Head of School Search
The Roxbury Latin School is conducting a national search to find its next Head of School, as Headmaster Kerry Brennan announced his retirement at the end of the coming school year, effective June 2024.
Our Board of Trustees has convened a Search Committee of current and former trustees, parents and faculty members, to identify Headmaster Brennan’s successor. The Search Committee will partner with search firm Isaacson, Miller to find and assess the most qualified candidates for this role.
Roxbury Latin has greatly benefited from strong and stable leadership for many decades—under Tony Jarvis, and now Kerry Brennan—and this moment represents for RL an opportunity to select a new Head of School who will bring new ideas, new skills, and a new outlook for the future, while at the same time continuing to honor the mission of Roxbury Latin: to know and love each boy who walks through our halls, and to remain true to all that makes Roxbury Latin the school that so many of us love and cherish.
This page is where you will find the most up-to-date information regarding the Head of School Search process, as the committee works throughout the coming months. There will be opportunities to offer insight and feedback to the Search Committee and search firm, which will be communicated directly to the Roxbury Latin community.
Ethan Berman ’79 — Board President
Ousmane Diop P’24 — Faculty Member
Derek Ho ’92 — Current Trustee
Dennis Kanin ’64, P’01,’04,’06 — Board President Emeritus
Marlyn McGrath — Current Trustee
Anne McNay P’11,P’13 — Current Trustee
Chris Mitchell ’89, P’27 — Current Trustee
Soren Oberg P’21,’23,’25,’27 — Current Trustee
Communications and Updates
Head of School Search Survey and Sessions: March 13, 2023
Dear Roxbury Latin Community,
As a follow up to the note circulated last week, we encourage you to help us in our work to find the next head of Roxbury Latin. As a valued member of our community, your voice matters, so please take the time to complete this survey. (Survey will close on Monday, March 27.) This input is crucial in determining the imperatives and key characteristics we will be looking for as we identify and consider different candidates for the role. Please know that all responses are confidential and will go directly to our search partner, Isaacson, Miller, who will use your feedback in drafting the position statement that will be posted and shared with prospects.
In addition, we have scheduled a series of sessions for alumni, faculty, staff, and current parents to meet and talk in more detail with the individuals at Isaacson, Miller, who will be leading this search. You are welcome to attend any of these sessions on campus or via Zoom. If you plan to join us in-person or remotely, you may find these questions from the Isaacson, Miller team helpful in planning for the discussion.
Finally, please note that you can find the latest updates on the search process on our new Head of School search page of the school website.
Thank you in advance for your time and love for our school.
Ethan Berman ’79
Ousmane Diop ’24
Derek Ho ’92
Dennis Kanin ’64, P’01,’04,’06
Anne McNay P’11,P’13
Chris Mitchell ’89, P’27
Soren Oberg P’21,’23,’25,’27
Head of School Search Process Update: March 9, 2023
Dear RL Community,
I am pleased to report that the start of our search to find Kerry Brennan’s successor is well underway. The following six current trustees, one past board president, and one long-standing faculty member have graciously agreed to commit their time as our search committee: Ethan Berman ’79, Ousmane Diop, Derek Ho ’92, Dennis Kanin ‘64, Marlyn McGrath, Anne McNay, Chris Mitchell ’89, and Soren Oberg.
We evaluated six search firms to assist us with our work. The search committee interviewed three finalist firms and, after further references and late-night discussions, recommended to the board the selection of Isaacson, Miller. We were blessed with many attractive options for a partner, and the committee was impressed by the rigor, candor, and integrity of the Isaacson, Miller team and approach. While this will be a nationwide search, the committee was also attracted to the fact that Isaacson, Miller is a Boston-based firm with deep roots in the local education community and to their long-standing commitment to diversity. Yesterday, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the committee’s recommendation.
The next step in the search is the “discovery” process, during which Isaacson, Miller will work to learn more about the distinct attributes of our school—what truly “makes RL, RL”—and to best understand what we are looking for in our next head. The team from Isaacson, Miller will start this work immediately, including a visit to campus next Tuesday, March 14, and Wednesday, March 15, where they will meet with faculty and staff, administrators, students, and trustees. In addition, they will send a survey to the entire RL community and set up in-person and Zoom meetings with current and past parents and alumni. This discovery process will conclude in April with a position profile for Roxbury Latin’s next head of school, which we will post publicly and share with potential candidates.
In the next few days you will receive next week’s meeting schedule, access to the survey, and information on further opportunities to connect with the search committee and our search partner, Isaacson, Miller. I hope that you will all take the time to provide the same honest and thoughtful feedback many of you have graciously shared with me already. Success will depend on the voices of many, not the opinions of few.
Message from the Board President: February 14, 2023
Dear Roxbury Latin community,
As you have just read, Kerry Brennan has decided to retire as Headmaster of Roxbury Latin at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. While we all knew that this day would come, that does not make it any less of a loss, as his leadership, dedication, and love will be greatly missed. This, however, is not the time to thank him for his nearly two decades of service, nor to list all that he and Roxbury Latin have achieved over his time as Headmaster. Fortunately his tenure is far from over, and knowing Kerry as I do, I am sure that the next year and a half will bring even greater accomplishments.
Instead I write today to share with you the process the Board will take to select the 12th head of our great school. We are fortunate and thankful that Kerry informed us of his intentions well in advance to ensure that we would have ample time to find an appropriate successor. Over the next few weeks, a search committee will be formed, and a number of outside search firms will be interviewed to assist that committee and the school in this process. I expect the search committee to be announced by the end of this month, and a search firm hired by the end of March. I will be back in touch with all of you when each of those decisions is made.
The timeline after that will be determined by the search committee in consultation with the outside search firm, but my expectation is that candidates will be considered and interviewed over the spring and summer with a final decision made and announced in the fall of 2023. The search committee will inform the full community of a more specific timeline and process as soon as it is fixed, which I would expect to be by the end of April.
I realize that this is unsettling and perhaps upsetting news to many of you. Roxbury Latin has greatly benefited from strong and stable leadership for many decades, and times of change create uncertainty. While sensitive to those concerns, I see change as an opportunity. An opportunity to grow and to learn. An opportunity to find a person who will bring new ideas, new skills, and a new outlook for the future, while at the same time continuing to know and love each boy who walks through our halls and to remain true to what makes Roxbury Latin the school that so many of us love and cherish. An opportunity that will make us even better and stronger, just as the hiring of Kerry Brennan did eighteen years ago.
I will do my best to keep you and the rest of the Roxbury Latin community informed of progress, but please bear in mind that this is a process that will take months, not days or weeks. There is no more important decision a school can make than choosing its leader, and we will take our time to ensure that we have given thorough consideration and thought, with as much information and input as possible, to make that decision wisely. I can only thank Kerry again for putting the school’s interest ahead of his own and letting us know of his intentions so early.
In the meantime if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com.
Ethan Berman ’79
President of the Board of Trustees
Announcement from the Headmaster: February 14, 2023
I recently let the Board of Trustees know that the 2023-2024 academic year would be my last as Headmaster. I will have served twenty years in this capacity and with gratitude and humility I know that this is the right time to step down.
When I was fortunate to be invited to be the school’s 11th Headmaster in 2004, the Board suggested no obvious mandate. I would be following a highly successful predecessor in Tony Jarvis, who over thirty years had made a distinctive mark on this community. I believe that most simply hoped I would strive to maintain the excellences and values for which Roxbury Latin was known. With the highest regard for what had been and especially the history, traditions and ethic of the school, I sought, however, for us to evolve, to broaden and deepen programs, to support and attract high quality people, and to ensure that the facilities were both functional and beautiful and served an ambitious program well. Best of all, I have consistently maintained that our most distinctive feature was our demographic, the boys we served. We have made clear that the financial support necessary to guarantee the ability of talented, committed boys of all kinds to attend the school and to participate fully in its programs had to be a top priority. The result is a school defined by a broadly representative, inclusive student body.
One of the most compelling reasons for my return to RL and Boston in 2004 was the opportunity to help lead a school with a clear mission, to be involved in all aspects of its operation, and to have an impact on everyone in a relatively intimate community. I regularly suggested to my colleagues that our principal opportunity and responsibility was to know and love every boy. Roxbury Latin has both the structure and the will to realize that essential, rare goal.
There will be plenty of time to reflect on the past twenty years over the next eighteen months. Whatever has been achieved over my time as Headmaster has been the result of a great team effort. For that and more, I am grateful to the Board of Trustees, the faculty and staff, parents, alumni, and the boys themselves for realizing this dream of a school, for your support, and for your friendship. You have all played a part in ensuring that my privileged professional life was meaningful and joyful. Thank you.
Kerry P. Brennan
About Isaacson, Miller
Isaacson, Miller, one of the country’s premier executive search firms, has been selected to partner with the Search Committee in identifying the best candidates for Roxbury Latin’s next head of school. Isaacson, Miller has more than four decades of experience partnering with organizations that advance the public good, recruiting leaders with proven records of excellence, integrity, and impact. Isaacson, Miller is a Boston-based firm with deep roots in the local education community and a long-standing commitment to diversity. Learn more about Isaacson, Miller.