Dear Park Children’s Day School Community:
Today, we come to you with some important news to share regarding the future of our cherished school and its beloved leadership.
Betsy Newell, our treasured and steadfast steward of the school, will retire as Director at the end of the 2024-2025 academic year. This decision follows much heartfelt discussion and contemplation between Betsy and the school’s Board of Trustees. Through 22 years of dedication and passion, Betsy’s instrumental role in shaping the nursery school we know and love today cannot be overemphasized. From overcoming challenges like the unexpected move to the West Side in 2013 to steering us through the trials of the pandemic with grace, her resolute leadership has propelled Park Children’s Day School to new heights with strong enrollment, continuous successful school placements, and financial stability. Betsy’s unwavering enthusiasm and commitment to the entire PCDS (and former PACCDS) community – including our students, parents, alumni, faculty, and administrators – leave an indelible mark that will be valued for years to come.
The Board takes to heart the challenges and responsibility in finding a Director to start July 2025, and the associated trust that the PCDS community places in the Board to do that. To that end, the Board curated an inclusive and diverse Search Committee, consisting of representatives from parents, faculty, the administration, alumni parents, and trustees. Chaired by Kristen Mleczko, a trustee and current parent at our school, the committee also includes the following members:
- Martha Driscoll, Parents Association Treasurer and current parent
- Asim Grabowski-Shaikh, Trustee and alumni parent
- Patti Horstmann, Director of Admissions
- Munira Musadek, Trustee and current parent
- Assaad Nasr, Trustee and alumni parent
- Jackie Vasconez, Faculty member
The Search Committee will manage the search process on behalf of the Board and will regularly update the Board throughout the process. It will serve as the principal liaison between the Board, the school and the search consultants and messengers to the candidate pool, conveying PCDS’s values, mission and strategy. It will also evaluate and curate the candidate pool, interviewing and culling the pool into semi-finalists and finalists. At the end of the process, the committee will make a recommendation to the Board, who will, in turn, make the final selection of the next Director.
To guide the Search Committee, the Board enlisted the expertise of Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A), a renowned executive search consulting firm specializing in independent schools. Their experience and commitment align perfectly with our needs to conduct a thorough, thoughtful, and inclusive search process to identify the best candidates for the Director position.
As valued members of our PCDS community, your input and involvement matter deeply to us. There will be opportunities for you to engage in the search process and provide your valuable insights. Allison Stiles and Seliat Dairo from CS&A will be visiting our school this fall to meet with as many community members as possible. Additionally, an online survey will be sent to the PCDS community, and a dedicated email address for communications related to the search will be active throughout the search process. Please keep an eye out for information on community forums where you can share your thoughts with the search consultants.
We want to extend our sincere gratitude in advance for your participation and support in this crucial endeavor. To facilitate ongoing communication, we will keep you updated regularly throughout the process. If you wish to reach out to the Search Committee, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, we want to assure you that over the next two years there will be ample opportunities to celebrate and honor Betsy’s incredible contributions to our school. As we embark on this journey to find our next Director, we are committed to undertaking a comprehensive and thoughtful process to find a leader who will not only uphold our play-based educational philosophy and warm community, but also guide PCDS towards an even brighter future.
Together, as a united community, we will continue to thrive and nurture the next generation of young minds, ensuring that the spirit of PCDS remains steadfast.
With warm regards and gratitude,
Chair, Park Children’s Day School Board of Trustees
Chair, Search Committee