MESSAGE FROM BOARD OF TRUSTEES PRESIDENT ALY JEDDY TO THE DALTON COMMUNITY
Our next Head of School has the experience, the training and the vision to be an exceptional leader for Dalton.
He spent the first seven years of his career at Concord Academy in Massachusetts, where he was a beloved history teacher. He went on to Poly Prep Country Day School, where he continued to teach history, but also became Dean of their 124 Ninth Grade students. Following six years at Poly Prep, he moved to The Spence School, where he was appointed Director of Outreach and Public Purpose. Four successful years later, he was appointed Head of the Upper School at The Packer Collegiate Institute, where he served for five years. Throughout this time, he remained in the classroom too, continuing to teach history. Most recently, he was appointed Head of School at Lake Forest Academy, a leading boarding and day school just outside of Chicago, from where he will join us. He holds Master of Arts degrees in Private School Leadership from Columbia University and in History from Tufts, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Wesleyan University. Please welcome José Manuel De Jesús as Dalton's next Head of School.
José was born in Puerto Rico and came to New York as a young child. This is the city in which he learned English, went to school and spent almost all of his professional career. He began his independent school journey as a Prep for Prep scholar at Horace Mann. In fact, he is the first Prep for Prep scholar ever to become a Head of School. In so many ways, José embodies Dalton’s motto: Go Forth Unafraid. José is also a member of our extended Dalton family. Many in our community knew him as the husband of our much adored teacher Andrea De Jesús. From their years together, José knows Dalton well, understands our progressive ethos and cares deeply about our school.
As a Board of Trustees, and as a Search Committee, we are confident in our selection of José from an exceptionally strong pool of candidates. We evaluated over 150 potential candidates, reached out to approximately 90 of these, conducted detailed reviews of 42 profiles and eventually invited 10 individuals for first-round interviews. This group included three sitting heads of independent schools, three university administrators, one public school superintendent, one non-profit educational leader, one for-profit educational leader and one Assistant Head of School. The Search Committee was unanimous in recommending José to the Board of Trustees and the Board of Trustees was unanimous in accepting this recommendation.
José is both an empathetic and a decisive leader. He tackles complex strategic, organizational and curricular opportunities with nuance and care, always with an eye toward building community, supporting parents and faculty, and empowering all students to take on personal and societal challenges with confidence. He is deeply committed to extending our expertise in progressive education, advancing our culture of academic excellence and reinforcing a dynamic, inclusive environment in which all of our students are seen and thrive. We have also been inspired by José's vision for the role Dalton can play in New York City as a member of this great community and as a leader among independent schools here and beyond.
José will assume his role as our Head of School beginning July 1, 2022. In reflecting on his appointment, José said: "I am deeply honored to have been appointed Dalton’s next Head of School. Thirty-five years ago, I visited Dalton for the first time as a prospective student for the Prep for Prep program. Since that time, I have admired Dalton for its devotion to seeing, and then bringing out, the very best of every student. I look forward to connecting with the Dalton community as we work to ensure that Dalton continues to be one of the greatest places on earth to learn. I also look forward to partnering with Ellen, a leader I greatly admire, in this transition."
We are all deeply grateful to Ellen Stein for her simply superb leadership. Ellen is fully committed to partnering with José to ensure a successful transition. In welcoming José, Ellen said: "I have known José since he was at Spence and have long been impressed by his vision, his charisma and his relationships with students. I am thrilled he is stepping in to lead Dalton into the future."
Over the coming weeks, the members of our Search Committee and I look forward to introducing José to you. We cannot wait to do so. We are certain that you will be impressed and inspired by this visionary, courageous and kind leader.
In closing, I would like to thank our Search Committee for their tireless devotion to the intense and demanding work of identifying our next Head of School: we all owe Roy Swan (Chair), Josh Bachrach, Cheryl Cohen Effron '83, Erica Mitnick Klein, Dasha Smith and Ashley Smyth an enormous debt of gratitude. We also thank our Search Advisory Council for their work in soliciting the community input that guided us: Joanna Stone Herman '88 (Chair), Tarika Coleman, Michael Hwang, Sarah Kerman, Delvida Sene and Brynja Sigurdardottir.
I will write separately to describe our transition plans as they develop. We do expect them to include a visit by José to our campus in the first half of December 2021. We will share the schedule as it is finalized. We also look forward to celebrating Ellen’s lifetime of service to our school in the coming months as well.
Aly S. Jeddy
President, Board of Trustees