About the School

Founded in 1784 by Sarah Derby as one of the earliest coeducational schools in the country and the oldest co-educational independent school in New England, Derby continues to focus on the ideas of community, generosity, and the vision of providing children with the best education available.

The vision of Sarah Derby has impacted countless generations of families. Now in its third century of leadership, Derby remains true to its motto: “Improve Both Mind and Heart.” Dedicated faculty, innovative curriculum, and an array of community and leadership opportunities continue to ensure children are supported in their academic and social development, enabling students to become lifelong learners and successful members of their community.

About the Position

The following have been identified as the key strengths of the Derby Academy, the challenges the school faces in the next 3-5 years and the qualities the Board of Trustees is looking for in the next Head of School:

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  • Universal commitment to the mission of the School – “Improve Both Mind and Heart”
  • Long and proud history underscored by an initial purpose that was far ahead of its time and enduring traditions that have shaped the Derby experience
  • Small, close-knit and safe community for employees, students, and families where students are known, cared for, and encouraged to take risks
  • Exceptional location in an area with a long and proud history
  • Talented, dedicated faculty
  • Close and meaningful student-faculty relations
  • Small class sizes
  • Caring, nurturing environment with a respect for and appreciation of student differences
  • Commitment to the whole child through strong academics, arts, and athletics
  • Dedicated parents and a pervasive willingness to pitch in


  • Defining and articulating the hallmarks and value of a Derby education in an area that affords excellent public school alternatives
  • Continuing to build a “one school” feel within the community
  • Developing an enrollment management plan that addresses marketing, recruitment, and retention of students
  • Right-sizing the School, taking into consideration demographic and market trends
  • Creating a model for long-term financial sustainability
  • Retaining outstanding faculty and replenishing them with first-rate replacements when they retire or depart
  • Further encouraging the professional development of faculty and building on the faculty evaluation system in place
  • Reinforcing the commitment to academic rigor and curricular differentiation
  • Restoring trust and stability at all levels of the School and among all stakeholders.


The next Head of Derby Academy will be an experienced, approachable, and strategic leader who will embrace the culture of the school and possess the passion and the skills to move the school forward. The next Head of Derby Academy will:

  • Have a love of and caring for young people
  • Have a demonstrated ability to effectively manage the multifaceted nature of the job
  • Be a people person who is equally comfortable with young people and adults and who builds unity and support through effective team and community building
  • Be a true servant leader who leads with vision, honesty, and integrity; is able to make difficult decisions with compassion and empathy and for whom there is no task too big nor none too small
  • Have an appreciation for the balance of history and tradition with a spirit of innovation and change
  • Have a deep understanding of independent schools and best practices in early childhood and elementary school education
  • Be an effective delegator who knows when and when not to delegate, understands the importance and nuances of transparency and actively seeks advice when faced with difficult decisions
  • Be a good judge of people with a history of successful hires
  • Be an effective verbal and written communicator who knows how to build consensus and possesses the skills to articulate a clear vision for Derby
  • Have a demonstrated ability to manage budgets, set priorities, and build a strong case for institutional philanthropy

How to Apply

Candidates interested in this position are asked to submit the materials listed below in one single Word document by July 1, 2020.

  • EC Candidate Summary Sheet
  • Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee
  • Resume
  • Statement of educational philosophy
  • A list of five or more references with contact information (including phone numbers and email addresses)
  • Up to three letters of reference (optional)

Please address any inquiries or expressions of interest to:

Marcus Hurlbut, Partner, Educators’ Collaborative, LLC

mhurlbut@educatorscollaborative.com (949-279-3084)


Deirdre Ling, Partner, Educators’ Collaborative, LLC

daling@comcast.net (508-696-7708)

Derby Academy is an equal opportunity employer.