Head of School Search 2019-20

Head of School Search Updates

November 1, 2019 - Dr. Jennifer Warren appointed as Woodland's Head of School beginning July 1, 2020.

May 10, 2019 - Lillian Howard announced as Woodland's Interim Head of School for the 2019-20 academic year.

June 13, 2019 - Search Committee announced.

Announcements from the Board of Trustees

Woodland Board of Trustees Appoints Dr. Jennifer Warren Head of School

It is with great pleasure that the Board of Trustees announces the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Warren as our next Head of School beginning July 1, 2020.

In Dr. Warren, the community recognized a leader whose values aligned with Woodland and whose skills and leadership experience positioned her as our top candidate. The Search Committee recommended Dr. Warren to the Board in mid-October, and the Board unanimously supported the recommendation.

Dr. Warren brings a wealth of experience to Woodland. She has been in education for over 20 years in a variety of roles. Her career to date has spanned from coast to coast, first as an elementary school teacher and Assistant Principal in Southern California and then as the Elementary and Middle Years Coordinator for Teach for America at the University of Pennsylvania.  She also supported teachers and administrators as an educational consultant for the Consortium on Reading Excellence.

Dr. Warren was the Principal at Ormondale School in Portola Valley from 2007 - 2013. During her tenure, the school collaborated with IDEO to redesign curriculum for the 21st century student and implemented strategic plan initiatives that included increasing differentiated mathematics opportunities and enhancing student engagement.

Since 2013, Dr. Warren has served as the Lower School Head at Town School for Boys in San Francisco.  In that role, she has led curricular initiatives including aligning curriculum and assessments with desired outcomes, adopting and implementing new reading, writing, and math programs and creating a performing arts program using an integrated curricular approach. She has designed a counseling program that is grounded in robust instruction in social emotional learning and initiated and developed a hands-on STEM program aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Dr. Warren earned her Doctorate of Education at University of Pennsylvania, and has a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from National University. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from University of the Pacific. Her strengths as a leader and educator have been called out by her supervisors, faculty, Board, and parents. Her learning mindset and her commitment to the students and the faculty and staff who create the learning environment will serve her well as she begins her leadership role at Woodland.

Jennifer writes, “During my visit I was impressed by the strong feeling of community and deep sense of care for the school shown by students, teachers, and parents alike.  I enjoyed watching the students in action at the morning assembly and throughout the day in various classes. They were eager, engaged, and thoughtful learners supported by a wonderful group of dedicated teachers. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Woodland and carry forward the mission of the school, focused on developing leaders with a strength of voice to follow their hearts and make a difference.  John, Jack, and I are eager to engage with each of you as we join the Woodland family.

We are as excited to have Dr. Warren be our next Head of School as she, her husband John, and their 3-year-old Jack are to be part of the Woodland family.

Lillian Howard, who has been doing a fantastic job as Interim Head, will continue to lead the school through the end of June until Dr. Warren arrives.

Woodland Board of Trustees Names Lillian Howard Interim Head of School

The Woodland Board of Trustees is excited to announce Lillian Howard as the Interim Head of School for the 2019-20 academic year. Ms. Howard is currently completing a one year term as Interim Head of School at Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City, CA and previously served as head of school at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, CA and The Shoshana S. Cardin School in Baltimore, MD.

Ms. Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities/Philosophy from Scripps College, Master of Arts in Classics from the University of Texas at Austin and Certifications from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Exhibiting a deep passion for teaching, Ms. Howard has guided students to learn, discover, and thrive in independent school communities for over 25 years. She brings 17 years experience in leadership positions at independent schools ranging from Department Chair to Head of School. In addition to being a successful leader, Ms. Howard has been recognized for her curriculum development and earned multiple Fellowships to study locally and abroad.

Prior to her move to administration, Ms. Howard spent over a decade in the classroom bringing history, English and Latin to life for students in both California and Arizona. She will begin work at Woodland July 1, 2019. Please join us in welcoming Ms. Howard to the Woodland community!

Position Statement

Search Timeline

Please note this timeline is subject to change.

March 2019
Announcement to the community.

April 2019
Engage search consulting firm Resource Group 175 (RG175).
Begin search for Interim Head of School.

May 2019
Form Search Committee.
Consultants visit campus to learn more about Woodland and meet with faculty/staff, administration, students, parents/guardians, alumni, Board of Trustees.
Name Interim Head of School for 2019-20 academic year.
Consultants and Search Committee develop position statement.
Consultants begin outreach for candidates for HOS.

July 1, 2019
Interim Head of School begins.

June - August 2019
Consultants continue outreach to candidates.
Consultants update Search Co-Chairs on progress.
Committee reviews candidate files.

Late Summer/Early Fall 2019
Search Committee interviews semifinal candidates.

Fall 2019
Final candidates visit campus.
Search Committee makes recommendation to the Board of Trustees. 

Before Thanksgiving 2019
Board of Trustees announces appointment of the new Head of School.

Winter - Spring 2019-20 
Transition planning for new Head of School.

June 30, 2020
Interim Head of School's final day as Head of School.

July 1, 2020 
New Head of School begins at Woodland.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the Interim Head of School (HOS) search last? 
The interim head of school search takes between 4-8 weeks. Our goal is to select an interim head of school by May 15, 2019. The interim head of school will start on July 1, 2019.

How long will the Head of School (HOS) search last? When do you expect to hire the next HOS?
A head of school search takes between 6-12 months. Our goal is to select a new head of school before Winter 2019. The new head of school will start on July 1, 2020.

What is the role of the Search Committee? 
The Search Committee, along with the search consultant firm RG175, is tasked with directing the new Head of School search process from start to finish. The Committee will coordinate input from Woodland's various constituencies, work with the search consultant to develop the detailed job/position description, and review the first round of candidates. They will then organize and conduct interviews with the semifinal and final candidates. At the end of the process, the Search Committee will present one supported candidate to be confirmed by Woodland's Board of Trustees. Another major function of the Search Committee is to keep our community informed and engaged throughout the process, while ensuring the confidentiality of the candidates.

What is the role of Woodland's faculty, staff, administration in the process? 
Faculty, staff and administration will be actively engaged throughout the search by taking the time to meet candidates when they visit the school, welcoming visitors into their classrooms, and providing other means of input as requested by the Search Committee.

What are the roles of Woodland's parents, students, and alumni  in the process?
During the process, there will be opportunities for members of the Woodland community to provide input. Members of our community will be invited to meet our Head of School finalists when they come to campus. Information about the schedule will be posted and emailed when available on our HOS Search webpage.

Will the Head of School search impact my child's experience at Woodland?
Our faculty, staff and administrators are committed to our primary goal, which is to provide your child with an outstanding educational experience and to fulfill our mission: to develop collaborative, creative, and confident learners with the strength of voice to follow their hearts and make a difference.

Updates from the Search Committee


Dear Woodland Community,

In less than two weeks, our first finalist candidate will be visiting the Woodland campus.  We are excited to introduce all three of the finalists to our Woodland community!

We are grateful to the parents who joined us earlier this week and last spring to raise questions, share perspectives, and identify and confirm key attributes that we need in our next full time head of school. 

We once again want to highlight the three sets of dates that our finalists will be on campus, as we hope many of you can come meet all three of them so that you can share your perspectives: 

September 16 & 17
September 25 & 26
October 8 & 9

There will be two parent sessions on the first day of each visit. The morning session will take place from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. The afternoon sessions for the first two candidates will take place from 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Because the third candidate’s visit will overlap with Yom Kippur, one of the Jewish high holidays, the afternoon session will take place from 4:00 pm – 5:00 p.m. in an effort to offer an afternoon opportunity to meet the candidate for our Jewish families who observe this high holiday.

We will announce the names of each candidate a few days prior to their campus visit, as is standard practice in head of school searches. This allows each candidate to inform their school community about their candidacy and potential departure. 

Thank you for all of your contributions to this search process and participation in meeting the candidates. We value your commitment to Woodland and will appreciate your prompt feedback following each of their visits. 

Your Head of School Search Committee

Head of School Search Update, August 28, 2019

Dear Woodland Community,
The members of the search committee spent this past weekend interviewing six semi-finalists for our Head of School position. Each candidate spent a half-day with the search committee in various interviews so that we could gain a better understanding of each person’s experiences and background.

We are excited about the three finalists that will be coming to campus over the next two months to meet with our community. 

The planned dates for these on campus visits will be September 16 & 17, September 25 & 26 and October 8 & 9.

During each candidate’s visit, there will be sessions for parents as well as for faculty and staff to be able to meet with and ask questions of them. After each visit is concluded, surveys will go out to solicit input which will then be used by the committee to inform the final recommendation to the board.

Members of the search committee look forward to meeting with those who attend the upcoming conversations on September 4th.

Michelle Gabriel and Mac Harman,
Head of School Search Committee Co-Chairs

Head of School Search Update, August 22, 2019

Dear Woodland Community,

While school is just beginning, we wanted to share with you the work that has taken place over the summer for our Head of School search. The Search Committee met at the beginning of summer and curated a list of key desired qualities in our next Head of School, informed by the community-wide survey that our search consultants RG175 sent out at the end of the last school year.

We are looking for our next Head of School to be someone who:

  • Believes passionately in our mission and vision and models our values;
  • Holds onto and builds from our core strengths as a community and secures Woodland’s position as a high-quality school;
  • Cultivates a thriving culture through retaining, hiring, and nurturing excellent teachers and building teams;
  • Supports the further development and refinement of our curriculum that shows the learning pathway of a Woodland student and continues to result in students who are prepared for their next school;
  • Is an experienced administrator;
  • Has experience working at an Independent School.

The key personal qualities identified by the community survey included someone who is warm and empathetic, demonstrates integrity, is a good communicator, and leads with humility. These qualities have informed our search criteria for the ideal candidate as well as the discussions the committee has and will have during the process.

During the summer, the RG175 search consulting team ran through their process, and of the many people who expressed interest, they accepted 30 candidates. RG175 then presented the most viable candidates to the Search committee selected from a strong and international pool. In early August, members of the committee did initial resume reviews and conducted video-conference interviews with candidates of particular interest. After careful consideration the committee selected 6 semi-finalists to interview the weekend of August 25th and 26th.  The  committee will then narrow the selection to 3 finalists.

The finalists will be identified ahead of their on-campus visits, once they have had an opportunity to let their current school communities know they may be leaving should Woodland offer them its leadership. These visits will start in mid-September and go through October. During these visits, the candidates will spend time with the community in many ways, such as a general parent session, sessions and discussions with faculty and staff, and meetings with the students, Faculty and Staff Advisory Group, WPSA, our Interim Head of School, and members of the board. 

The committee will be gathering input from all groups during these visits to help inform the final recommendation for a Head of School to the board. We greatly look forward to your participation in the on-campus visits of our finalist candidates, and we will let you know as soon as the dates are known for each visit.

Ahead of the first finalist visit, members of the search committee will be available for a community conversation on Wednesday, September 4th during two times: after assembly from 8:30am to 10:00am and later that afternoon from 5pm – 6pm.

On behalf of the Search Committee, we welcome your active engagement and participation in this process. Whether through one of the community conversations on September 4th or in the Lodge or on the playground, please share with us your input. We are excited to continue this journey as a community.

Michelle Gabriel and Mac Harman,
Head of School Search Committee Co-Chairs


Michelle Gabriel, Co-Chair
Mac Harman, Co-Chair
Sonia Arrison
Amaury Bellemans
Karuna Mukherjea
Roel Peeters
Keith Randall
Danielle Reid
Michelle Marcos Smith


Resource Group 175