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Newly Named Head of School Announcement

Dear CHS Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, it is my great pleasure to announce that Tamara Schurdak, Upper School Head at The Town School in New York City, has been unanimously appointed by the Trustees to succeed Dr. Steven Tobolsky as Head of The Chestnut Hill School, effective July 1, 2017. 

We are excited about the talent, the energy and the vision that Ms. Schurdak brings to Chestnut Hill. Her warmth and intelligence were evident to everyone who met her during the search, and her leadership experience has prepared her exceptionally well for the responsibilities of a head of school. 

Ms. Schurdak has seventeen years of experience as an independent school educator. Prior to joining The Town School in 2012, she served as the middle school principal at Bullis School, as a history teacher, grade-level coordinator and department chair at Kingswood Oxford School, and as a Director of College Counseling at Bryn Mawr School.  A native of New York, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Yale University and a Master’s degree in education and policy from Stanford University. 

In accepting the position, Ms. Schurdak said, “It is an honor to join The Chestnut Hill School community. I was immediately drawn to CHS for its commitment to diversity, creativity, joyful and considered academic thought, and community. Warmth, curiosity, intellect and a deep belief in the importance of Beginner to Grade 6 education so clearly energizes and unites everyone in the school community. I am grateful for this opportunity and am excited to join you in Chestnut Hill next summer.”

Thanks to the dedication of everyone involved, The Chestnut Hill School is poised for an extremely bright future. I hope you will join me in the months ahead as we celebrate Dr. Tobolsky’s lasting contributions to the School and prepare a warm welcome for Ms. Schurdak in July. 


Susan McSwain
President, Board of Trustees



December 5, 2016 We are excited to announce that Tamara Schurdak, Upper School Head at The Town School in New York City, has been unanimously appointed by the Board of Trustees to succeed Dr. Steven Tobolsky as Head of The Chestnut Hill School, effective July 1, 2017. For more information, please click here.  Please visit this webpage for all updates and information related to the Head of School search. We welcome any questions or comments.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the target timeline for the search?
Late Summer Search Committee and RG175 engage with Trustees, administration and faculty to prioritize the requirements for the next Head of School.
Early Fall Community survey is conducted and RG175 holds office hours on campus to collect input.  Search Committee is available to address questions and concerns, ensure understanding of a broad range of views on leadership priorities, and keep the community updated on our progress.
Late Fall Candidate recruiting and screening is underway.  Interviews are conducted with semi-finalists and finalists.  Community Advisory Committees will meet finalist candidates during on-campus visits.
Early Winter Search Committee recommends final candidate to the Board of Trustees.  Following Board vote on the successful candidate, new Head of School is announced.
Summer New Head of School takes office.


Which Search Firm has been retained to assist with the Search?

The Search Committee has selected Resource Group 175 (RG175) to assist with the Head of School search process.  Resource Group 175 is a multifaceted and experienced team of former Heads of School that has established a respected track record of leadership in the United States and Europe.  

The Search Committee will specifically be working with Clay Stites, RG175’s current president, whose background delivers a broad perspective that has helped him complete over 100 successful head searches. He has done extensive work with elementary schools, as well as searches, retreats, and long-range planning for PK-12 and boarding schools. Clay is particularly well-known for his keen sense of school culture, for his intimate knowledge of candidates, and for his work with Boards.  He taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, and is the former Chair of the NAIS Elementary and Middle Schools Committee. Clay was Head of School at Friends Academy (MA) and the Curtis School (CA), for 15 and 5 years respectively, and has served as a Board member of four independent schools and currently serves on the BB&N Board.


How will the transition to a new Head of School impact my child’s time at CHS?

Your child’s time at CHS will not be impacted by the transition to a new Head of School.  Efforts are already underway to ensure a smooth transition in July 2017.  The Board of Trustees, Dr. Tobolsky and Ms. Schurdak are all committed to ensuring that each child continues to have a fulfilling experience during the 2016-17 school year and beyond.

Will the Head of School transition impact secondary school placement?

No.  Dr. Tobolsky is committed to ensuring that secondary school placement continues at the highest possible level.  The secondary school placement team established in Spring 2016 will be involved throughout the year to ensure a smooth transition.  In addition, Ms. Schurdak brings to CHS years of success in secondary school placement from her previous position and has prioritized forging connections with local schools upon her arrival in July.


Will the school’s mission change with the arrival of a new Head of School?

No.  The school’s mission has been thoughtfully developed and has continued to evolve as the community has grown.  An important criteria in selecting Ms. Schurdak, as the next Head of School, is her commitment to support and enhance our mission.


What can I expect during the transition?

In parallel to the Search Committee process, the Board of Trustees has established a Transition Team to ensure that we experience a smooth transition between Heads of School and fully support Ms. Schurdak during her first year at CHS.  The Transition Team co-chairs, Deb Sullivan and Dean Kolbas, have already begun planning this work.  Our search firm, RG175, is also a key partner in ensuring a smooth transition and will make sure that all key steps are completed.  In addition, RG175 will provide support to Ms. Schurdak throughout her first year in the new role.

Dr. Tobolsky will continue to make all important decisions through the end of June 2017.  We look forward to planning events to celebrate his achievements and legacy in the coming year.  We do not expect Ms. Schurdak’s involvement in the Spring, although there will be opportunities for everyone in the community to meet her. Ms. Schurdak will begin her official role as Head of School in July 2017.