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 NAIS Presidential Search


NAIS members welcomed John Chubb at the NAIS Annual Conference in Philadelphia in late February. John will begin as president of NAIS on July 1. Before and after that time, John will be visiting schools around the country. Below, find correspondence related to the presidential search and announcement.

Invitation from Jack Creeden, search committee chair (Feb. 4, 2013)  

Dear Members,

I hope by now you’ve had a chance to hear from NAIS President-elect John Chubb via the responses and interviews we have posted on the site.  

I look forward to introducing you to John in person at the NAIS Annual Conference in Philadelphia. You will have several opportunities at the conference to spend time with him and to see him in action.  On Friday, March 1, from 12:30 – 1:30 pm, he’ll be available in the NAIS Member Resource Center in the Exhibit Hall for a Meet and Greet. In addition, John will be available throughout the conference, talking with members and attending sessions and meetings.  Please do take an opportunity to welcome him. We appreciate his enthusiasm to begin to actively engage with us in advance of his start with NAIS.

As you learn more about John and interact with him, you’ll see the many reasons why he won the enthusiastic support of the board. John …

  • understands the entire education system from his work in K-12 and higher education nationally and internationally. John began his career in education as a teacher (at Stanford), perhaps the most critical point of entry for any educational leader.  From his work developing education policy, and by leading the charter school movement, he has access to key leaders and decision makers, a skill that members identified as critical;
  • is an acknowledged and highly regarded thought leader -- even among those who disagree with his positions -- because he supports his ideas with sound research and analyses and because he is so clearly devoted to the betterment of education;
  • brings a set of skills and experiences to independent education that are ideally suited to managing the challenges and opportunities that we face as a nation in our drive to improve education;
  • embraces technology, not for its own sake, but for its ability to magnify the strengths of our most caring and capable teachers;
  • has run businesses as complex as NAIS and has learned from his successes and challenges. He understands what makes NAIS unique and is committed to delivering a high level of service to members;
  • cares deeply for young people as is evidenced by a lifetime of dedication to educational innovation and by his hands-on leadership, working respectfully with other school leaders to create opportunities for young people; and
  • has shown courage, exhibiting grace under enormous pressure, and has demonstrated a willingness to take calculated risks in pursuit of a higher ethic.

What we have been communicating in one-on-one conversations – and wish to say more broadly here -- is that we selected John not because he was the most obvious candidate but because, in a highly competitive search, he made the most compelling case for building upon the vision and work of the NAIS board and staff.  The model he put forward called for selfless, non-partisan leadership. He was not hired only for what he has done but for what we believed him capable of doing.  We have found a leader worthy of you and our highest aspirations.

The NAIS Annual Conference will give John an early opportunity to meet many of you and to learn the latest about key issues and opportunities for schools. Beyond that, John's priority in his first year as NAIS president, starting in July, will be to get out and visit schools on a "listening tour."

Please continue to be in touch with us. You may email us at or email John directly at, or you can join the dialogue on Twitter by using the hashtag #naispres. I remain grateful for your commitment to -- and active participation in -- NAIS.


Jack Creeden
Chair of the NAIS Presidential Search Committee and Chair of the NAIS Board of Trustees
and President of School Year Abroad 


Announcement from Jack Creeden, search committee chair
(January 15, 2013) View a PDF of this announcement. 


Dear NAIS Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce that our extensive and rigorous search to find the next leader of NAIS, someone with the talent and determination to lead our organization to even greater potential, has resulted in the selection of John Chubb as the new president of the National Association of Independent Schools, effective July 1, 2013.
John was selected for his lifelong dedication to education; his deep understanding of the issues facing schools today; and his numerous honors, distinctions, and achievements. As both a thought leader and innovative practitioner, Dr. Chubb has made substantial contributions to the quality of American education, especially for those most in need. His knowledge, leadership skills, intellectual depth, and remarkable ability to communicate are the very qualities that will allow NAIS to serve its members in an increasingly challenging world and to ensure that their voice is heard at the highest levels of educational policy. These are the attributes that member school leaders emphasized as important when we requested input at the beginning of the presidential search process.
John has served as interim CEO of Education Sector, a nonprofit education think tank, since April of 2012. He previously served as founder and CEO of Leeds Global Partners, an international education services and consulting firm. He was also founder, senior executive vice president, and chief education officer of EdisonLearning, the pioneering education management organization. Before founding Edison in 1992, he was a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. He’s been a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University since 1999.
John will become president of NAIS at a time when our organization is especially strong and looking confidently to the future. We have Pat Bassett to thank for his outstanding 12 years of leadership that has transformed NAIS and truly positioned it as the leading voice for independent education in America and across the world.
I want to thank the members of the Search Committee, all of whom worked tirelessly to bring this process to such a successful conclusion. I also want to thank Mary Gorman and Michele Haertel of Spencer Stuart, whose efforts and good counsel were invaluable. But most especially I want to thank all NAIS members who supported the search process from beginning to end.
John is eager to meet with you, the leaders of NAIS member schools, and to continue to educate himself on the issues that are most critical to you. Please join me in welcoming John to NAIS and congratulating him on his selection as the next president of our association.
Jack Creeden
Chair of the NAIS Presidential Search Committee and Chair of the NAIS Board of Trustees
and President of School Year Abroad 
About the NAIS President Search Process 
The NAIS board initiated a comprehensive, year-long search to identify the new leader of NAIS. First, the search committee of the board reached out to heads using an online survey tool. The survey solicited members’ opinions about the top issues the new president will need to tackle and the skills and attributes the president should have to do the job well. The results of that survey were used to formulate the job description.
The search firm then asked members to recommend candidates that fit the bill. The search firm also identified candidates with other types of professional experience, such as leadership in other types of schools, college presidents, and nonprofit association leaders.
There was a very large and diverse pool of candidates who went through many rounds of interviews. The search firm first conducted phone interviews, then the search committee met semi-finalists in person. From that group, finalists were identified and they were interviewed by the full board and NAIS vice presidents as well as the search committee members. All candidates’ credentials were fully vetted and reviewed by the board. 
Throughout the interview process, strict confidentiality was maintained. While NAIS values transparency in its endeavors, many of the candidates did not want their current employers to know that they were interviewing for the position. The search committee, full board, and NAIS staff respected those parameters because it ensured a highly talented candidate pool.


Update from Jack Creeden, search committee chair (October 2012)

On behalf of the NAIS Search Committee, I am pleased to report that we have completed our initial review of all nominations and applications and have begun a series of interviews with selected candidates.  The committee has been very impressed with the credentials each of the candidates presented.  The candidates bring a diverse set of experiences from the world of education, which is what we hoped for in developing the search process. 

We remain committed to a thorough and fair process, honoring the confidentiality that candidates have requested and paying careful attention to the qualifications and skills that our membership and the board of trustees identified as essential for the next President of NAIS to possess.  

As always, please know how much we appreciate your support of our efforts.   If you have any questions or comments about the search, please do not hesitate to contact the search committee at

Jack Creeden, Chair, NAIS Presidential Search Committee

President, School Year Abroad


Update from Jack Creeden, search committee chair (September 2012)

The NAIS Presidential Search Committee has been making progress in the search process, and we thank the independent school community for offering a tremendous number of ideas and for nominating a large pool of strong candidates.
Here is a summary of our progress and of our plans for the next few months:

  • This summer we collected and vetted a large number of candidates. Representatives from Spencer Stuart, the search firm with whom we are working, met with or talked to all candidates who expressed interest. 
  • This fall we will conduct a series of in-person interviews with candidates in order to have a small number of finalists to present to the NAIS Board of Trustees and staff for additional interviews and conversations. 

The committee continues to be highly focused on the responsibilities assigned to us. We have had frank and deliberate conversations this summer about the future needs of NAIS, the credentials of the candidates, and the structure and content of the interview process moving forward. We also remain genuinely committed to maintaining the confidentiality of the search, both to honor the requests candidates have made of us and to assure the best possible outcome for NAIS and all who are involved with the search.
Thank you again to the independent school community for your engagement. Please continue to send questions and ideas to

Jack Creeden, Chair, NAIS Presidential Search Committee
President, School Year Abroad



Email communication from Jack Creeden, search committee chair, to the NAIS member heads of school (April 2012)


Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the NAIS Presidential Search Committee, I want to thank everyone who took the time to fill out the electronic survey regarding the next president of NAIS. We received 353 responses from heads of schools (25 percent of the NAIS membership), indicating a most positive level of community engagement in this search.  In addition, the respondents represented a wide cross section of NAIS member schools and mirrored the profile of the overall membership.

The NAIS Search Committee sought feedback on topics ranging from priorities for our organization to qualities sought in its next leader. The first two survey questions asked about the priorities of NAIS for the next one to three years and then five to seven years. Respondents highlighted the same key objectives for both the short and longer term:

  • Anticipating and developing insight into emerging issues as an essential partner and thought leader
  • Championing the value of independent schools and advocating for their interests at the federal/state level
  • Driving dialogue around and promoting “best practice” models and innovative solutions

The next two questions probed into the skills and experiences that the next president should possess. Once again, the responses were consistent and encouraged the Search Committee to look for someone who is passionate about independent school education and is a compelling communicator and thought leader. The feedback suggests that experience that would prove credibility in the independent school sector is also important to many respondents.

These responses and additional comments have supplemented the numerous stakeholder conversations held in the previous months and have directly advised our development of the position specification, which is available at this link.

We also want to provide the membership with an overview of the Search Committee’s activities for the next phase of the search.  During the spring, Spencer Stuart will conduct research and gather nominations in preparation for the candidate development that will take place over the summer. The Search Committee expects to be meeting candidates in the fall.

As always, the Search Committee is interested in your feedback.  Please share any additional observations or comments, as well as nominations of well-qualified candidates, or applications for the role with the Search Committee at

Thank you for your support. 

Jack Creeden, Chair, NAIS Presidential Search Committee
President, School Year Abroad

Email communication from Jack Creeden, search committee chair, to the NAIS membership (January 2012):

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, Pat Bassett informed the NAIS Board of Trustees of his intention to step down as NAIS president when his current contract expires on June 30, 2013. Pat has provided outstanding leadership for our organization for the last 12 years, and we all owe him our genuine thanks for his tireless efforts on behalf of member schools. As hard as it is to imagine an NAIS without Pat, the board launched the search for Pat’s successor, and I would like to share preliminary information with you.

Over the last few months, the board has established a search committee, and the following individuals have agreed to serve:
  • Jack Creeden, Chair of the Search Committee, President, School Year Abroad, Lawrence, MA
  • Katherine Dinh, Head of School, Prospect Sierra School (California)
  • Scott Looney, Head of School, Hawken School (Ohio)
  • Bernie Noe, Head, Lakeside School (Washington)
  • Doreen Oleson, Head of School, Saint Mark’s School (California)
  • Donna Orem, Chief Operating Officer, NAIS, Washington, DC
  • Lou Salza, Head of School, Lawrence School (Ohio)
  • Marcia Prewitt Spiller, Head of School, The Children’s School (Atlanta)
  • Jeffrey Wack, President, JT Wack & Co., North Haven, CT
The first step of the committee was to hire an executive search firm. Last fall we interviewed a number of firms and secured the services of Spencer Stuart.
As we launch this process, gathering input as well as nominations from a variety of sources will be crucial.
To kick off this effort, we have developed an electronic survey that will be sent shortly to the heads of all NAIS member schools to solicit comments and recommendations on the characteristics needed for the next president of NAIS. In addition, we have established an email address:, and we invite you, your colleagues, trustees, and other interested parties to use this email address to send suggestions and nominations to the committee. Finally, throughout the search process, this section of the NAIS website will have updates on the search.
One of the many legacies Pat leaves us with is a healthy and vibrant organization. We begin the search process with confidence, knowing that the next president will lead us at a most positive time in the history of NAIS.  If you have any questions about the search process, please do not hesitate to contact me at We look forward to hearing your thoughts about the future leadership of NAIS.

All the best,

Jack Creeden, Chair, NAIS Search Committee
President, School Year Abroad


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Article Date: 1/15/2013
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