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Head of School Search

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Letter from Search Committee Co-Chairs

Dear Park Century School Community:


On behalf of the entire Search Committee, we want to thank everyone who participated in the survey and interviews conducted by consultant Doreen Oleson about the attributes and competencies you hope to see in the next Head of School for Park Century.  Your comments and feedback were critical to the development of a Position Statement which will guide the recruitment process. Applications from internal and external candidates are now being accepted with a submission deadline of July 16th, 2021.

In the coming months, as we move ahead in the search process, we are committed to keeping you informed about our progress. Today we are launching our Head of School Search page to include the final Position Statement, a list of Search Committee members, Answers to Frequently Asked Questions and background about our consultant. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

We hope to include as many voices as possible from the community throughout the selection process.  We look forward to hearing from you with any suggestions or comments you would like to share. 

There are two ways you can provide ongoing input.  First, if you have a candidate you would like to recommend for consideration, please email: doreenoleson@gmail.com.  Second, if you would like to communicate directly with members of the Search Committee with suggestions, questions or thoughts, you can reach us through a new confidential email box at:  searchcommittee@parkcenturyschool.org.

Thank you for your support and continued participation in this important endeavor for the future our School.

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Bess Fiedler

Co-Chair

Search Committee

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Helen Hartung

Co-Chair

Search Committee

Recent Communications

A Message from Judith Fuller, Head of School - March 5, 2021


Dear Park Century Community,

Twenty-eight years ago, when I first walked into Park Century School’s modest brick building on Stoner Avenue, I could never have imagined that I was taking the first steps on an educational journey that has filled my life with passion and purpose. Along the way, Park Century, now with more than twice the number of children thriving in our beautiful Culver City home, blossomed into an institution that has changed thousands of lives for the better—our students, their families, their teachers and specialists—and me.

Thus, it is with a combination of tremendous pride and a little sadness that I announce my retirement at the end of next year, effective June 2022. To be honest, there is joy mixed in there too, as I am looking forward to spending time with my two new grandchildren!

Over my years at PCS, I have worked as a classroom teacher, a reading and math specialist, dean, Director of Admissions, and now Head of School. Each role has taught me indelible lessons.

Working with our students has always been my first love. Sharing in their hard-won successes, or working creatively to help them overcome their obstacles, is the most gratifying work a teacher can do. I still smile at the memory of one third-grader, Austin, who presented me with a small bouquet of hand-picked flowers, saying, “These are for you, because now I love reading and you taught me how.” But we teachers and specialists learn as much from our students as they do from us. Pedagogical methods that work brilliantly with one child may not help another, which is why PCS constantly seeks out new and effective ways to help our students succeed despite their learning differences. Our teachers and specialists can claim mastery in a variety of evidence-based programs and methodologies and continue to seek out best practices in the field of learning differences. One size definitely does not fit all at PCS.

As Director of Admissions, I gained important insight into the character and mission of PCS. When parents came to us seeking help for their children who had often experienced failure and anxiety in their previous school placements, I could empathize, because, as the mother of a dyslexic son, I had been there too. Along with my colleagues, we strove to make PCS a place of safety, so that children who had struggled could now begin to learn and grow. It has always been a guiding principle of the school to support the social-emotional development of our students. I am truly proud of the work we have done in the past few years to expand our program by adding Council and Social Thinking Skills to our curriculum to further promote the development of core social-emotional competencies.

Stepping into the role of Head of School has been the crowning privilege of my 40-year career in education. I am fortunate to work alongside my colleague, COO Jennifer Palmer, and a talented and dedicated administrative team, faculty and staff, who all share my passion for our mission. PCS is also blessed to benefit from the generosity and wisdom of our Board of Directors, who have helped us both to weather storms and to reach for the stars (as our logo illustrates!). Of course, none of this would have been possible without the foundations laid by those who went before me, and I am grateful for their inspirational work.

PCS has come a long way since I started here. We used to teach art and science from little carts, wheeled between rooms. Now we have a dedicated art room, a well-equipped science lab, a “maker space” for cutting-edge creative projects, a music room and more. Our curriculum has grown and developed, as we learn both from our own students and from our on-going commitment to professional development. What truly sets PCS apart is our dynamic program—designed to meet the individual needs of our students. Our leaders—past, present and future—must take their inspiration from this.

In the coming months, we will be embarking on an open and transparent search for the next Head of School. The Board has authorized the hiring of Doreen Oleson, Ed. D., to lead us in the search, and will be keeping the community updated on that process. I am excited at the prospect of working together with all of our constituencies to ensure a seamless transition to vibrant new leadership for the school we all love.
As we gradually get back to normal after the disruptions of the pandemic, I am grateful for a community that came together in a crisis in support of our students and each other. The good news is that challenges bring opportunities. Our faculty and staff have mastered a plethora of new technologies, as well as initiating MAP Growth Diagnostic Assessments to facilitate making data-informed decisions regarding our students. Our Parent Association has created camaraderie and community, using Zoom, in ways we never could have imagined.
As I write this, a line from my favorite poem, by e.e.cummings, comes to mind: “I carry your heart with me…i am never without it.” Certainly, Park Century will always be in my heart. Together, I know we will make the coming school year one of celebration and community. I am confident that our future is as “uncommonly bright” as our wonderful PCS students.
With heartfelt appreciation, Judith Fuller Head of School




Letter from Board Leadership - March 5, 2021


“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” -Malala Yousafzai Dear Park Century Community,

We have so much to celebrate this year. We opened our school to hybrid, in-person/remote instruction, after our resilient community had adapted to fully remote learning for nearly a year. We launched several initiatives focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion for our Park Century families, faculty, staff, administration, and Board of Trustees. Our community has really “leaned in” to the challenges of the past year and has experienced incredible growth.

We salute your efforts and applaud the personal and academic growth you helped to foster. None of these successes would have been possible without the leadership of our Head of School (HoS), Judith Fuller, in partnership with Chief Operating Officer (COO), Jennifer Palmer.

Judith has been part of the Park Century School (PCS) family for 28 years. She has been our teacher, our specialist, our Director of Admissions, and our dean. When Judith accepted the role of HoS, she brought a clear vision for evidence-based LD education. Her many years of special education training and deep experience working in every facet of the school have made growth possible even during a pandemic. Judith has also always kept the relationship between student and teacher/specialist at the heart of every decision and initiative. As HoS, Judith has become a powerful advocate in the larger community for Park Century, and a leader in the field of LD education.

We all wish that Judith’s perception of her timelessness matched ours, but with the birth of her first grandchild and a second following closely behind, Judith informed the Board that she will be retiring at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. The Board received this news with tremendous appreciation and respect for what Judith has accomplished at Park Century School, but also with understandable regret that her tenure will be coming to a close next year. While we will deeply miss our beloved Head of School, we are also excited that she will have a chance to enjoy this new life adventure.

Over the years at PCS, Judith’s impact has been profound. Recognizing the importance of integrating health, wellness, and kindness as foundational priorities at Park Century, she spearheaded the Council program in 2018. Council is a relational practice that focuses on building empathy via active listening and honest communication, and it has proven to be a wonderful tool for strengthening group dynamics and ameliorating bullying. In 2020, Judith bolstered emotional support services at PCS by putting in place a crisis counselor. As a result of these new resources, we are now better equipped to proactively support the well-being of every PCS student.

Judith’s agile leadership in the face of the pandemic enabled the school to implement an incredible remote-learning program that met the needs of each learner. With new information and remote techniques constantly changing, this program required careful evaluation, intense professional development and teacher collaboration. This exemplary program would not have been possible without tremendous flexibility and stamina from our devoted faculty, hard-working staff and committed families.

Long-term sustainability for PCS has been one of Judith’s central concerns. To that end, she oversaw the creation of the Teacher Task Force, whose mission is to assess the school’s educational methods and recommend the most effective and efficient ways to provide the best individualized, evidence-based programs for our students. Implementing the Task Force’s recommendations is an on-going project that will help shape PCS’s future.

The Board is committed to finding the next PCS Head of School through a transparent and collaborative search process, open to both internal and external candidates. We are excited to announce that we have hired Doreen Oleson, of the highly respected educational consulting firm, RG175, as our search consultant. For 25 years, Ms. Oleson served as head of Saint Mark’s School, an Episcopal Parish Day School in Altadena, California. She has also been an Assistant Vice-President at Pepperdine University, in Malibu, and a public school teacher in Hawaii and California. Ms. Oleson has a confidence-inspiring track record as a consultant, having placed over 50 school heads, all of whom are still serving in those positions (some for as long as seven years). For more information about Ms. Oleson and RG175, go to their website: www.rg175.com.

We are confident that Ms. Oleson will work productively with our wonderful PCS community to identify and successfully recruit a new HoS. Her mission will be to find a visionary who will enhance PCS’s reputation as a leader in LD education, while nurturing an inclusive culture that values collaborative relationships.

With this announcement, the Board of Trustees will also be establishing a Search Committee, headed by incoming Board Vice-Chair, Bess Fiedler, and incoming Board Chair, Helen Hartung. Over the next few months, the Board will be working with Ms. Oleson to determine the critical qualifications and attributes for our next Head of School. Ms. Oleson will also be meeting with members of the community to hear your voices. We will need your help and value your input and support as we embark on this process. We will communicate with you on the status of the search throughout the process, with regular updates on a new search committee page of the Park Century School website.

For now, we are looking forward to a final and “Fuller” year with Judith. It will be a time of celebration of the gifts she has given to all of our children, as we continue to welcome back our students, faculty, and staff to campus. Here’s to the 2021-2022 school year being filled with celebration, student success, and excitement about the endless possibilities that new leadership can bring!

Warm regards,
Hilary Garland Board President Isla Garraway Board Vice President





Get in Touch

If you have questions for the Search Committee, please feel free to send them to the confidential e-mailbox for the Search Committee at:

 

searchcommittee@parkcenturyschool.org

Head of School Search Committee 2021

Search Committee Co-Chairs

Bess Armstrong Fiedler (P ’06, Trustee)

Helen Newton Hartung (P ’05, Trustee)

PCS Teachers

Erin Gonzalez

Christine Lennon

PCS Parents

Dan Bucatinsky (P ’19, P ‘22)

Heather Primus (P ’21, P ’27)

Trustees

Jennie Maguire Burkart (Class of ‘92, Former Teacher)

Leslie Goodman (P ‘20)

Jason Keller (P '21)

Phyllis G. Thomas

Sally Weil

 
Search Consultant
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Doreen S. Oleson

Search Consultant

Doreen Oleson served Saint Mark’s School, an Episcopal Parish Day School in Altadena, CA as head of school for twenty-five years and retired in June, 2015.

Prior to her appointment in 1990, she was Assistant Vice-President at Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA and also taught in the public schools in Hawaii and California. She is married to Don Oleson, retired missile defense engineer, and is “Mom” to two boys and two girls (all grown up now) and is “Tutu-Granny” to seven grandchildren, ages 1 through 18. 


She served as the president of the governing board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, was trustee of the National Association of Independent Schools, was president of the California Association of Independent Schools’ board of directors, served on the National Commission on Accreditation, was chair of the Commission on Schools for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and was a field instructor at the Klingenstein Center, Teachers College. Dr. Oleson currently coaches aspiring school leaders, and belongs to organizations and boards which support education and community service learning.

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Position Statement for Head of School
 
 

Frequently asked questions

How will the new Head of School be chosen to replace Judith Fuller when she retires next year?


The Park Century School Board of Trustees has launched a search for the next Head of School with the help of search consultant Doreen Oleson, who is accepting applications from a highly competitive internal and external pool of candidates.

A Search Committee has been formed, led by long-time Trustees and former PCS parents Bess Fiedler and Helen Hartung and comprising Board members, parents, teachers and alumna.




How were the Co-Chairs chosen to lead the Search Committee?


The President of the Board of Trustees, Hilary Garland, and Vice President Isla Garraway, appointed a small subcommittee of Trustees to gather information and resources to identify the appropriate approach to the search for a new Head of School in light of the school’s finances, culture and unique student population. The group’s first task was to identify a search firm and choose the leaders of the Search Committee.

The subcommittee chose Bess Fiedler and Helen Hartung to spearhead the search effort because of their experience with previous searches, their deep personal commitment to Park Century School’s mission, their knowledge of the school’s unique culture, and their understanding of all the elements required to help our “uncommonly bright” students achieve their full potential.




What is the role of the Board of Trustees in the search process?


The Board of Trustees is following the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Principles of Good Practice as they embark upon the task of selecting a new school head.

In addition, the bylaws of Park Century School give the Board the responsibility for selecting hiring and evaluating the Head of School. The Board established a Search Committee co-chaired by two Trustees and comprised of trustees, faculty, parents and alumni to manage the overall search process and recommend a final candidate to the Board.

The Search Committee works closely with the search consultant, Doreen Oleson, from the highly respected search firm RG175, to ensure that everyone in the community has a voice in the selection process. All members of our community provide their input to the search consultant to shape the development of the Position Description.

Ultimately, the final selection of the Head of School rests with the Board of Trustees, who vote to approve the appointment of the final candidate.




What is the role of the Search Committee?


The Search Committee is charged with the responsibility of leading a thorough, thoughtful and transparent process to review and assess applications from a prospective pool of both internal and external candidates.

The Search Committee’s job is to:

  • Provide feedback on and give final approval of the Position Description.
  • Manage logistics of the search consultant and candidate visits;
  • Review application materials of candidates presented by the search consultant;
  • Plan, organize and conduct the initial meetings with candidates;
  • Assist in conducting the due diligence process regarding the candidates;
  • Gather feedback from the community on the shortlist of candidates;
  • Make a unanimous recommendation to the Board of Trustees for their vote on the next Head of School.




Who are the members of the Search Committee?


Search Committee Co-Chairs:

Bess Armstrong Fiedler (P ’06, Trustee)

Helen Newton Hartung (P ’05, Trustee)

PCS Teachers

Erin Gonzalez

Christine Lennon

PCS Parents

Dan Bucatinsky (P ’19, P ‘22)

Heather Primus (P ’21, P ’27)

Trustees

Jennie Maguire Burkart (Class of ‘92, Former Teacher)

Leslie Goodman (P ‘20)

Jason Keller (P ’21)

Phyllis G. Thomas

Sally Weil




What are the criteria for selecting members of the Search Committee?


The Committee members were selected to represent a broad cross-section of the Park Century School community, based on their skills, knowledge and professional experience. Specific criteria included a commitment to Park Century’s mission, a diversity of perspectives and opinions and a willingness to commit a significant amount of time to the process.




What is the search timeline?


Applications are currently being accepted with a submission deadline of July 16th, 2021. The goal of the search is to identify a robust pool of highly qualified internal and external candidates by the end of the summer. The Search Committee’s job will be to screen, interview and recommend final candidates to visit the school in the Fall.

The Board hopes to make a final selection of the new Head of School by the beginning of 2022 to ensure a smooth transition before Judith Fuller retires at the end of the academic year in June 2022.




How can members of the Park Century Community participate in the search process?


The entire community, including parents, students, faculty, staff and trustees, were invited to provide their input about the qualities and competencies they believe are important for the new Head of School. Consultant Doreen Oleson received feedback from more than 120 participants though group and individual interviews and surveys. This input informed the preparation of the Position Statement.

In the Fall, the School community will also have the opportunity to meet each final candidate individually when they come to the campus for a two-day visit.





Get in Touch

If you have questions for the Search Committee, please feel free to send them to the confidential e-mailbox for the Search Committee at:

 

searchcommittee@parkcenturyschool.org