Head of School Search

In November 2020, Laguna Blanca announced that it would be conducting a comprehensive search for its next Head of School given Rob Hereford’s announced departure. Since then, the Laguna Blanca School Board of Trustees has appointed a Head of School Search Committee. This group has interviewed four experienced Educational Search Firms and after carefully consideration and reference checking, have hired Educators’ Collaborative to work with us and manage the search process.

Input from all members of our community will assist us in identifying the critical skills, experience and vision necessary to ensure the continued success and future growth of Laguna Blanca. Our next leader will be charged with helping us realize our fundraising, strategic and master plan goals. This is an opportunity to attract a Head of School who will continue to enhance and improve upon a Laguna Blanca education while upholding our core values.

This page will be updated as the search progresses. Please check back regularly throughout the next few months. 



Deadline for candidate applications February 26
Candidate dossier review period February 20-28 
Dossier review meeting March 1
Semifinalist interviews March 4-5
Finalist 1 Visit  March 8-9
Finalist 2 Visit March 11-12
Finalist 3 Visit March 15-16
Search Committee Review March 18
Board Meeting & Vote March 19
Announcement of new Head of School or search for an Interim Head of School March 22

Dates may change due to scheduling issues. Please watch this space.


List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: How can I be involved in the search process?

    Community input is critical to defining the leadership qualities and characteristics desired in our new Head of School. We have hosted four town hall meetings with faculty and staff to gather their input. A survey was conducted from January 25–29 to collect input from parents, students, and the greater community. Please do not hesitate to email our Educators’ Collaborative consultants, Evan Peterson at edp2851@gmail.com or Marcus Hurlbut at marcusdawsonhurlbut@gmail.com, if you would like to contribute your insights regarding the next Head of School.

    There will be additional opportunity for community involvement when the finalists are brought to Laguna, pandemic permitting. More information will be sent as we get closer to the finalists’ visits. More ways you can help include: 

    • If you happen to know someone who you believe is a strong candidate for Head of School, please contact the search committee co-chairs Billie Fitzpatrick mbilliefitzpatrick@gmail.com and Ellen McDermott Charney ellen_m_mcdermott@hotmail.com, and the information will be shared with Educators’ Collaborative.
    • Our goal is to conduct this search in an inclusive and transparent manner. If you have any concerns or questions about the process, please contact the co-chairs, we want everybody on board.
    • Please read communications regarding the search and check back to this web page for updates!
  • Q: Who is Educators' Collaborative?

    Educators’ Collaborative (EC) is the oldest firm in the independent school search business. Since our founding in 1971, we have conducted hundreds of head of school searches. The firm consists of twelve partners, all of whom have served on average, twenty years as Heads of School. Marcus Hurlbut and Evan Peterson bring over 55 years of combined experience as Head of School. Marcus has been a head of school in New Hampshire, New York, and California. He served on the Board of California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). He has completed over 40 searches for head of school. Evan has been a head of school in Virginia and Texas. He has served on the ISAS executive committee and has chaired five school evaluation committees. Evan has done over 17 searches since joining Educators Collaborative in 2015. Marcus and Evan have reached out to over 1300 potential candidates and have received over 40 inquiries thus far. Their job is to help the Laguna Blanca School Search Committee locate an outstanding candidate who has the passion to lead and the commitment to excellence.
  • Q: What is the timeline for the search?

    Educators’ Collaborative has placed advertisements in the relevant e-publications and are soliciting candidates. The search committee and our consultants will be screening candidates throughout the rest of this winter and early spring. We expect to host finalists on our campus, pandemic permitting, this spring. Our goal is to announce our new Head of School late spring. Our new Head of School will join us on July 1, 2021.

    If we have not identified strong candidates by mid-March, we will instruct Educators’ Collaborative to solicit interim HoS candidates. We will bring the finalist interim candidates to campus, pandemic permitting, this spring. If we have an Interim Head of School, they will be announced in June and join us on July 1, 2021.
  • Q: What is the role of the Search Committee in the search?

    The Search Committee selects the search firm, engages with the Laguna community to help define the leadership qualities and experience desired for our next Head of School, and manages the search process. The Search Committee will review candidate files, interview the most promising candidates, and identify three or four finalists who will visit Laguna. Working with the Advisory Committee and considering input from the Laguna community who meet with the finalists, as well as conducting reference and background checks, the Search Committee will recommend one candidate for appointment by the Board of Trustees.
  • Q: What is the role of the Advisory Committee in the search?

    The Advisory Committee will spend time with the finalists while they are visiting Laguna. They will interview and get to know the candidates and then provide valuable feedback to the Search Committee.
  • Q: How is the Board of Trustees involved in the search?

    The Board is responsible for approving the Search Committee’s recommendation for the next Head of School. The Board will formally vote to tender an offer to the selected candidate. Upon acceptance of the offer, the Board will announce our new Head of School.


Billie Fitzpatrick
Search Committee Co-Chair
Laguna Blanca Board Co-Chair

Ellen McDermott Charney
Search Committee Co-Chair
Board Member

Tom Tolles
Laguna Blanca Board Chair

Bob Fuladi
Board Member

Tiffany Pelletier
Board Member

Please contact Billie Fitzpatrick or Ellen McDermott Charney with any questions about the Head of School search.


Sue and Ed Birch - Alumni Parents
Duncan Briggs - Faculty 
Paul Chiment - Faculty
Erik Faust - Faculty
Michelle Finck - Faculty
Randy Fox - Alumni Parent
Brooke Green - Faculty
Anne Hall - Community Supporter
Tammy Hughes - Alumni Parent 
Alex Koper - Parent
Grant MacNaughton - Faculty
Alixe Mattingly - Alumni Parent 
Zack Moore - Faculty
Steve Ortiz - Parent
Julia Rogers - Parent
Al Silva - Faculty
Chris Terrill - Parent
Lisa Vance - Faculty
Jane Weaver - Parent
Andra Wilson - Faculty
Laguna Blanca is Santa Barbara’s premier private, co-educational, college preparatory day school for students in Early Kindergarten through Grade 12.