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Head of School Announcement

Head of School Announcement

February 22, 2019

A Letter to The Independent School Community from Your Trustees

Dear Independent School families, 

We are exceedingly pleased to introduce our next Head of School! 

Chris English will join The Independent School as Head of School on July 1, 2019. Mr. English is currently Associate Head of School for Curriculum and Pedagogy at The Barstow School near Kansas City, Missouri. 21 years after his first teaching job as an English teacher in North Carolina, Mr. English’s educational philosophy remains focused on individualizing independent education, and his affinity for The Independent School is rooted in our mission:

I am aligned with the expectation of excellence at The Independent School and the apparent lasting self-efficacy that is built there through perseverance and challenge. Most important to me is the sense of family… It is the belief that a school community binds its members together to achieve great purpose.”

Before joining The Barstow School, Mr. English served as Assistant Head of School at Wasatch Academy in Utah, where he developed the skills and academic drive he’ll employ at The Independent School to move our current programs and projects forward. He already follows our school’s teams and clubs and is rooting for every panther.  When we sent a quick note to let him know that our Boys Swim Team placed 3rd in State (a first for a 2A school), Mr. English already knew and was eager for our next story. 

Mr. English is quick to mention his family in conversation. His wife, Lori, is a counselor for school aged children. Their twin daughters, Kate and Emma, are high school seniors preparing for university in the fall of 2019. The English family enjoys hiking, rafting, cooking and home remodeling. 

A Quick Review

Our 18- person Head of School Search Committee included faculty, fine arts and sports leadership, a Human Resources professional, a retired teacher, a Panther grandparent, and dedicated Panther parents. In October, the committee narrowed a diversely skilled field of candidates to a group of semi-finalists and interviewed six. They presented three finalists to our trustees for further consideration near the end of November. We invited the finalists to our campus in January for tours, interviews, to make presentations and to visit our city as a potential future home. School trustees remain indebted to the committee for their devotion and reasoned choices.  

To Our Community

Thank you for your spirited input and patient trust. We now turn our attention to a smooth leadership transition.

Thanks Are Due

The detailed finalist campus visits sparkled with quintessential Independent School moments. Special thanks are due to Karen Norton and Jill Tinsley for their guidance and attention to detail and to our division heads for making room for our guests during busy school days. If your Upper School student met with candidates for lunch, know that the students presented the essence of our school and that we are grateful to them. We also owe extreme gratitude to Stephanie Scheck, at Stinson Leonard Street LLP, for her counsel. 

Next Steps

Opportunities to meet the English family and welcome them to The Independent School will be announced in coming weeks. Please, read your upcoming newsletters to stay informed.

Onward Independent Panthers,
Gwynne Birzer
Chair, Head of Search Selection Committee
And Your Board of Trustees

To provide a superior, independent, college preparatory education, serving a diverse student population in a safe, supportive community, conducive to the intellectual, emotional, and physical growth of each Independent student.


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