Tiffany Kelly-Gray
Dave Morris

Head of School Search Community Update

Dear Bertschi Community,
Hello from the Search Committee! We hope you have had a wonderful summer, and have experienced the same joy and optimism as our families have in the first week back on campus.  
Last spring, the Board of Trustees appointed Teri Barnett Interim Head of School and embarked on a national search to select our next permanent Head of School. We are excited about this opportunity to conduct a thorough process to choose an extraordinary leader to guide Bertschi’s next chapter. A great deal of work has been taking place “in the background” over the summer, and we are writing to as co-chairs of the Head of School Search Committee to update you on where we are in the process and what you can expect over the next several months.
To make sure everyone in the community is up to date, we would like to start with a recap of the steps that have already been taken in this extensive process.
Warmest regards,

Tiffany Kelly-Gray & Dave Morris
Trustees & HOS Search Committee Co-Chairs

Why Are We Conducting a Search?

Choosing the Head of School is arguably the board’s most important role. The search process serves two key purposes. The first is to clearly articulate a shared vision for the school as we look ahead. The second is to choose the best possible leader to guide the school toward this shared vision. The process allows us to gather meaningful input from the entire community, and validates that the new Head of School was chosen as the right leader for Bertschi’s future from a pool of high caliber candidates. This is more than just due diligence; it is the kind of thoughtful, thorough decision making that our rich history calls for and our school community deserves.

Search Principles

Our search is grounded in the mission and values of the school. Our ultimate goal is for Bertschi to continue its leadership in developing compassionate, confident, and creative learners in a global community.
  • Our next Head will be a transformative leader who will build upon our history and traditions and help us innovate and grow as a community and an institution.
  • Our next Head will be deeply committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will further our goal of being a school that welcomes and serves children and families of all backgrounds and cultures.
  • “The Bertschi Way” promotes the values of integrity, inclusiveness, and respect. Our goal is to run a search process that is open, honest, and inclusive of the diverse perspectives of our community.

Search Committee

With these objectives in mind, the Board of Directors formed a Search Committee that represents as many constituencies as possible, while still small enough to be effective and nimble. We have leaned heavily on our Board of Trustees and faculty, as they have the most experience in navigating Bertschi’s opportunities and challenges. 
Head of School Search Committee Members         
Tiffany Kelly-Gray (co-chair) | Trustee, Current Parent
Dave Morris (co-chair) | Trustee, Current Parent
Raney Cumbow | Fifth Grade Teacher (Upper Division Rep)
Mia Santos Herrmann | Library Specialist, Current Parent 
Celeste Macapia | Trustee, Current Parent
Becca Ochiltree | Trustee, Current Parent
Bernadette Bulacan Starin | Trustee (past Board President), Alumni Parent
Michael Sung | Bertschi Parent Council President, Current Parent
Chris Walker | Trustee, Current Parent
Melinda Williams | Trustee (Board President), Current and Alumni Parent
Shannon Yergen | First Grade Teacher (Lower Division Rep)     

National Outreach

Recognizing the importance of our responsibility, the Search Committee has engaged the nationally recognized firm Storbeck Search to assist in our process. Storbeck Search’s deep expertise in recruiting, network of contacts across the independent school community, national reach, and track record of finding and placing outstanding candidates in independent school leadership positions will serve our school well. We are thrilled to have Sherry Coleman and Nishant Mehta from Storbeck on our team.
Sherry Coleman
Nishant Mehta

Progress to Date

This past spring, Storbeck Search held a number of listening sessions with parents, faculty and staff, and the Bertschi Board of Trustees to deepen their understanding of our community and culture. With input from these meetings and a community-wide survey, Storbeck and the Search Committee developed a leadership position paper that captures the values and vision of our school and identifies the characteristics we are seeking in our next Head of School.
Over the summer, Storbeck conducted a national search for highly-qualified candidates based on our position paper and Bertschi’s unique and compelling opportunities. Not surprisingly, our candidate pool is healthy, full of world-class candidates who are excited to be part of Bertschi’s bright future.

Next Steps

  1. Storbeck is interviewing these candidates and their references, and by the end of this month they expect to recommend 12-15 top candidates who best represent the leadership profile created from the listening sessions and surveys.

  2. The committee will review and discuss these candidates and identify semi-finalists whom the Search Committee will interview in mid- to late-October.

  3. From these semi-finalist interviews, the Committee will select 3-4 finalists to invite to campus for full visit days and interviews. The exact nature of our finalist interviews will be determined once we know how COVID-19 conditions may affect our ability to gather in-person versus virtually.


Neither the names nor the deliberations that occur with committee meetings can be shared with the community for two reasons. Firstly, absolute confidentiality is required to protect the privacy of candidates, many of whom are currently employed at other schools and may not be ready to notify their schools that they are applying elsewhere.  Secondly, the Search Committee needs to be able to do its work confidentially to assure that all can share their opinions and ideas honestly in a safe space and to protect the integrity of the process.

Finalist Interviews & Decision

When we have narrowed the field to 3-4 finalists, interviews and meetings will be scheduled for our full community, likely in late October and early to mid-November. As current families, you will have an opportunity to meet each of the finalists and to provide your input to the Committee. We strongly encourage you to attend these meetings and give us your feedback. Our process is your process, and your input is critical in selecting the best Head of School for Bertschi and for our children.
All of the feedback gathered from the final interview sessions will be shared with the Search Committee. We will carefully consider stakeholder input to arrive at a final recommendation of one candidate to the full board. The board will make the final decision, as the Head of School is the only position that is hired by and reports to them. We expect to announce our new Head of School before the end of the calendar year.

Closing Thoughts

We are tremendously honored to serve in this role and are certain that we will select a Head of School who will lead Bertschi with compassion, confidence, and creativity. We look forward to working with you to realize all the great possibilities that Bertschi School offers.
Please continue to share your thoughts and guidance with us as we continue this process. Write us a quick note or write us a thesis–we are always happy to hear from you.
Facebook Instagram
Bertschi School  |  2227 10th Ave E |  Seattle, WA 98102  |  |  |  206-324-5476  |  Give to Bertschi
powered by emma