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Nathan Washer Announced as Next Head of Wichita Collegiate School


Wichita Collegiate School is pleased to announce Nathan Washer as the new Head of School, effective July 1, 2019.  Mr. Washer will succeed Tom Davis, who announced his retirement in November, 2017 after 17 years as Collegiate’s Head of School and 13 years on the Board of Trustees.  Mr. Washer will become the seventh Head of School since Collegiate’s founding in 1963.

Washer brings nearly 30 years of deep education experience to the Head of School role at Collegiate.  He most recently served as Assistant Head of School at The Pine School in Hobe Sound, Florida, where he led several key strategic initiatives for the school. Prior to this position he was both Head of Upper School and Athletic Director at The Pine School, and also held non-profit leadership and teaching positions.  He is originally from Warrington, England and has lived in the United States since 1994.

As a lifelong educator, my goal has been to serve as a Head of School in a community that is deeply committed to its students and innovation in education.  From the moment I stepped onto campus, it was apparent to me that Collegiate was that place.  In my three visits to the school, I saw a dedicated and talented faculty and administration, enthusiastic and principled students, and a welcoming and warm community.  My wife Mary and I are excited for this new chapter of our lives and to be a part of the impressive future of Wichita Collegiate School.


Board of Trustees Chair Shari Male Powers ’85 said, “After a thorough international search of outstanding candidates, led by search firm Carney Sandoe & Associates, we are thrilled to welcome Nathan as our next Head of School.  He is a proven educational leader with an engaging personality who will bring vision and passion to Collegiate while holding true to our values of educational excellence, character development, and diversity.  We took the selection process very seriously, involving our community at every step of the way.  For the final three candidates, we held open forums for our faculty, staff, and community so that they could meet each candidate.  We issued anonymous surveys following each forum to collect honest feedback on each candidate and incorporated numerous inputs to make the best choice for the future of Collegiate.”

Washer’s educational philosophy is based on advocating for every student – ensuring that they are achieving their potential - and that each teacher has the support and resources to deliver that success in a personal manner.  Binney Caffrey, current Head of School at the Pine School, said “Nathan is a proven, confident school leader with a strong record of collaborating with faculty and driving positive innovations.  We are sorry to see him leave The Pine School but wish him all the best and know he will successfully lead Wichita Collegiate School into the next chapter of its history.”

Washer completed his Master of Arts at Appalachian State University, received a Post Graduate Certificate of Education from Liverpool Polytechnic (now John Moores University), and earned his Bachelor of Arts (with honors) in physical education and sports from Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University).  He and his wife Mary have two daughters, Maryn (college student) and Macy (senior at The Pine School). 


Finalist Interviews Scheduled; Community Invited to Participate

In June and July, the Search Committee hosted a preliminary round of confidential, semi-finalist interviews with seven candidates. We were pleased with the skills and qualifications of the candidates and narrowed the field to a small group of finalists who, along with spouses, will be invited to Wichita Collegiate for two days of interviews during which they will meet with faculty, staff, parents, alumni and students.

While the finalists have not yet been publicly named, we have planned for three of these interviews and would like to ask you to mark your calendars so you may participate in the process this fall. Members of the school community will have opportunities to meet the finalists according to the following schedules:

September 4 - 5 Visit with Candidate #1

Forum for WCS Faculty and Staff:

Tuesday, September 4, 5:30 - 6:30 PM @ Galichia Family Auditorium

Forum for the Community - parents, alumni, and friends of WCS are welcome to attend:

Wednesday, September 5, 7:00 - 8:00 PM @ Galichia Family Auditorium

September 24 - 25 Visit with Candidate #2

Forum for WCS Faculty and Staff:

Monday, September 24, 5:30 - 6:30 PM @ Galichia Family Auditorium

Forum for the Community - parents, alumni, and friends of WCS are welcome to attend:

Monday, September 24, 7:00 - 8:00 PM @ Galichia Family Auditorium

October 1 - 2 Visit with Candidate #3

Forum for WCS Faculty and Staff:

Monday, October 1, 5:30 - 6:30 PM @ Galichia Family Auditorium

Forum for the Community - parents, alumni, and friends of WCS are welcome to attend:

Tuesday, October 2, 7:00 - 8:00 PM @ Galichia Family Auditorium

Following these visits, individuals who have attended the forums will be invited to share their thoughts about each candidate with the Search Committee through an anonymous online survey. The Search Committee strongly encourages you to participate in these sessions and to provide feedback. Your input, along with that of the Advisory Committees, is essential. It will help the Board of Trustees make the best decision possible based on the recommendation of the Search Committee.


Advisory Committees Formed

The Search Committee believes that input from our community is paramount in the selection of our next Head of School. Last year, many of you participated in community forums and surveys giving us feedback about what skills and characteristics we should look for in the candidates. That input was very helpful and we want to continue to get input from the community as the search progresses. Today, we are pleased to announce that the Search Committee has established two Advisory Committees: (1) the Faculty and Staff Advisory Committee and (2) the Parent and Alumni Advisory Committee. Committee members consist of representatives of each constituent group (i.e. alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and friends) of Wichita Collegiate School who will act as advocates for our school during this process. The Advisory Committees will meet and host interviews with each of the finalist candidates during their visit this fall and provide feedback to the Search Committee. (For a list of the members of these two committees, click here)

Watch for details next week about how you can personally get involved in the search. We will announce opportunities for faculty, staff, parents, and alumni to attend community forums with our finalists this fall. We appreciate your continued support as we embark on this exciting time for Collegiate's future.


Candidate Interviews Begin

The opportunity to lead WCS has generated a strong pool of candidates. Search consultants Bob Windham and Rice Bryan of Carney Sandoe & Associates have been in communication with approximately 40 individuals who have indicated a genuine interest in the Head of School position. We have attracted candidates from 12 different states, including experienced Heads of School and senior administrators from other independent schools who are ready to move to their first headship.

In April, the Search Committee carefully reviewed candidate dossiers and conducted introductory conference calls with a number of the most attractive candidates, narrowing the field to seven individuals who have been invited for preliminary, confidential interviews during the month of June. 

After the preliminary interviews are conducted, we will invite two or three finalists back to campus for deeper interviews and tours. At that point, we intend to provide opportunities for faculty, staff, parents, and alumni to meet the finalists and give feedback to the Search Committee. 


Consultants Recruit Candidates

The last few months have been busy and filled with gathering information and defining our school’s leadership needs. Carney Sandoe is focused on recruiting a diverse pool of highly qualified candidates for consideration by the Search Committee. The Search Committee and Board of Trustees will take the time necessary to select our next Head of School in a thoughtful manner.


Position Description Posted on Carney Sandoe's Website

To generate interest of potential candidates, Carney Sandoe drafted a Position Description to communicate our school’s history, future focus, and the leadership we are looking for in the next Head of School. The feedback from the Community Survey and the input from Carney Sandoe information sessions were used to develop the Position Description. The document outlines our specific needs and will help market WCS to potential candidates. 

WCS Position Description


Community Survey Launched


An online survey was distributed to all school constituents, including parents, past parents, alumni faculty, staff, and friends of the school. Participation in the anonymous Community Survey provided additional insight and perspective into what is needed in our next leader. Close to 300 people participated in the survey. The Search Committee and Board will use this valuable information in the decision-making process for the Head of School.

Search Consultants Visited WCS for Information Gathering Session

Carney Sandoe Search Consultants Bob Windham and Rice Bryan visited campus  to meet with different constituents. They held many information-gathering sessions with different constituents including: faculty and staff, parents and alumni, administration, parent group leadership, the Board of Trustees, the Search Committee and Upper School and Middle School students. They came to listen and learn about Wichita Collegiate and the community. Bob and Rice made every effort to understand WCS, its mission, culture, tolerance for change, preferred leadership style, and the nature of the position to be filled. Thank you to all who attended the information sessions. We appreciated your time in sharing valuable information as we launch the search process.


Head of School Search Committee Selected          

The role of the Search Committee is to gather community input, identify the qualities most desired and needed for the next Head of School, and then to screen, review and evaluate candidates, so a Head of School recommendation may be made to the Board of Trustees.

The Search Committee members are:

Corey Johnson, Search Committee Chair & Trustee

Meredith Olson, Trustee

Joe Kirmser, Trustee

Sharol Rasberry, Trustee

Angela Fox, Trustee

Brian Heinrichs, Trustee

Basil Hourani, Trustee

Shari Male Powers ’85, Board Chair

Search Committee Announcement Letter


Announcement and Letters from Tom Davis and Board Chair

In a letter to the Wichita Collegiate community, Tom Davis announced his retirement and stated that the 2018-2019 school year would be his last year as Head of School. Board Chair, Shari Male Powers ’85, expressed appreciation and deep gratitude for Tom’s years of thoughtful leadership and announced the Board of Trustees had selected Carney Sandoe & Associates to facilitate the search process.

Tom Davis Retirement Letter; Head of School Search Announcement


Board of Trustees Selected Search Consulting Firm, Carney Sandoe & Associates

Following a thorough, thoughtful, and deliberate process, Wichita Collegiate School’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to engage Carney Sandoe & Associates as the Search Consultants for the Head of School Search. Carney Sandoe & Associates is the nation’s largest and, arguably, most recognized education search firm. The firm brings a wealth of knowledge about independent schools from their nearly forty years of experience in placing school leaders, administrators and educators.