the Head of School position demands and how schools like ours operate
and thrive. Additionally, as can be seen from their brief biographies below,
both Earl and Jake are intimately familiar with our school, and the region in
which we operate, and are therefore ideally suited to represent The Episcopal
Academy in an informed and compelling way to prospective candidates.
Here is some brief background on the three consultants:
Earl Ball served as Head of School at William Penn Charter
School from1976-2007. During that period, he collaborated regularly with Jay Crawford
and Ham Clark. While at Penn Charter, Earl served on the boards of the
National Association of Independent Schools, the Pennsylvania Association of
Independent Schools, and the Friends Council on Education. He has chaired
accreditation teams for schools in five different regional associations. He
has recently completed searches for Sidwell Friends
School, Ethical Culture Fieldston, the Blake
School, and Moses Brown School. He also serves on the faculty of the
University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.
In addition to her leadership of Garrison Forest and National
Cathedral School, Aggie Underwood has deep knowledge of Episcopalian schools.
She has extensive board leadership experience in the major organizations
serving schools and school leaders including a recent term as Treasurer of
the National Association of Independent Schools. Aggie, who is the head of
the Carney Sandoe consulting group, is nationally
known for her work in identifying and developing leaders and has an abiding
interest in women in school leadership. Her recent searches include the Brearley School, Blake School, and Ethical Culture Fieldston.
Jake Dresden knows Episcopal well from his years in the
Philadelphia area at Penn Charter and Abington Friends. While at Penn
Charter, Jake served as the assistant head of school. As mentioned above,
Jake successfully served as head of two nationally known schools, Collegiate
School in New York City and Concord Academy in Massachusetts. He has also
served as a trustee of Trinity School and Spence School in New York City and
the Fenn School in Concord, MA. During his time in
New York, Jake taught in the Klingenstein Program
at Teacher's College, Columbia. His recent searches include the Blake School
and Friends' Central School.
We expect that our search team will be visiting the Episcopal
campus in early May to meet with the Search Committee, the Board of Trustees,
faculty members, students, alumni, parents, and other constituencies. Their
aim will be to solicit points of view from our community on the attributes
our new leader should possess, and to gather consensus on strategic
priorities either in face to face meetings, or through surveys (or both).
We are excited about our association with Carney Sandoe and look forward to sharing news about the search
process in the months ahead.
Members of The Episcopal Academy Community:
It is with a sense of sadness that I announce to you
that Ham Clark has decided to step down as the 10th Head of School of
The Episcopal Academy at the conclusion of the 2012-2013 school year.
While we all lament that Ham’s leadership of The Episcopal Academy will
come to an end, I am also happy for him as he embarks on the next phase
of his life and career and I’m excited and energized by what lies ahead
for our great school.
Clearly, I’ve come to know Ham as a partner in leading
the school through my work on the Board of Trustees, but as fellow
parents of children in the class of 2007, I have also come to know Ham
as a friend. In our personal interactions, Ham always reflected fondly
on the time he spent overseas with Ceci early in his career, and as we
began to talk seriously about renewing his contract this past fall, it
came as no surprise that he expressed his desire to commit the last leg
of his career to another foreign experience. At the same time, he has
unfailingly put Episcopal first, and would never have considered any
move until he felt his work here was done. Indeed his original contract
was to have expired in June of this year, and he graciously agreed to
stay on an extra year to insure that the initiatives of the Strategic
Plan have fully taken root.
No one has worked more tirelessly and selflessly for
Episcopal than Ham. He has overseen one of the most prosperous and
historic decades in Episcopal’s rich history, and his legacy at
Episcopal will undoubtedly include our move to Newtown Square and the
completion of the Ever Episcopal Capital Campaign. It’s hard to remember
what monumental tasks both of these projects were because they both
went so smoothly under his leadership.
We will certainly be honoring Ham in the coming year,
but I, along with the entire Board of Trustees, thank him deeply for his
exceptional stewardship of our great institution and wish him the very
best in the future.
I have already assembled a Search Committee to find our
new Head of School, and have also begun the process of selecting a
search firm to assist in identifying top candidates and moving the
transition process forward. When our committee settles on the search
firm, the first order of business will be to solicit the opinions of our
diverse constituency to help define the characteristics we want in our
new head of school.
The members of the Search Committee currently include:
Gary Madeira ’72 P ’04 ’07 (Current Board Chair)
Rush Haines ’61 P ’88 (Former Board Chair, involved in our last Head of School search)
Ed Vick ’62 (Board Member, Strategic Plan Co-Chair)
Debby Hirtle P ’03 ’11 (Board Member, Strategic Plan Co-Chair)
Rick Northrop ’70 (Board Member, Financial Aid Committee Chair, former EA teacher)
Buck Buckley ’78 P ’10 ’14 (Board Member, Finance Committee Chair, current parent)
David Reape ’80 P ’14 ’16 ’20 (Board Member, Development Committee Chair, current parent)
Beth Corrigan P ’17 ’19 (Board Member, current parent)
I have also identified faculty members that I would like
to serve on this committee and I will be in touch with them immediately
now that Ham’s resignation has been made public. I believe this group
properly includes and represents our expansive constituency. Any and all
of them will be available to hear your opinions as this process
We will keep the community aware of our progress with
periodic postings on the EA Web site, but in order to ensure we see the
strongest candidates, we will conduct a “closed” search. This means that
the identity of the candidates will not be disclosed until the very end
of the process. This will allow, for example, sitting Heads of School
to participate in the process in a discreet manner, which in turn will
increase our applicant pool and attract the finest candidates.
We are terribly sad to see Ham and Ceci leave in June of
2013, but they have ensured that we will be able to offer what one
consultant has called “perhaps the best independent day school job in
America.” Indeed, we could not be in a better place.
To: Mr. Gary Madeira
Chairman of The Board of Trustees
The Episcopal Academy
I have loved my 10 years at Episcopal. How many Heads of School have the
opportunity to design and move a campus while simultaneously leading
one of the nation’s top schools? How many get to spend each day with
bright and motivated students, as well as incredibly dedicated and
passionate teachers? How many have the chance to work with parents and
alumni so generous that they literally financed and created the next
chapter of Episcopal’s history?
Leading Episcopal has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I have had an
outstanding team to work with and I have loved nearly every minute. Ceci
and I are also enormously grateful that our three children were able to
attend and graduate from Episcopal. There is no question that our
school, as has been the case with so many of our graduates, has prepared
our children to lead lives of purpose, faith, and integrity.
Ceci and I have been doing a great deal of thinking about our future,
and we have decided to make next year our last at Episcopal. I often say
to our students that they need to push themselves outside their comfort
zone and take new risks, and I think it is time for Ceci and me to
follow this advice. We are unclear on exactly what we might do when we
leave here in June of 2013, but we are eager to see more of the world
and we are certain that Episcopal is on a strong trajectory. We may work
for an international school or service agency as we love working with
young people, and in one way or another, we know that helping children
will continue to be a major part of our lives.
Episcopal is in excellent shape, and this is a good time
for a transition. You – along with your visionary predecessors,
Gretchen Burke and Rush Haines ’61 – have built an experienced and
engaged Board of Trustees. We have an excellent faculty, spectacular
facilities, we are strong financially, and we are the most selective
independent school in Philadelphia. We have a well-conceived and
forward-looking Strategic Plan in place that will serve as an excellent
roadmap for the institution. I note with a hint of pride that Episcopal
is well positioned to attract a world-class new Head of School who can
lead Episcopal to even greater heights.
I am excited about what we have accomplished, Gary, but I am even more
excited about the future for this great school. I thank you and the
Board for providing me with this incredible opportunity and I will
continue to dedicate all of my energies to Episcopal and its welfare
through my very last day, helping to create the foundation for a very
successful endowment campaign. It has been an honor to serve as the 10th
Head of School for The Episcopal Academy.