Head of School Search

Students sitting on top of the Whitfield monument sign

Whitfield School is thrilled to announce the selection of Chris Cunningham as its next head of school, effective July 1, 2022. In January 2021, current Head of School John Delautre announced he will retire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 school year.  Whitfield employed Educators' Collaborative to conduct a national head of school search.  

The selection of the Head of School is one of the greatest responsibilities of trusteeship, and all of us in the Whitfield School family can be proud not only that Chris has accepted the appointment, but also that the Whitfield community was so invested throughout an extensive national search process. Each of our finalists commented positively on the warm welcome he received, and our Educators’ Collaborative consultants cited that the School’s engagement well exceeded what is normally seen in a search process. We are delighted with the outcome and look forward to welcoming Chris and Helena to the school community.

Paul Minorini, Chair, Whitfield School Board of Trustees

COMMUNICATIONS

Head of School Announcement

Dear Whitfield School Community:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce that Chris Cunningham has accepted our invitation to serve as the next Head of Whitfield School, effective July 1, 2022. As you know, John Delautre will be retiring at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year after ten years of outstanding service to our School, and we will enjoy his leadership for the next fourteen months, thus ensuring a smooth transition.

Beginning in January 2021, the Search Committee, chaired by Karen Myers, worked with search consultants Nat Conard and Deirdre Ling of Educators’ Collaborative, and reviewed the credentials of candidates from throughout the U.S. and abroad.  The Committee narrowed the pool of candidates to eight individuals who were invited for a confidential round of virtual interviews. Subsequently, four finalists and spouses/partners visited the campus for comprehensive two-day interviews. On May 20, the Search Committee selected Chris Cunningham as its nominee to the Board of Trustees to serve as the next Head of School. The Trustees unanimously ratified this recommendation at a Board meeting on May 25.

Chris has spent the past twenty-five years in independent school education. He currently is the Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty at The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, NJ.

During his time on Whitfield’s campus, those with whom Chris met described him as authentic, warm, and approachable, and as grounded, stable, and experienced. One faculty member described him as “an incredibly effective communicator who seems confident in his decision making,” and a parent commented that “he was warm, personable, and seemed willing to grow and learn beside and with our community.” Perhaps most telling, however, was a student’s observation that he “seemed super passionate about students but equally as passionate about faculty and alumni; he emphasized in his educational leadership letter that teachers should encourage students to think for themselves and create their own ideas, which is something Whitfield does well daily.”

Click to view a pdf of the full announcement.

"I am honored to accept the board’s offer to be Whitfield’s next head of school. In my visit to campus earlier this spring, I was inspired by the students I met and by the community of adults committed to their learning and well-being. From the members of the board to the teachers, parents, and administrative team, I was impressed by the sense of community and moved by the commitment to changing children’s lives.

After 25 years of working in independent schools, I am inspired by Whitfield’s commitment to progressive education—to teaching for depth rather than breadth, to aligning academic rigor and strength of character, and to caring for students’ social and emotional well-being.

As the next head of school, I will keep forefront the values that animate me as a school leader—community, integrity and fairness, diversity and inclusion, student-centered learning."

— Chris Cunningham

COMMUNICATIONS ARCHIVE

Beginning in January 2021, the Search Committee, chaired by Karen Myers, worked with search consultants Nat Conard and Deirdre Ling of Educators’ Collaborative, and reviewed the credentials of candidates from throughout the U.S. and abroad. The Committee narrowed the pool of candidates to eight individuals who were invited for a confidential round of virtual interviews. Subsequently, four finalists and spouses/partners visited the campus for comprehensive two-day interviews. On May 20, the Search Committee selected Chris Cunningham as its nominee to the Board of Trustees to serve as the next Head of School. The Trustees unanimously ratified this recommendation at a Board meeting on May 25.

SEARCH LEADERSHIP

Search Committee

Karen Myers, Committee Chair

Board of Trustees
Parent of Katherine '13, Sarah '16, Julia '16

 

Kinyetta Alexander

Board of Trustees
Parent of Chris '17, Isaiah '21

Andy Bryan

Board of Trustees
Parent of Whitney '25, Andrew '27, Catherine '28

Rob Fox '74

Board of Trustees
Parent of Jeffrey '01, Elizabeth '03, Joanna '07, Nathan '24

Michele Holton

Board of Trustees
Parent of Max '20

Corey Jones

Parent of Taryn '24, Fallon '27

Phillip Levy

Board of Trustees
Parent of Morgan '15, Michael '17

Paul Minorini

Board of Trustees Chair
Parent of Anthony '12, Hannah '15, Kate '16

Steve Nordlund

Board of Trustees
Parent of Henry '21, Althea '23

Melissa Howe O'Connor '08

David Ressner

Board of Trustees
Parent of Abby '23
 

Advisory Committee

Jim Koman, Committee Co-Chair

Parent of Michael '22

Larry Hays, Committee Co-Chair

Faculty


Miller Boyd

Faculty

Christi Brandenstein

Parent of Zoe '21, Mia '23, Evi '27

Brian Chao '08

Dave Cooperstein

Parent of Grace '25

Rachel Gassner

Faculty

Savannah Harris '22

Amanda Henry

Staff

Sheldon Jackson

Parent of Treazure '23, Sheldon '24

Michal Kwiecien

Faculty

Laura Lotz '95

Faculty
Parent of Addison '21

Gemar McBurrows '22

Cary Murphy

Parent of Winnie '26, Rush '27

Melika Panneri

Parent of Cohen '24

Mikia Pollard

Parent of Journey '25

Mary Schnitzler

Faculty  

Consultants

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