The Board of Trustees conducted 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 were reflected in the search process, the Search Committee was 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, made him the perfect leader to spearhead the effort to identify Dalton’s next Head of School.
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.
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 managed the overall search process and recommended a candidate to the Board. The Search Committee was supported by an Advisory Council that included additional representatives who reflect diverse viewpoints from throughout the Dalton community.
Members of the Board shared their thoughts with the Spencer Stuart consultants prior to the development of the position description. The Board of Trustees voted to approve the appointment of the next Head of School. While the final selection of our next Head of School rested with the Board of Trustees, everyone in the Dalton community had a voice.
The search committee included 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 were:
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
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 included 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.
Dalton’s commitment to creating an inclusive community guided the selection of the members of the Head of School Search Committee who, collectively, represented a diverse set of demographic criteria (i.e., gender, race, age, ethnicity, and professional experience).
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 represented the interests of teachers, parents and students.
In addition, the Committee was supported by an Advisory Council made up of additional representatives from the Dalton community. Through this means and many others, we worked towards ensuring that the entire Dalton community had the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas along the way.
The Advisory Council was a group comprised of a diverse cross-section of community representatives, including parents, faculty, and administrators who helped to devise a community-wide survey and oversaw 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 served to gather and convey to the Search Committee diverse perspectives from the community throughout the search.
The members of the Advisory Council were:
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
Spencer Stuart is the highly regarded international search firm selected by Dalton’s Board of Trustees. They gathered input from outreach and engagement opportunities and the online survey, and working closely with the Search Committee, developed the position description. Spencer Stuart conducted extensive outreach into the desired candidate pools, seeking to identify leaders whose experience, backgrounds, attributes, and characteristics aligned with Dalton’s aspirations for the next Head of School. The consultants supported the Search Committee through the interview and recruitment process, ensuring that the candidates’ and committee’s need for information, diligence, and confidentiality were met.
The search for Dalton’s 8th Head of School was 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.
In a letter to the community, Board of Trustees President Aly Jeddy announced the appointment of José Manuel De Jesús as Dalton's next Head of School. José joins Dalton by way of Lake Forest Academy, a leading boarding and day school just outside of Chicago, where he has served as Head of School since 2019.
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."
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."
José will begin meeting community members in December and will assume his role as Dalton’s Head of School beginning July 1, 2022.