Head of School Search

The 2020-21 school year was Head of School Jim Best's 16th and final year at Dalton. Former Head of School Ellen Stein is serving as Interim Head of School for the 2021-22 school year. Over the coming months—as the Board of Trustees conducts the search for Dalton's next Head of School—you'll find updates on this webpage.

Head Search FAQs

Search Committee FAQs

List of 10 frequently asked questions.

  • How will the new permanent Head of School be chosen?

    The Board of Trustees has begun the search for Dalton’s next HOS in conjunction with the highly-regarded executive search firm Spencer Stuart, as well as an internal Search Committee led by longstanding former trustee and current Dalton parent Roy Swan. To ensure that the community’s views are reflected in the search process, the Search Committee will be supported by an Advisory Council comprised of a diverse cross-section of community representatives.

    Roy is a current Dalton parent, served as a trustee for over 12 years, and is a current non-trustee member of the Committee on Trustees. While on the Board he served in a variety of capacities, including Chair of the Audit Committee, Secretary, Treasurer and Vice Chairman, and was a member of multiple committees and task forces, including those focused on evaluating the school’s financial aid program and strategies to maintain tuition affordability. Roy’s commitment to the school, as well as to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion that guide its mission, make him the perfect leader to spearhead the effort to identify Dalton’s next Head of School.
  • How was Roy Swan selected to lead the Search Committee?

    The Board of Trustees selected Roy based on his exceptional record of service to the school, as well as his deep personal ties to Dalton and his knowledge of our community’s unique culture. In addition, as the leader of the Ford Foundation’s Mission Investments Program and a former senior executive at Morgan Stanley and Carver Federal Savings Bank, Roy understands the unique elements required to help individuals achieve their full potential.
  • What is the role of the Board of Trustees in the search process?

    Per Dalton by-laws, it is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to select and hire a new Head of School. To that end, the Board established a Search Committee, chaired by former trustee and current parent Roy Swan and comprised of current and former trustees and faculty, that will manage the overall search process and recommend a candidate to the Board. The Search Committee will be supported by an Advisory Council that includes additional representatives who reflect diverse viewpoints from throughout the Dalton community. 

    Members of the Board will share their thoughts with the Spencer Stuart consultants prior to the development of the position description. The Board of Trustees will vote to approve the appointment of the next Head of School. While the final selection of our next Head of School rests with the Board of Trustees, everyone in the Dalton community should have a voice.
  • What is the role of the Search Committee?

    The Search Committee’s charge is to lead a thoughtful, thorough and transparent process to develop and assess prospective candidates. The search committee will, among other things:
    • Provide feedback on and final approval of the Position Description;
    • Manage logistics relating to Spencer Stuart and candidate visits;
    • Review the application materials of candidates presented by Spencer Stuart;
    • Plan, organize and conduct initial meetings with candidates;
    • Initiate due diligence, reference and background checks in concert with Spencer Stuart;
    • Shortlist candidates and gather the Board of Trustees’ feedback;
    • Make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for their vote on the next Head of School.
  • Who are the other members of the Search Committee?

    The search committee includes a broad spectrum of the Dalton community, represented by trustee members who are also Dalton parents and/or alumnae and a faculty member who is also a current parent. The members of the Committee are:
    • Roy Swan (Chair), Former Trustee, High School and Alumnus parent
    • Josh Bachrach, Middle School English Department Chair, First Program and Middle School parent
    • Cheryl Cohen Effron '83, Former Trustee and Board President, High School and Alumni parent
    • Aly Jeddy, President of the Board of Trustees, High School and Alumnus parent
    • Erica Klein, Trustee, First Program and Middle School parent
    • Dasha Smith, Trustee, High School parent
    • Ashley Smyth, Trustee, Middle and High School parent
  • What are the criteria for selecting the members of the Search committee?

    The Committee members were selected based on their skills, knowledge, perspective, and mindset in order to ensure representation of a wide cross-section of voices. The specific criteria include a 100% commitment to Dalton’s mission, vision, and values; a diversity of perspectives and opinions; prioritizing the best interests of the school ahead of any other agenda; and a willingness and ability to commit a significant amount of time to the process.
  • What role does diversity play in the formation and selection of the Search Committee?

    Dalton’s commitment to creating an inclusive community guided the selection of the members of the Head of School Search Committee who, collectively, represent a diverse set of demographic criteria (i.e., gender, race, age, ethnicity, and professional experience).
  • Why is the Search Committee comprised of just faculty and Trustees – shouldn’t parents have a say in our future Head of School?

    In order to facilitate a thoughtful and expeditious process, the Search Committee is comprised of a core group of individuals charged with guiding the search mission, gathering input from throughout the Dalton community, vetting prospective candidates, and making a final recommendation to the Board. Comprised of faculty as well as trustees who are also current Dalton parents, the Search Committee effectively represents the interests of teachers, parents and students.

    In addition, the Committee is supported by an Advisory Council made up of additional representatives from the Dalton community. Through this means and many others, we will work towards ensuring that the entire Dalton community has the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas along the way.
  • What is the search timeline?

    The goal of the search will be to identify a robust pool of high-quality candidates by the early summer. The Committee’s job will be to screen, interview, and recommend final candidate(s) to the Board by the end of the fall semester. 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.
  • How can members of the Dalton community participate in the search process?

    The Search Committee will seek input from all members of the Dalton community. We will be providing opportunities for engagement through the Advisory Council, an online survey, a dedicated search email address (DaltonSearch@googlegroups.com), as well as virtual and, if feasible, in-person meetings at the school. We will announce specific opportunities as soon as we have more information to share.

Advisory Council FAQs

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • What is the role of the Advisory Council and who are its members?

    The Advisory Council is a group comprised of a diverse cross-section of community representatives, including parents, faculty, and administrators who will help to devise a community-wide survey and oversee meetings with members of the community to expand upon the survey’s results. In addition to providing additional transparency into the search process, the Advisory Council will serve to gather and convey to the Search Committee diverse perspectives from the community throughout the search.

    The members of the Advisory Council are:
    • Joanna Stone Herman '88 (Chair), Chair of the Alumni Council
    • Tarika Coleman, First Program House Advisor
    • Michael Hwang, Assistant Head of School for Operations & Chief Financial Officer
    • Sarah Kerman, President of the Faculty Association and High School English Teacher
    • Delvida Sene, Parents Association DEI Liaison Officer
    • Brynja Sigurdardottir, Parents Association President
  • How were members of the Advisory Council chosen?

    Members of the Advisory Council were chosen by the Board of Trustees and the Search Committee given their current leadership positions within the Dalton community.

Spencer Stuart FAQs

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • What is the role of Spencer Stuart, the search firm?

    Spencer Stuart is the highly regarded international search firm selected by Dalton’s Board of Trustees. They will gather input from outreach and engagement opportunities and the online survey, and working closely with the Search Committee, will develop the position description. Spencer Stuart will conduct extensive outreach into the desired candidate pools, seeking to identify leaders whose experience, backgrounds, attributes, and characteristics align with Dalton’s aspirations for the next Head of School. The consultants support the Search Committee through the interview and recruitment process, ensuring that the candidates’ and committee’s need for information, diligence, and confidentiality are met.
  • Who from Spencer Stuart is leading the search process?

    The search for Dalton’s 8th Head of School will be supported by Michele Haertel, Mary Gorman, and John Harpole from Spencer Stuart, a team with extensive experience supporting the transitions of independent school leaders. In recent years, members of the team have worked with search committees from a number of schools across the country including Andover, Lakeside and Punahou as well as schools in New York City including Chapin, Berkeley Carroll, St. Bernard’s and Browning.
  • How do I recommend a candidate for the search?

    Please email your recommendation to SpencerStuart at DaltonHead@spencerstuart.com.

Head Search News

List of 1 news stories.


    In a letter to the community, Search Committee Chair Roy Swan provided an update on the Head of School search and announced that the candidate position specification is now posted. He encouraged community members to share this document with possible candidates. Please take a moment to explore the Head of School Search page where you'll find Roy's letter, the position spec, and more! 
    Read More
Past Head Search News

Leadership Transition Letters

List of 5 items.

Position and Candidate Specification

(Grades K-3) 53 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128
(212) 423-5463

(Grade 4 Dalton East & PE Center) 200 East 87th Street New York, NY 10128
(212) 423-5361

(Grade 5-12) 108 East 89th Street, New York, NY 10128
(212) 423-5262