Riverdale Country School, established in 1907, will welcome its 7th head of school in the fall of the 2023–2024 academic year.
Riverdale’s new head will be an extraordinary leader for an exceptional school. They will demonstrate deep experience fostering engagement and belonging, while working within an emotionally centered and collaborative community. They not only must have a strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, but also must bring to the position an estimable record creating and leading DEIB efforts. The next head of school must embody the Riverdale mission “to change the world for the good.”
At this moment, there is a strong desire within the Riverdale community to continue to excel in all areas with the direction of a new leader — one who can embrace, model, and celebrate Riverdale’s rich heritage and values while moving the school into areas of practice that meet the new realities and educational challenges of a “post-pandemic” world. The next head of school will work with the community and the board of trustees to advance Riverdale in every respect — financially, programmatically, and reputationally. They must bring to the position exceptional skills in communication, organizational leadership, systems design, development, and movement building, in addition to vision and empathy.
Updates regarding the search committee’s timeline, process, and progress will be posted here. We appreciate your support of this critical endeavor for the future of Riverdale.
Send your nominations, questions, and advice to the search team: RiverdaleHOS@SpencerStuart.com.
From the Board &
A Message from Dan Rosen ’92, P’22,’24, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Search Committee Co-Chairs Sandra Kim Hoffen ’83; P’25,’26 and Deborah Sonnenberg P’15,’16, ’20,’23:
As the Chair and Members of the Board of Trustees, but also as parents of current and past students and proud Riverdale alumni, we believe that Dominic A.A. Randolph will be leaving Riverdale in the strongest position in its history. While we will miss him as he explores this next chapter in his life, we know he will always be a trusted advisor and friend to the school.
We are seeking a new leader who will continue to advance Riverdale’s mission of empowering life-long learners with a focus on character development, global citizenship, and interdisciplinary and experiential education. We also seek someone who will support, retain, and attract best in class faculty and staff who encourage students’ intellectual development and mental wellness.
The new leader will build upon what has been achieved in making Riverdale one of the preeminent independent schools in the world, providing the best education to each and every one of our students and striving to be the best community we can be.
Since the Riverdale family reaches across generations, continents, cultures, and life experiences, we want this process to be a unifying experience for our School. The key attribute that makes Riverdale so special has always been the people who make up our community. Finding the right person who understands and will join our community seamlessly will be a top priority in our search.
We look forward to continuing to communicate with the community as the process progresses.
Who is leading the Search Process?
Per the by-laws of Riverdale, the Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting and hiring the next Head of School. The Board established a Search Committee, co-chaired by Sandy Hoffen and Deborah Sonnenberg; it is comprised of current trustees, faculty, and staff that will engage in the search process and ultimately recommend a candidate to the Board.
What is the role of the Search Committee?
The charge of the Riverdale Country School Board of Trustees to the Head of School Search Committee is to engage in a thoughtful, thorough process to identify, assess, and ultimately recruit and recommend the best possible candidate for the Board to consider as the next Head of Riverdale Country School.
Who is on the Search Committee?
- Sandy Hoffen ‘83, Trustees’ Vice Chair, Development Co-Chair, Search Committee Co-Chair
- Deborah Sonnenberg, Trustee, SAFA Chair, Search Committee Co-Chair
- Gwen Adolph, Trustee, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Co-Chair
- David Blitzer, Trustee, Treasurer, Finance Chair
- Ebby Elahi, Trustee
- Ellen Greengrass, Assistant Head of the Lower School, Grades 3-5
- Jane Katz ‘65, Trustee Emeritus, Development Co-Chair
- John Neuwirth, Trustees’ Vice Chair, Audit Chair
- Susan Polise, Faculty, Foreign Exchange Coordinator
- Dan Rosen ‘92, Trustees’ Chair
- Shelby Stokes, Dean of Faculty, English Faculty
- Tod Waterman ‘84, Trustee, Facilities Chair
- Roy Weathers, Trustee, Future Directions Chair
What is the role of Spencer Stuart, the search firm?
Spencer Stuart is the national search firm selected by Riverdale’s Board of Trustees. Michele Haertel, Mary Gorman, and Irma Encarnación will partner with the Search Committee to ensure a successful process and outcome. Working closely with the Search Committee, this team is currently gathering input from conversations at the school and an online survey, drafting the position description, and conducting extensive outreach into the desired candidate pools. Their goal is to identify leaders whose experience, backgrounds, attributes, and characteristics closely align with Riverdale’s aspirations for the next Head of School. The Spencer Stuart team will support the Search Committee throughout the interview and recruitment process, ensuring that the candidates’ and committee’s need for information, diligence, and confidentiality are met.
What is the timeline of the search process?
The Search Committee will take the time it needs to identify and recruit the next head of Riverdale. Thanks to Dominic’s good succession planning, the search commenced nearly 18 months before the next head will be seated. The Search Committee has a draft timeline that results in an appointment by next fall, but if at any point the Search Committee feels that the candidate pool is not up to our community’s expectations, then the search will be re-cast to identify further candidates.
What is the role of Dominic Randolph, the current Riverdale Head of School?
Dominic will continue to lead Riverdale and the faculty and staff until June 30, 2023. We expect that finalist candidates will be eager to meet with him to learn more about Riverdale.
Will anyone have the chance to meet the candidates in person during the process?
We are in a competitive environment and candidate confidentiality is critical to attracting the best candidates. This means that it may be that most members of our community might not get to meet candidates during the process. For this reason, we hope that everyone has taken the opportunity to express their views in the Community Survey.