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Head Search

Over fifty years of leading lives of passion and purpose.

Head Search Committee

  • Steve Carter: Trustee
  • Richard Critz: Trustee, Alumni Parent
  • Dr. Sheila DeWitt: Trustee, Alumni Parent
  • David Grosso ’78: Alumni 
  • Lauren Hines: Trustee, Alumni Parent, Current Parent (Chair of Search Committee)
  • Jim Lamp: Trustee, Alumni Parent
  • Dr. Andrew Myers: US Faculty
  • Laura Russell: Director of Equity and Belonging, MS Faculty
  • Reina Stimpson: Dean of Students, US Faculty, Alumni Parent
  • Dr. Ritu Ullal: Current Parent

A Letter from the Board Chair

Susan Rand King
Chair, Board of Trustees
October 14, 2021

Dear Derryfield Community,

The Board of Trustees has recently learned that Mary Halpin Carter will be leaving The Derryfield School on June 30, 2022. She has proven to be an asset beyond any of our expectations. We are both sad and grateful for all Mary’s years of extraordinary service and dedication to the students, families, alumni, teachers, faculty, and staff. 
Mary joined Derryfield in 1997 as the Admission Director and during the 2012-13 school year was named the 8th Head of School. When she departs this spring, she will be the second-longest serving head in Derryfield’s history. During her tenure as Head of School for the past decade, Mary faced both expected and unexpected challenges and has risen to each of them. Most recently, she led Derryfield through the difficult days and uncertainty of operating the school during the COVID-19 pandemic. She prioritized our children’s educational experience and emotional well-being, all while navigating unprecedented obstacles and unimaginable circumstances. Mary was able to give our community the closest “normal” academic year possible during some of our most trying times. 
Mary is to be commended for her critical role in the development of the academic program vision, which transformed the experience for all students, families, and faculty. This vision changed the way students are taught and restructured the curriculum with the focus on 21st-century skills, application of knowledge to real-world problems, project-based learning, student research, and a redesign of all courses, along with a new school schedule designed to calm the pace of the day. She created the Pathways Program, 1:1 coaching from a trusted adult to show Derryfield students their full potential and opportunities to explore on campus and beyond. She has been committed to the priority that the Derryfield culture is one in which diversity is celebrated and everyone belongs. Mary initiated ongoing professional development for teachers to support the learning of cutting-edge teaching methods and student engagement while remaining steadfast in her commitment to equitable, competitive compensation for faculty and staff. 
Mary and the Board of Trustees have partnered to accomplish extraordinary goals for Derryfield. While working with the Board she has been pivotal in the expansion of campus facilities, which doubled our square footage, providing a state-of-the-art Science & Innovation Center, Athletic & Wellness Center, and tennis complex. Throughout an unprecedented capital campaign and building project, we created a culture of philanthropy at Derryfield that will be an example for generations to come. 
Mary leaves The Derryfield School a better place than when she joined. Her words have given comfort and confidence in challenging times, and her leadership has challenged all of us to be the best version of ourselves. We are so proud of all Mary has achieved for Derryfield and for our children. We wish her continued personal and professional success and hope nothing but the best for her family - Chris, Lulu ’13, Polly ’16, and Martin ’18. They will forever remain an integral part of the Derryfield family and legacy. 
As we look ahead, we know Derryfield is strong academically, programmatically, and financially. We have a remarkable foundation and are optimistic for our future. The Board has retained the services of Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a national search firm with expertise in independent school leadership, to assist in our search for a new head of school. In the coming days, we will be appointing a search committee to work closely with our consultants and will be reaching out to the community for input and engagement. Thanks to Mary’s leadership, her successor will inherit a vibrant, healthy, and joyful Derryfield. 
Best regards, 
Susan Rand King ’81 
Chair, Board of Trustees


List of 4 items.

  • How will the new Head of School Be Chosen?

    We will do our very best to make the search process transparent, thorough, and thoughtful. To assist us through this endeavor, the Board has hired Carney, Sandoe and Associates (CS&A), a leader in Independent School executive searches.
    We will work towards ensuring the entire Derryfield community has the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas along the way. While the final selection of our next Head of School rests with the Board of Trustees, everyone in the Derryfield community should have a voice. 
    There will be many opportunities for community input: we sent out via email a Head of School Survey, which allowed you to express your views on issues relevant to Derryfield, to reflect on the essential qualities of our future leadership, and to suggest any candidates you believe would be compelling. If you would like to pass along potential candidates, please email HOSsearch@derryfield.org Additionally, our Carney Sandoe consultants Charlie Britton and Lisa Parsons visited campus on November 4 and 5, 2021 to meet with parents, alumni, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees. They conducted meetings in which members of the community had the opportunity to share their perspectives about the School and their aspirations for Derryfield’s new Head of School. These conversations will inform the composition of a compelling school profile and job description reflecting our desired qualities in a new Head.
  • What is the role of the Search Committee?

    The search committee will, among other things: 
    • Provide feedback and final approval of the Position Description;
    • Manage logistics relating to CS&A and candidate site visits; 
    • Review the application materials of candidates presented by CS&A; 
    • Plan, organize, and conduct initial meetings with candidates;
    • Initiate due diligence, reference, and background checks in concert with CS&A;
    • Shortlist candidates and gather the Board of Trustees’ feedback; and
    • Make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for their vote on the next Head of School.

    The goal of the search will be to identify a robust pool of high-quality candidates by mid-winter for a possible Head of School appointment in July 2022 or for July 2023. If an appointment is made and the candidate is unable to begin until July 2023, an interim Head of School will be named for the 2022-2023 academic year. The Search Committee’s job will be to screen, interview, and recommend final candidate(s) to the Board by late winter. If at any point the Search Committee feels that the candidate pool is not up to our community’s expectations, then the search will be re-cast to identify further candidates.

    The Committee members were selected based on their skills, knowledge, perspective, and mindset in order to ensure representation of a wide cross-section of voices. The specific criteria include a profound commitment to Derryfield’s mission, vision, and values; a diversity of perspectives and opinions; an ability to prioritize the best interests of the school ahead of any other agenda; and a willingness and ability to commit a significant amount of time to the process.

A Message from Mary Halpin Carter

The Derryfield School

2108 River Road, Manchester, NH 03104     p: 603.669.4524     f: 603.625.9715