Head of School Search

Letter from Head Search Committee Chair Kris Leslie

April 3, 2019

Dear Flintridge Prep Families and Friends, 

I hope you are all enjoying these early days of spring! While our students and faculty are starting the home stretch of this academic year, your Search Committee and Search consultants have been quietly working in the background during this confidential phase of the process.

First, let me take a moment to thank the entire Prep community for your engagement to date in the Head of School search process. Our consultants were able to meet with current and past parents, faculty and staff, alumni, past trustees and students during their three-day site visit in early February. Following the visit, you all received a community survey asking for input on what you value most about Prep, key focus areas for our next Head of School and the most important professional experiences and qualities our next Head of School should possess. I’m thrilled to tell you that we received almost 600 responses to the survey with close to half the responses coming from our growing alumni base. I would also like to thank the dozens of people that have reached out to the Committee directly through our dedicated email (headsearch@flintridgeprep.org).

The Survey

While the survey provided a lot a data for the Committee and our consultants to digest, I did want to share some high-level results. First and foremost, we were pleased to see that there was general consistency across constituent groups in the responses. And second, in reading through the free form commentary, a deep affection and affinity for Prep came through loud and clear. Indeed, our community shares common goals and values around our mission and the balanced experience we provide to our students. Yet, there are areas on which we should continue to focus our attention, such as exploring ways to engage, support and include faculty, students and families from a range of cultures, experiences and perspectives so that we can continue to reflect the changing demographics of Los Angeles.

Following are the top three responses to each of the main questions posed:

Phrases that best describe what you value most about Prep

Faculty who are outstanding teachers and mentors inside and outside the classroom
Equal priorities of academic excellence and human development
Highly engaged, dynamic, warm and proud Prep community


Priorities for next Head of School

Recruiting, retaining and compensating highquality faculty
Enhancing academic excellence
Increasing the emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion


Most important characteristics or qualities for the ideal Head of School

Strong leadership skills
Excellent communicator
Engaging, inspiring, motivational


The Position Description

Incorporating all the feedback received to date from the site visit, survey and other communications, our consultants have developed a position description that they will be sharing with prospective candidates. This document highlights all key aspects of Flintridge Prep including our mission, faculty, academics, the arts and athletics, our campus and the greater La Canada-Pasadena community to mention a few. There are also sections on key opportunities and challenges ahead as well as the qualities, qualifications and personal characteristics we seek in our next Head of School. Click here to read the full position description. This description also can be found on the school website at flintridgeprep.org/head-search.

Next steps

As I mentioned in my last letter, the next several months will be “quiet” as our consultants work to identify the strongest candidates. They have already been reaching out to their network and were thrilled to report that interest in this position is very strong. Formal applications are due to Carney Sandoe at the end of June. We expect that they will present the Search Committee with 12-15 candidates in mid-July from which we will select a group for semi-finalist interviews some time in August. As a reminder, all potential candidates will remain confidential until the finalist stage in the fall.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions and comments at headsearch@flintridgeprep.org. Again, thank you all for the input and participation to date–I would expect nothing less from the Flintridge Prep community.


Kris Leslie 
Chair of Search Committee

About the Search Committee

Kris Leslie, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and parent of Robbie ’16, Michael ’13 and Ryan ’11, is the Chair of the Search Committee. The other committee members are:

  • David Codiga, Chair of the Board of Trustees and parent of Hope ‘19, Sasha ’19 and Jackson ’15
  • John Wong, Jr. ’85, trustee and parent of Ethan ’21
  • Ken McCormick, trustee and parent of Charlie ’20
  • Janice Ohta, trustee and parent of Barrett ’15, Gareth ’15 and Isabella ’11
  • Jaynie Studenmund, trustee and parent of Connell ’12 and Scott ’08

Kim Kinder, Director of Finance and parent of Scott ’05 and Claire ’08, is the administrative liaison to the Search Committee.

About the Search Firm

After interviewing three firms, the Search Committee chose Carney Sandoe & Associates to manage the search for our next Head of School.

Carney Sandoe & Associates is an educational recruiting and consulting firm founded in 1977 with the primary mission of helping K-12 non-profit, independent, charter and like-kind (non-public) schools worldwide recruit and hire highly qualified teachers and administrators. The firm specializes in retained executive search and management consulting for educational organizations. Carney Sandoe is nationally recognized for their work, and Prep has used CSA to hire 22 faculty members over the last several years.

Our search consultants are:

Robert Fricker
In addition to his experience as a school administrator and school head, Bob has conducted searches for heads of school across the country as well as in California.
Email: bob.fricker@carneysandoe.com

Jennifer Wong Christensen
Jennifer has extensive professional background in both independent schools and colleges.
Email: Jennifer.christensen@carneysandoe.com
Bio: https://www.carneysandoe.com/team-member/jennifer-christensen

Town Hall Meetings

Carney Sandoe & Associates will meet with faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and former trustees on February 6, 7, and 8. The evening Town Hall sessions are listed below. Parents who are also alumni may attend either or both of the Town Hall sessions according to their preference and availability.

Reception for past trustees with Carney Sandoe & Associates:
Wednesday, February 6 at 5:30 pm in Chandramohan Library

Town Hall for alumni with Carney Sandoe & Associates:
Wednesday, February 6 at 7:00 pm in Norris Auditorium

Town Hall for parents with Carney Sandoe & Associates:
Thursday, February 7 at 7:00 pm in Norris Auditorium


When will Peter Bachmann retire?

Peter will complete the 2019-2020 school year, retiring as head on June 30, 2020. He will continue to lead Prep until that day. Prep’s Board of Trustees and Peter have carefully planned the transition and have ample time to conduct a comprehensive search for the next head of school. As Head Emeritus, Peter will remain a part of the Prep community.

Who will conduct the search for a new head?

The selection of the Head of School is the single most important duty of the Board of Trustees. As is customary in independent schools, the Board has created a Head of School Search Committee comprised of trustees to lead the search process to find an inspiring, extraordinary leader.

The Committee, led by Board Vice Chair Kris Leslie, is working with Carney, Sandoe & Associates (https://www.carneysandoe.com), search consultants retained by the Board of Trustees to construct a process that results in an exceptionally strong appointment and engages the school community as much as possible without undermining the recruitment of excellent candidates. Carney Sandoe & Associates is a search firm with extensive experience conducting worldwide, comprehensive searches for independent school heads. Prep has used Carney Sandoe & Associates in searches for 22 faculty members in recent years.

How was the Board Search Committee formed?

Governance is a primary responsibility of the Board. As such, the committee is made up of trustees.

Kris Leslie, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and parent of Robbie ’16, Michael ’13 and Ryan ’11, is the Chair of the Search Committee. The other committee members are:

  • David Codiga, Chair of the Board of Trustees and parent of Hope ’19, Sasha ’19 and Jackson ’15
  • John Wong, Jr. ’85, trustee and parent of Ethan ’21
  • Ken McCormick, trustee and parent of Charlie ’20
  • Janice Ohta, trustee and parent of Barrett ’15, Gareth ’15 and Isabella ’11
  • Jaynie Studenmund, trustee and parent of Connell ’12 and Scott ’08

Kim Kinder, Director of Finance and parent of Scott ’05 and Claire ’08, is administrative liaison to the Search Committee.

How will the search process work?

Carney Sandoe & Associates is working with the Search Committee to understand the school’s culture and needs. In February, its representatives, Bob Fricker and Jennifer Christensen, will meet with a variety of community members. Shortly after that, CSA will conduct a survey of community members who were unable to participate in the on-campus meetings. The process will remain quiet as CSA and the Search Committee vet potential candidates. In fall 2019, finalists will be brought to campus. Throughout this period and through his transition to Head Emeritus at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Peter Bachmann will continue his daily activities as school Headmaster.

Will the whole community be involved in the search process?

Yes. The whole Prep community, including faculty, staff, parents, alumni and trustees, will have the opportunity to participate in interviews and/or in a comprehensive online survey.

When will the new head of school be chosen?

Our goal is to hire a new Head of School in the fall of 2019 and have the new head assume responsibilities on July 1, 2020.

How can I stay informed about the search process?

Throughout the search process, the Search Committee will keep the entire Prep community informed with updates and information via email and on our website. Please understand that this process is not totally transparent because confidentiality must be maintained until the final candidates are invited to campus in fall 2019.

I would like to suggest a potential candidate or offer other input on the process. Who should I contact?

Please contact our search consultants at Carney Sandoe & Associates:

Bob Fricker– bob.fricker@carneysandoe.com
Jennifer Christensen – jennifer.christensen@carneysandoe.com

You can also communicate confidentially with the Board Search Committee Chair, Kris Leslie (headsearch@flintridgeprep.org).

Will internal candidates be considered for this position?

Candidates have been promised complete confidentiality. In order to recruit the very best candidates from anywhere in the world, our consultants need to be able to assure all candidates that their candidacy will remain confidential as long as possible, typically until the finalist round next fall. A detailed description of the position will be provided to the public in late February.

Who do I contact if I have other questions?

Kris Leslie, the Search Committee Chair, has set up a confidential email account. You can email your questions to her: headsearch@flintridgeprep.org.

Flintridge Preparatory School
4543 Crown Avenue La Cañada Flintridge CA 91011
Tel: 818-790-1178
Fax: 818-952-6247
Located near Pasadena and Los Angeles in La Cañada, CA, Flintridge Prep is a private independent, coed day school for grades 7-12.
  • NAIS
  • FAST
  • CSEE
  • Independent Curriculum Group
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