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Head of School Search 2021

The Board of Trustees’ most critical work at an independent school is identifying, recruiting, hiring, and supporting a mission-aligned Head of School. During Out-of-Door’s leadership transition, the Board is committed to finding the right person to lead The Out-of-Door Academy in its next chapter. This leadership transition represents an opportunity for the School community to reaffirm its institutional values, as well as its mission and vision. The next Head will be an individual of outstanding character, whose personal and professional skills match the School’s culture and who will inspire and enable ODA to achieve its vision for the future. The Out-of-Door Academy seeks a Head of School to begin their responsibilities on July 1, 2022. 

2021 Head of School Search

On April 1, The Out-of-Door Academy’s Head of School David Mahler and the Board of Trustees announced Mr. Mahler’s departure at the end of June. You may read the community announcement here.
On this webpage, you will find all the pertinent information regarding the search for Out-of-Door’s next Head of School.

Search Process

The Board has engaged Educators Collaborative, Inc., a leading executive search firm, to conduct a comprehensive search. Please click here to learn more about Educators’ expertise in the field of not-for-profit education. The consultants leading our search process are listed below. 
Doug Cummings Joan Beauregard Sally Mixsell

Following the April 1 announcement, the Board engaged in productive conversations with seasoned candidates for the interim position. On June 8, Mr. James Connor was announced as ODA’s Interim Head of School, effective July 1, 2021. We are excited to welcome this passionate educator to The Out-of-Door Academy. Mr. Connor served for 26 years as Head of School at Germantown Academy and recently served as Interim Head of School at Miami Country Day School. Mr. Connor has received many accolades for his leadership roles in academia throughout his career, including a commendation for service from the Board of Trustees at Germantown Academy. He will uphold the duties of Head of School until a new Head of School is identified and begins on July 1, 2022.

The Board is in an active search for the School’s next Head of School. This is a lengthier and more involved process that will include representation from all stakeholders. As previously indicated, it is the Board’s intent to appoint the new Head with a start date of July 1, 2022.

Click here to view the Information for Candidates Report. Qualified candidates can see the full job posting with additional information and application requirements at https://educatorscollaborative.com/searches/out-of-door-academy

Search Committee

The Board of Trustees is in the process of creating a Head of School Search Committee who will take part in a thoughtful and thorough process to develop and assess prospective candidates. The goal of this Committee is to recommend one person to the Board for consideration as Out-of-Door’s next Head of School. The Search Committee is currently being led by Board Chair Mr. Tom Murphy and consists of members of the School's Board of Trustees: Sean Abrams, Deb Beck, Jamie Becker, Rob Crisci, Leigh Dalton, Ariane Dart, Teena Humphrey, David White, and Michael Wilson.

The Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Kelly Rose and Mr. Ken Sommers, includes parents and faculty representing all three divisions, as well as members of the school’s leadership, staff, and alumni groups. We thank the following individuals for their participation in this capacity: Fernando Azcona, Monica Baldwin, Charles Balliette ‘00, Tony Bonacuse, Doug Bradbury, Angel Cappar, Kerri Dowdell, Mietra Harandi, Mitzie Henson, Neil Hunn, Tammy Karp, Jordan Letschert ‘00, Katie Rauch, Kymberli Rivers, Terri Vitale, and Betsy Wild ‘01.

We are incredibly grateful for the time, energy and thoughtfulness that we know these community members are employing in this process.

ODA Community Involvement

The search for Out-of-Door’s next Head of School will be an inclusive and multi-phase undertaking that will allow us to build a collective vision for the School’s new chapter.

Below you will find a list of outreach initiatives:
  • Community-wide survey:  A comprehensive survey was sent to the Out-of-Door community on May 2, 2021 with the goal of collecting feedback from all stakeholders.  This was a confidential survey with Educators Collaborative collecting submissions.
  • Discovery sessions: Consultants from Educators Collaborative conducted meetings with the Board and the faculty.  The consultants have used information collected during those sessions to inform the type of leader who should guide us in the coming years.
  • Feedback:  Educators Collaborative is open to community member feedback and questions at any point during this process by contacting Doug Cummings, Joan Beauregard or Sally Mixsell directly.
  • Dedicated Webpage: This webpage is regularly updated with pertinent information.


The following timeline has been prepared by Educators Collaborative for the Search:
  • Summer 2021: Candidate applications accepted
  • August 15, 2021: Application deadline
  • September/October 2021: Top candidates identified and interviewed by Search Committee and School constituents
  • October 2021: Candidate of Choice presented to Board
  • November 2021: Announcement of new Head of School 

The Out-of-Door Academy

LOWER SCHOOL |  Historic Siesta Key Campus  |  Pre-K – Grade 5
444 Reid Street, Sarasota, FL 34242  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-349-8133

  |  Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch  |  Grades 6 – 8 |  Grades 9 – 12
5950 Deer Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-907-1251
The Out-of-Door Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, physical ability, religion, sex, age, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin.
The Out-of-Door Academy is an equal opportunity employer.

© 2021 The Out-of-Door Academy