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Dear Members of the Lake Forest Academy Community,

Over the course of the last ten days since the announcement of Head of School José M. De Jesús' P’22 planned departure this summer, the Head of School Transition Committee has been hard at work to develop and implement a strategic transition and search plan for the Academy’s next Head of School. The Board of Trustees met this week and approved the Committee’s transition and search plan. Today, I want to share a summary of that plan with you.

As I wrote in my letter to the LFA community last week, the Academy is extremely well-positioned and has reached new heights in terms of our strategic goals. Much of that success is in large part due to the Academy’s extraordinary faculty and staff.

The Head of School Transition Committee is dedicated to an open and thoughtful search process in alignment with the National Association of Independent Schools' (NAIS) “Principles of Good Practice for Head of School Searches.” Additionally, the Committee will seek guidance from an external executive search firm to affirm best practices.

During this transitional period, the Board of Trustees is thankful for the leadership of the Deans Council and other school leaders. The Academy’s work, in both day-to-day operations and strategic priorities, will continue without interruption during the Head of School search process.

To help with the transition process, the Board of Trustees has asked Associate Head of School and Dean of Students Chris Tennyson to assume some of the Head of School responsibilities. José M. De Jesús P’22 will remain Head of School until his departure this summer, but having Chris, a longtime LFA community member, assume some of the Head of School responsibilities will help with the continued implementation of the Academy’s strategic priorities.

The Board of Trustees views the Academy’s talented and dedicated faculty and staff as one of its greatest attributes. Additionally, the Board feels there are many potential candidates for the next Head of School position currently on the Academy’s faculty and staff. The Head of School Transition Committee has recommended and the Board has approved to begin the search for LFA's next Head of School internally.

The Committee encourages members of the LFA faculty and staff to review the Head of School opportunity statement when completed to learn more. The Academy will launch a dedicated webpage next week for the search process and an e-mail account for members of the LFA community to share their thoughts on the Head of School transition and search. The Committee understands the importance of including all the Academy’s constituencies in the search process—alumni, alumni parents, Board of Trustees, faculty, Life Trustees, parents, staff, and students. 

Additionally, LFA will host stakeholder conversations later this month and in December to encourage open discussion about the Head of School search. Information regarding the community stakeholder meetings will be announced the week of November 29. The Committee encourages community input. If you have recommendations for the Committee, please email

The Committee’s and the Board of Trustees’ intention is to explore all internal candidacies. However, should no internal candidate fit the Board’s criteria for the Head of School position, the Committee is prepared to consult with an external executive search firm and the School will conduct an international search for LFA’s next Head of School.

The Head of School search will be a transparent and equitable process. The Committee will be in frequent communication with the LFA community on action steps and updates to ensure the community is fully involved and informed with the search process.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank the Committee for their assiduous and thorough work to develop this thoughtful and comprehensive search plan.


John S. Marlatt signature

John S. Marlatt ’65
Chair, Board of Trustees