Tori Jueds Named New Head of School
Dear Members of the Westtown School Community,
The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Victoria H. Jueds as Westtown’s next Head of School. Tori, as she is known, currently serves as Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students at Princeton University, where she plays a pivotal role in academic, co-curricular, diversity and inclusion initiatives for 5,200 undergraduate students.
During the search process, we were struck not only by the extensive and enthusiastic feedback we received about Tori, but also by the extent to which her qualities and attributes match what members of our school community are looking for in Westtown’s next Head. During the two-day site visit by our consultants last spring and through the exceptionally large number of responses to the online search survey, our community clearly articulated the qualities desired in and its hopes for the school’s next leader. We are grateful to have found these qualities and more in Tori Jueds. Tori strongly supports Westtown’s mission and will energetically foster it. “I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Westtown community,” she says. “Quaker education, the way Westtown practices it, prioritizes everything that is most important for the health and happiness of students, and for their ability to thrive in and better the world. This is a school with a big heart and a global reach, where young people develop strong, relevant, compassionate voices. I look forward to serving Westtown and Westonians to the very best of my ability.”
In her personal statement and in her lengthy conversations with the Search Committee, she emphasized her deeply held belief that “the central purpose of education is to help young people realize their most authentic selves, and thus equip them to create and promote understanding, integrity, and equality in our world, wherever they find their calling.”
Raised in New Jersey and London, Tori graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy as valedictorian. In 1995 she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College where she majored in History and Literature and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. After three years in Seattle, where she worked on a statewide gun control initiative and other political campaigns, she returned to Harvard Law School, serving as president of the Civil Liberties Union and as commencement speaker when she earned her J.D. in 2001.
"Quaker education, the way Westtown practices it, prioritizes everything that is most important for the health and happiness of students, and for their ability to thrive in and better the world."
Tori’s commitment to social justice issues has included pro bono representations of indigent parents in custody disputes in Washington, D.C., constitutional law workshops for non-lawyer civil rights activists through Planned Parenthood in Boston, coaching high school student advocates of same-sex marriage through Georgetown University's Presidential Classroom program, and First Amendment workshops at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a public charter school.
For five summers between 2006 and 2010, Tori returned to Exeter, teaching courses in the Harkness method on moral philosophy and current events to rising 8th and 9th grade students, while also serving as a dormitory head. Concurrently, Tori worked at Princeton University, first serving as Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students, then Associate Dean, and then her current position as Senior Associate Dean.
A deeply spiritual person and longtime student of religion, Tori was drawn to Westtown’s Quaker principles and values. “Westtown’s foundational principles resonate strongly with me. Indeed, while I am not myself a member of a Meeting, I value my family’s Quaker background and feel an affinity for the spirituality, social consciousness, and the search for equality and truth of the Society of Friends. Likewise, as a leader I have sought to cultivate a collaborative and collegial management style that resembles the Quaker decision-making process.”
We believe Tori’s dynamic vision, strength of character, and forward-thinking leadership make her the ideal person to lead Westtown today and continue the extraordinary work of John Baird and other distinguished Heads of School who have preceded her. Tori has told us, “I believe wholeheartedly in the value of Quaker education, and I am firmly committed to preserving the Quaker identity and character of Westtown School.”
Tori Jueds’ appointment represents the culmination of a far-reaching and exhaustive global search. We are especially grateful to the many members of the Westtown community who suggested possible candidates and provided helpful insights throughout the process. We are also deeply appreciative of the members of the Search Committee for their intensive efforts to design and execute a process that provided excellent and comprehensive opportunities for interactions between the finalists and our community.
Westtown’s Head of School Transition Committee will be co-clerked by trustees Martha Bryans ’68 and Jake Dresden ’62. Both Martha and Jake have served as Heads of School (Martha at Friends School Haverford and Jake at Collegiate School New York City and then Concord Academy) and will share their valuable experiences during this exciting transition period. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to welcoming Tori Jueds to Westtown in July 2017.
|Jon Evans '73||Ed Winslow '64|
|Clerk, Board of Trustees Clerk||Head of School Search Committee|
|Michelle Caughey '71||Jake Dresden '62|
|Co-Associate Clerk, Board of Trustees||Co-Associate Clerk, Board of Trustees|
Dear Westtown Community:
It is an exciting time to be at Westtown. Thanks to John Baird’s leadership, a strong faculty and staff, and a vibrant student, alumni and parent community, our school is grounded, dynamic, and well-positioned for the future. As we look ahead and begin the critical task of finding a new leader, I look forward to sharing updates, answering questions and engaging with the entire Westtown community along the way.
Westtown has a rich past, a noble history, and wonderful traditions that have linked generations of our graduates since 1799. Now we are embarking on a global search for our next Head of School. In this endeavor we have the assistance a highly qualified search firm with extensive reach; we expect that we will have a deep pool of dynamic and diverse candidates.
Westtown’s Board of Trustees has selected a search committee who will lead us through the process and will ultimately make a recommendation to the board. The committee’s goal is to be open and transparent while respecting the privacy of candidates who may require confidentiality during this process. Collectively, we are committed to Westtown's Quaker decision-making process culminating in a grounded and spiritually-led result.
Throughout this search, we want to hear concerns, comments, advice and ideas, including suggestions for candidates. I hope you had the opportunity to complete the online community survey. If you would like to share comments or advice please contact me at any time.
We invite you to join us in this important work.
Clerk, Head of School Search Committee
I am writing to confirm my decision to step down as Head of Westtown School at the end of the 2016-17 school year. This has been a difficult decision because I love this school and have found here a calling that has fully engaged and inspired me for 14 years. At the same time, there are cycles in the lives of people and organizations, and I feel clear that this is the right time for Westtown and for me.
I am profoundly grateful for the privilege of leading and learning in this beloved community. I am excited about the direction and momentum of the school and the strength of the faculty and staff. I have delighted in the opportunity to collaborate with extraordinarily talented, dedicated, and caring colleagues whose commitment to “answering that of God” in our students is remarkable. And, I have taken special joy in interacting with students in all three divisions, in watching them develop and mature as they have moved throughout the school - this year’s seniors were in pre-K when my family and I arrived from North Carolina in 2002 - and pride in seeing them take their gifts into the world with courage, confidence, and a commitment to make a difference. I believe that it is a good time for me to do that, too, and to graduate with the Class of 2017.
I have had the good fortune to work with two highly dedicated and energetic Board Clerks, Bruce Haines and Jon Evans, who have kept the mission of the school at the heart of their leadership, and with dozens of trustees whose wisdom, vision, and generosity have been an inspiration to me. I am especially grateful to Jon Evans for his devotion to the school community and his faithful support of me and of Westtown over the past five and a half years. I am also deeply appreciative of our parents and alumni for entrusting their children to us, for their involvement with and passion for the school, and for their partnership and generous support in making Westtown the best we can be.
Westtown has been home to my wife Aminda and our children, Matt, Jeff, and Lizzie, and me, and we will always cherish the friendships and relationships we have formed here. Living on this exquisite campus is a blessing for which we will always be grateful.
Our school is strong, vibrant, and well-positioned to build on our many strengths, and I am thrilled with all that we have accomplished in our current Strategic Plan. I have every confidence that our strategic vision will continue to guide the school in its “continuing revelation.” Much remains to be done to ensure that Westtown remains a world-class Friends school and to continue to deepen our Quaker character and legacy of academic and human excellence. The Board has thoughtfully designed a search process to select Westtown’s next Head of School, one which will provide opportunities for input from all who love Westtown. I look forward to supporting this process and my successor to ensure a smooth transition.
In the meantime, there is much important work to be done, and I am excited about continuing to lead, conduct, and support it over the next 17 months. I look forward to seeing you around campus, in the theater, at athletic events, at Friends of Westtown gatherings, alongside the Lake, in the Meeting House ... and to kicking up my heels at graduations!
Thank you for your friendship and ongoing support,
Head of School
Dear Members of the Westtown School Community,
I write on behalf of the Board of Trustees to convey our deep gratitude to John for his exemplary leadership of Westtown and to accept his decision to step down as Head of School at the close of the 2016-2017 school year. As he has so eloquently articulated in his accompanying letter, he is clear that the time is right for Westtown to seek new leadership and for him to transition to new opportunities.
To imagine Westtown without John Baird’s leadership is difficult. John is the longest-serving Head since Dan Test (1950-1968). As a trustee, and as Clerk of the Board, I have long admired and embraced John’s vision for the intellectual and personal growth of both young people and adults, as well as his personal integrity, spiritual grounding, compassion, enthusiasm, and determination. In every conversation, decision, and action, he has demonstrated an abiding love for and commitment to Westtown. As a parent, I can think of no better role model and mentor for our three children and their classmates throughout their student years.
It is a privilege to serve Westtown and to have partnered with John on behalf of the school. Under John’s leadership, the school community has worked diligently and successfully over the past several years on our strategic priorities and initiatives. We are on a positive trajectory and well-positioned to define the next chapter in our 200-plus-year history. Westtown – with its outstanding community, beautiful 600-acre campus, and compelling combination of historic and modern facilities – has an enviable reputation and position within the constellation of Friends schools, as well as the larger independent school community. As a result, we are confident of our ability to attract the next great Head of School.
In undertaking the search, we will remain firmly grounded in our core Quaker identity as well as our aspiration to remain a leader in Friends education. Consistent with Westtown’s broad multicultural and geographic reach, we will also seek to build a strong and diverse pool of local, national, and international candidates for the top leadership position. The Head of School Search Committee will be clerked by Ed Winslow. Ed has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the past 10 years; he is an alumnus of Westtown’s class of 1964, a parent of two alumni, and a relative and friend of numerous Westonians. The Search Committee will be supported by Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a firm with deep experience in senior administrative searches for schools across the country and around the world. We are excited to be working with CS&A consultants Earl Ball, former Head of The William Penn Charter School and currently Director of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Program in School Leadership, and Charles “Chuck” Burdick, a life-long educator, whose experience includes 38 years of work in five NAIS boarding and day schools. They join us in the belief that meaningful participation on the part of the faculty, staff, administration, students, alumni, parents and friends of the school is essential to a successful search. More information about the search committee and the search process, including opportunities for you to participate, will be forthcoming in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
In closing, I wish to convey our heartfelt appreciation both to John and to his family -- Aminda, Matt ’05, Jeff ’08, and Lizzie ’10 -- for their support of John as he seized the opportunities and met the challenges of serving as Head of School. There will, of course, be ample opportunities over the coming 17 months for us to say “thank you!” In the meantime, the important work of the school continues without pause and the Board of Trustees joins John in expressing deep appreciation for your vital role in that work. Your partnership and commitment make it possible to anticipate Westtown’s future with enthusiasm and confidence.
Jon Evans ’73
Clerk, Westtown School Board of Trustees
Dear Westtown Friends,
The search for Westtown’s next Head of School is moving forward and things are going well.
In February, our Carney, Sandoe & Associates consultants spent two days on campus interviewing more than 200 individuals and groups to learn about our history, culture, and aspirations. Soon after that, they helped us survey the Westtown community online and conducted telephone interviews with those who requested them. We wanted to hear hopes and advice for identifying our next Head. Our consultants tell us that we received an unusually large number (between 1000 and 1500) of rich responses. What we heard helped us understand what qualities and attributes we are looking for in our next Head of School, and also identified a number of specific candidates whom we have considered and pursued.
Our search consultants have built a pool of candidates comprised of over 175 names, including both persons who responded to the announcement of our search and also candidates whom our consultants recruited based on survey responses and other recommendations. Significant numbers of these were Quakers, women, ethnically and racially diverse, had some international experience or origins, were heads of schools, or are currently working in higher education. Ultimately, the consultants selected nearly 60 to interview.
Our consultants have advised us that this pool is unusually broad, deep, and diverse. The number of candidates we have, the credentials they bring, and the rich diversity of their backgrounds and experiences is gratifying.
Our Search Committee met on July 20 to receive the consultants’ report and to review the credentials of 17 candidates. Seventeen is a large number. This reflected much interest in Westtown among many well-qualified candidates who meet the criteria we had identified as matching our needs and also Westtown’s unique character and personality. The group of 17 is indubitably diverse as to gender, race, ethnicity, and their range of professional experience (e.g., international, higher education, experience in advancement or enrollment, and other management functions). A sign of the times: several candidates have law degrees. Perhaps uniquely, a former military officer was attracted by the Peace Testimony of the Society of Friends. A goodly number of the 17 are themselves Friends and a still larger number have meaningful experience in the world of Friends schools.
After working together for a day, our Search Committee selected eight candidates for confidential, off-campus, in-person interviews. Those interviews will occur in mid-August. The difficult next step for the Search Committee is to discern which three or four, of the eight candidates, present the best potential “fit” for Westtown. The Committee will then invite those persons to come to Westtown between September 15 and 23 for meetings with our community.
To summarize: so far, so good. The Committee is impressed with the credentials and other data we have received about the eight candidates. We are optimistic and enthusiastic. The Committee’s challenging but exciting next step: discernment. We will be in touch as soon as we have news to share.
Ed Winslow ’64
Clerk, Head of School Search Committee
Dear Westtown Friends,
We have passed another milestone in our search for Westtown's next Head.
Just over a week ago, the Head of School Search Committee met off campus for two days with eight candidates. Directly afterwards, we met for another half day for committee discussions seeking to comprehend the desired attributes for our Head that were identified in our surveys, the many gifts our candidates have brought, and the committee’s joint discernment of those and so many other factors. It was not a simple task, but the outcome was very good.
We have winnowed the pool to three candidates whom we have invited to visit Westtown’s campus for public meetings with our community. They will be at Westtown separately, for two days apiece, on September 15-16, September 19-20, and September 22-23.
We will announce the identity of each candidate shortly before the time of their visit. Everyone who meets the candidates will be invited to communicate their impressions to the Search Committee, either via an online survey or a paper feedback form.
After that, the Search Committee will review what we hear, in addition to all the other data we are currently assembling: reports of reference checks, the committee’s own additional interviews with the candidates, and detailed “dossiers” compiled by our consultants, Carney Sandoe. Then, it will be the committee’s job to sit together, listen, and speak.
Following this process, the committee will bring a recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
This is a good committee. We entered our final session last week with different points of view, but we came out united and enthusiastic. We have an excellent group of candidates, and we are committed to our process.
I want you to know that each of the candidates has been exceptionally positive about Westtown and the opportunities they see at this moment. Yes, I know, that is what you would or should say in a job interview. But still, we have heard wonderful affirmations from accomplished educators about our school, its mission, and our campus, which is like no other.
We remain very encouraged.
Ed Winslow ‘64
Clerk, Head of School Search Committee