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head of school

December 9, 2021

Dear Members of the Westtown School Community,

On behalf of the Head of School Search Committee and the Board of Trustees, it is our great honor to announce the appointment of Chris Benbow as Westtown's next Head of School, effective January 1, 2022.

We believe that Chris's character, extensive experience in education, leadership skills, and profound commitment to our mission prepare him exceptionally well to be the next Head of School. 

After extensive consideration of the school's and our community's needs, the committee entered into a period of discernment. In this process, the Search Committee focused on Quaker values, commitment to anti-bias, anti-racism (ABAR) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work, financial acumen and fundraising skills, integrity and passion, the skills to unify, and the ability to drive our Strategic Vision forward. We listened to the voices of our parents, students, alums, faculty, staff, and trustees. It was clear to the Search Committee that our community sought a strong and accessible leader with a high degree of alignment with Quaker values and experience working and living within a Quaker community. The feedback about Chris was that in his many roles, he has demonstrated a style of leadership rooted in accessibility, thoughtfulness, and fairness, which he combines with a mission-driven, strategic approach. In this period of discernment, the committee developed a strong, unified sense that Chris is the right person to lead Westtown School. 

Chris's Westtown roots are deep. Over the course of his lifetime, he has been involved with Westtown in myriad ways, with each role building on the last and increasing his depth as a community member and skilled leader. He first arrived on campus as a sixth grader in 1983, and has experienced this community as a student, an alum, and a parent. As a professional, he has been a teacher, dean, principal, and served in multiple administrative roles. In all, he has been a deeply involved, active participant in shaping the educational experience of students. 

Chris shares, "My enthusiasm for the opportunity to serve Westtown as Head of School is not just professional, it is also personal and spiritual. Though I have left and returned twice, Westtown School has remained an integral part of my life since that very first day in sixth grade. Much has changed in the world–and at Westtown–since 1983, and the young people in our care today are in even greater need of the skills, habits of mind, and spiritual grounding that Westtown can offer. I have a deep understanding of the complex challenges that face our school, and am living many of them as I write this. Still, as long as we look deeply inward, listen actively to all that comes from the many corners of the room, and are open to being transformed by the Truth we discern, I know we are up to the challenges at hand." 

The process that has led the Search Committee to this recommendation has been intentional, thorough, and grounded upon principles that shape our community. Chris Benbow's appointment represents the culmination of a comprehensive national and international search. We are especially grateful to the many members of the Westtown community who suggested candidates, participated in Zoom sessions and in-person meetings, and provided helpful insights throughout the process. This thoughtful feedback at every step of the way has been invaluable. We are also deeply appreciative of the members of the Search Committee for their intensive efforts to design and execute a process that provided meaningful opportunities for interactions between the finalists and our community.

It is with great joy that we look forward to partnering with Chris in this new capacity as Head of Westtown School. 

In partnership,

Martha Bryans '68
Clerk, Board of Trustees

Luis Castillo '80
Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee

Elizabeth Osterman '73
Co-Clerk, Head of School Search Committee