Welcoming the incoming president of the st. Paul's schools
After years of increasing collaboration, St. Paul’s School and St. Paul’s School for Girls are unifying their governance structure effective July 2018. The newly created St. Paul’s Schools is seeking its first President to oversee its four schools: (i) St. Paul’s Plus (Plus) which is six weeks to pre-K, (ii) St. Paul’s Lower School (Lower School) which encompasses co-educational grades K-4, (iii) St. Paul’s School (SPS) which educates boys and young men in grades 5-12, and (iv) St. Paul’s School for Girls (SPSG) educating girls and young women in grades 5-12.
The St. Paul’s Schools are college preparatory schools centered in Episcopal values with a strong belief in diversity, inclusion, and the development of the entire child. The Schools have a rich history and legacy dating back to the founding of SPS in 1849. SPSG was founded in 1959 and together with SPS, Plus, and the Lower School they share an iconic 135-acre campus centered around Brooklandwood, a mansion built in 1793 by Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
While each SPS and SPSG will continue their single gender mission and maintain their traditions and identities, the unified structure will enable better coordination of physical and human resources and enhance the educational and extra-curricular activities and common commitment to preparation of boys and girls, personally and academically, for success in higher education and life. Most importantly, the combined schools provide a seamless cradle to college education, offering an optimal combination of a co-educational lower school experience and a single gender setting in later years on a combined campus. The unification of the schools is a transformational step and a significant differentiator in a competitive independent school environment.
The new President will have the unique opportunity to design his/her administrative structure and determine the optimal leadership structure for the combined Plus and Lower School, SPS, and SPSG with each of the school heads and central personnel reporting to the new President. The position of President of the Schools will require an individual of exceptional ability, experience, character, and vision to embrace a combined legacy of 170 years and lead a unifying change that will have lasting impact for generations.
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An inclusive and broad-based Strategic Planning process to create a roadmap for post-unification will be completed by December 2018. Implementing that plan will be led by the new President. While it will be essential that each of the schools retain its own identity, traditions, and age- and gender-appropriate programs, the new leader will be expected to fill the following roles:
- One-School Visionary Leader
Create and promote the culture, the collective identity, the shared values, and the unique benefits of the combined St. Paul’s Schools. Work closely with the board and the school heads to assure that the schools are student-centered and driven by those things they have in common. Lead both internal and external audiences to understand the importance of both pride and traditions of each of The St. Paul’s Schools as well as the additional value created by the more closely coordinated new approach.
- Program Integrator
Lead the schools to enhance the student options and benefits and create a compelling best-of-both-worlds program that will be truly distinctive in the Baltimore market. Lead the process of combining the preschool and the lower school into a powerful new entity with its own identity, its own successes, and a seamless progression for boys and girls from early childhood to middle school.
- Administrative Integrator
Identify those functions best serviced by a centralized staff and migrate to a highly efficient, responsive, service-based, technologically-empowered, and modern school operation. Be accountable to the board for developing and stewarding the financial and physical resources of the schools, as well as assuring their optimal deployment for the benefit of all students.
- External Ambassador
Interact and communicate with wide ranging constituencies, including alumni, parents, prospective families, the independent school community (including national and local professional organizations such as AIMS and NAIS), and the broader Baltimore community. Cultivate the image and reputation of the St. Paul’s Schools to drive engagement, enrollment, and fund raising.
If and when the three operating schools find themselves in conflicting situations or with differences of opinion, lead the process of coming to resolution in the best interests of The St. Paul’s Schools as a whole.
- Quality Controller
Establish and hold the entire organization accountable to standards of excellence in every aspect of program and operations. Assure that The St. Paul’s Schools will be an exemplar of contemporary 21st-century education based on best practices, pedagogical research and knowledge, operational and technological efficiency, and a kind and caring culture rooted in Episcopal values.
Among the many skills and personal attributes desirable in candidates are:
- Understanding of, respect for, and experience with what happens in the classroom.
- Familiarity with the culture, the dynamics, the integration of multiple stakeholders, the politics, and the sensitivities of independent schools.
- Understanding of and experience in organizational development and administrative structure and design.
- Experience with successful collaborative or cohesive educational models.
- Financial literacy sufficient to understand how a budget must reflect the institutional priorities of the school, and to work effectively with the finance office and the Finance Committee of the Board.
- A student of research and trends in pedagogy, teaching, and learning, as well as familiarity with emerging school models, blended learning, etc.
- Experience developing and working within an open and collaborative relationship between the President and the Board of Trustees.
- Knowledge of modern communication and marketing skills required to lead a large “external affairs” program, including;
- Significant annual and capital fundraising activities. Ability to “make the ask” of significant donors.
- A 365-day annual admissions cycle, the admissions funnel, the intersection of tuition and financial aid, and tools of recruiting and screening of applicants. Engaging a large and dispersed alumni network.
- Experience in leading a school to success in a competitive marketplace.
- Familiarity with the tools of personal and educational technology.
- Unquestioned CEO-like style and presence derived from a successful track record of increasing responsibilities and breadth of experience in an academic institution.
- Exceptionally high EQ…a people-person who exudes empathy, caring, and respect, even as he/she may be holding people accountable and/or making tough decisions.
- Someone who is seen as having no agenda other than what is best for The St. Paul’s Schools.
- Ability to relate to all constituents: girls, boys, toddlers, seniors, IB teachers, AP teachers, men, women, faculty, staff, parents, trustees, alumnae/alumni, prospective parents, donors, and external communities.
- “Collaborative Backbone.” The ability to be inclusive and collaborative in decision-making when possible; decisive when necessary; and consistent in the application of decisions once they have been made.
- “A Marketer.” Defined as someone who sees communications through the eyes of the audience(s) rather than through the eyes of the communicator. Inherently able to connect with and tailor messages to various stakeholder audiences.
- High personal and institutional standards. Demands excellence in all things that the school does and sets the example personally.
- While not necessarily of the Episcopal faith, someone who has an appreciation for the importance of the spiritual component of education, and the compelling Episcopal values that underlie the school.
COMBINED ENROLLMENT OF THE ST. PAUL’S SCHOOLS:
Elise Butler, SPSG ’83
Co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee
Vice President, Board of Trustees
Elise Butler is an attorney with a practice focus in land-use and planning. Ms. Butler currently serves as vice president of the Board of SPSG and is chairman of the Property Committee, a past secretary, and a Trustee since 2011. Ms. Butler is a 1983 graduate of SPSG, as well as a board member of Baltimore Heritage and Lake Roland Park Nature Council.
Joseph Sutton, SPS ’88; SPS P’22 ’25
Co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee
Joe Sutton is senior vice president and Baltimore area practice leader for USI Insurance Services, the largest privately held insurance broker in the United States. Mr. Sutton serves on the SP Capital Campaign and Executive Committees. In addition to being a 1988 graduate of SPS, he is a current parent with two sons at SPS. Mr. Sutton serves on the University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business Real Estate and Economic Advisory Board. He is actively involved with the Joint Council on International Children's Services, on whose behalf he speaks and writes regularly about insurance, risk, and child welfare.
Chief Executive Officer, Board of Trustees
Joanne Bartlett is a former college counselor, coach, and teacher at SPSG. Ms. Bartlett has been the president of the Board of Trustees of SPSG for the past two years and a Trustee since 2013. As president, Ms. Bartlett is an ex-officio member of each SPSG standing committee. Prior to serving as SPSG’s Board president, Ms. Bartlett was chairman of the SPSG Trustee and Governance Committee.
Elizabeth Robinson, SPS P’16 ’20
President, Board of Trustees
Elizabeth Robinson is the senior vice president of Retail Sales and Product Marketing at Tessco Technologies, Inc. Ms. Robinson has been the president of the Board of Trustees of SP for the past two years and a Trustee since 2012. As president, Ms. Robinson is an ex-officio member of each SP standing committee. Ms. Robinson has served on the vestry of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore.
David Dunn, SPS P’18 ’21
David Dunn is managing partner at Shot Tower Capital, an investment banking firm located in Baltimore. Mr. Dunn serves on the SP Capital Campaign Steering Committee. Mr. Dunn has two sons at SPS. He also serves on the Bucknell University Campaign Council and the Washington Metro Council.
Carl Pohlhaus, SPS ’83; SPS P’15 ’18; SPSG P’23
Co-Secretary, Board of Trustees
Carl Pohlhaus is a managing director at CGA Capital. Mr. Pohlhaus is a member of the Boards of both Schools and currently serves on the SPSG Finance Committee, SP Executive Committee, Compensation Committee, and Liaison Committee. In addition to being a 1983 graduate of SPS, he has numerous family connections to SP including his two sons who graduated from SPS, and a daughter currently at SPSG.
Michael Ponsi, SPS ’83; SPSG p’13 ’19; SPS P’16
Mike Ponsi is a principal at Cromwell Builders, a full service local firm specializing in developing and building commercial and residential properties. Mr. Ponsi is a 1983 graduate of SP and a member of the St. Paul’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He serves on the SPSG Property Committee and has been an SPSG Trustee since 2017. Mr. Ponsi’s daughter and son graduated from SPSG and SPS, respectively, and he has a daughter currently attending SPSG.
Kelly Nocher Riepe, SPSG ’01, Plus P
Kelly Riepe is the COO of The OC Bagel Company, following more than five years at UBS Financial Services. Ms. Riepe is a 2001 graduate of SPSG and recently served as President of the SPSG Alumnae Association. She serves on the SPSG Development Committee and Investment Committee and has been an SPSG Trustee since 2017. Ms. Riepe’s daughters attend St. Paul’s Plus.
Nicole Swann, SPS P’14 ’18
Nicole Swann is the former Assistant Director of Patient and Visitor Services at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Ms. Swann serves on the SP Philanthropy and Communications Committees. Ms. Swann currently has a son who attends SP and another who graduated from SPS. Ms. Swann’s non-profit affiliations include The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and New Shiloh Baptist Church, Diaconate Ministry.