Head of School & Administrative Searches

Service OptionsFull SearchAssisted Search
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For a board undertaking one of its most strategic jobs – attracting and retaining a school head – the search process can be something of a mystery and definitely a challenge. Hiring the board’s sole employee is a high stakes undertaking, instilling either high confidence in the governing board’s effectiveness, or casting doubt on its judgment – depending on the outcome of the head search. Ineffective hiring by a board is costly, both in terms of internal turmoil and conflict with parents and faculty, and in financial terms as enrollment and giving are often diminished. A successful search sets the stage for a school to move forward confidently as the effective leadership of its new head affirms the board’s wisdom. A board’s credibility is at stake due to the highly visible end result of the search.

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The demands that come with school leadership are large and wide-ranging, requiring due diligence by the search committee to find a good fit between the candidate and the school. A candidate’s credentials, competence and experience are just the starting point for a long and effective relationship between a school and its chief executive officer. Effective hiring requires a search committee to consider a range of key issues as it establishes its search process:

  • What are we looking for in our new headmaster?
  • What specific skills and talents matter most to our school at this time?
  • Where do we find him/her?
  • What makes our school attractive to the best candidate? Why would she choose us over other schools?
  • What should the process of finding Mr. Right include?
  • What is a competitive compensation package?
  • How do the spouse and other family members affect a candidate’s interest in and satisfaction with the school?

Service Options

Jim Adare Consulting LLC offers two levels of executive searches for independent schools seeking to fill key positions.
  1. The FULL SEARCH option is for boards desiring the highest level of professional assistance in guiding the search process and bringing the best candidates to the attention of the search committee. We help you find the right person to serve as school head.
  2. We also offer an ASSISTED SEARCH alternative to the governing board’s search committee. This option is for board’s that prefer some help in the form of experienced counsel in finding a school head, but want to conduct the various aspects of the search process itself.
Both levels of services are available to sitting school heads looking to fill vacancies in SENIOR MANAGEMENT positions in finance (CFO, Business Manager), advancement (Chief Advancement Officer, Director of Development, Director of Admissions/Enrollment Management), division leadership (Principals), and other senior positions.


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Full Search

The FULL SEARCH deliverables offered by Jim Adare Consulting include:

  • Writing the Opportunity Profile that describes the school (mission, philosophy, and community), defines the position and qualifications for the job, desired personal qualities sought in the ideal candidate, and details the search process. We work with the search committee to come to a specific statement in each of these areas to truly represent what the school is, what the school seeks in a successful candidate, and how a candidate can apply for the position and navigate the selection process. We advise the search committee as to how best to get parent, faculty, student, and administrative input into key criteria for this document.
  • Attracting a pool of candidates for the search committee to consider, by various means, including placement ads, announcements in web sites, and through an extensive network of personal and professional contacts.
  • Interviewing and screening candidates.
  • Guiding the search committee through the entire process, including internal communications with constituents (parents, faculty, alumni, etc.), interpreting application documents (letter of interest, resume, personal statement, recommendations), screening of candidates, interview questions and process, final selection and offer of engagement, and post-appointment management of the transition.
  • Advice on gaining internal support for the process by appropriate communications and strategic involvement of key groups.
  • Reference and resume checking, to carefully document the accuracy of information provided by the candidate.
  • Counsel on negotiating the compensation package.
  • Regular on-site meetings with the search committee, and availability to the search committee chair by phone and email throughout the process.
  • Post appointment counsel during the first year of a new head’s tenure is included, if desired, for either the search committee or the appointee to deal with transition issues, which vary in nature and degree for schools and their new heads.

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Assisted Search

The Assisted Search option provides guidance and counsel to the search committee, which manages all of the aspects described above under the full search plan. The assisted search differs from the full search deliverables as follows:
  • The Opportunity Profile will be written by the search committee with counsel and editing provided by Jim Adare Consulting.
  • We will advise the search committee on various ways to announce and promote the availability of the position. The search committee is responsible for attracting the candidate pool to apply for the position.
  • The search committee will screen all candidates.
  • We will guide the search committee through the entire process, which the search committee will implement.
  • We give counsel on gaining internal support from constituents.
  • The search committee verifies all references and resumes.
  • We provide up to five on-site meetings with the search committee for counsel, candidate interviews, or other search-related work. We are available by phone and email throughout the search process.
Search services provided by Jim Adare Consulting are based on a consulting fee plus expenses for travel, lodging, meals, placement ads, and any exceptional printing or postage expenses, - all of which are billed at cost. The contract for services will clearly state the fee for services. An anticipated budget of expenses will be discussed and agreed to in advance with client schools. The cost of bringing candidates to campus (travel, meals, lodging, entertaining) is the responsibility of the school and reimbursable to each candidate.

Please Contact Jim Adare Consulting for specific information on fees and expenses.

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Current searches

Listings of ongoing Head of School and Administrative searches, as well as opportunity profiles, can be found here.

Searches and Profiles

Client testimonies

“Jim Adare is the complete consultant. He understands the full range of school issues, he has been both inside and outside…

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Recent clients

Independent schools across the United States and abroad have experienced financial growth and enhancement of their programs through the services provided by Jim. These include…

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About Jim Adare

Jim has 38 years experience in education as teacher, coach, headmaster, and consultant…

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