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 11-12
Finalist 2 Visit March 15-16
Search Committee Review March 18
Board Meeting & Vote March 19
Spring Break  March 22-April 2
Announcement of new Head of School or search for an Interim Head of School April 6 (revised date)

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


List of 15 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: What is Laguna Blanca’s process for hiring a new head of school? Who makes this decision?

    Laguna Blanca School is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). As such and per NAIS best practices, the role of the Board of Trustees is to uphold the mission and fiduciary wellbeing of an independent school, which includes hiring and managing the head of school. Following NAIS best practices, the Board of Trustees of Laguna Blanca School created a Search Committee comprised of trustees and engaged a nationally recognized firm – Educators’ Collaborative – to lead us in our search for our next head of school.
  • Q: How was the Search Committee created? Who was on that committee?

    Following NAIS best practices, a small committee of trustees – the Search Committee – was formed to hire and work closely with the search consultants to make sure that Laguna Blanca’s finances, culture, and needs were carefully considered.
  • Q: How did the Search Committee choose this firm?

    After interviewing four firms, the Search Committee retained Educators’ Collaborative due to their customized approach to the search. Specifically, we engaged Marcus Hurlbut and Evan Peterson to be our partners in running a transparent and collaborative process, which also included significant input from the entire Laguna Blanca community.
  • Q: What is the Advisory Committee and who was on that?

    The Search Committee of the Board of Trustees was committed to running a collaborative search process; thus, the committee formed an Advisory Committee which included representatives from the Laguna Blanca community – faculty, parents, alumni parents, and supporters of our school. The Advisory Committee was instrumental in contributing additional due diligence and thought leadership to the search process.
  • Q: How did you make sure the process was transparent and collaborative?

    At the outset of the search process, the Search Committee created a dedicated HOS Search webpage so community members could follow the search process in detail. In addition, a number of community virtual events were held to offer the opportunity to ask questions and share feedback with the committee as well as the search firm regarding the search process. Additionally, each member of our community was invited to complete an anonymous survey sent directly to our consultants to gather important information for the purpose of constructing the community’s ideal leadership profile for our next head of school. We also encouraged community members to contact the Search Committee or our consultants directly with any insights or specific questions. For specific details regarding the number of virtual meetings and town halls, number of survey responses, and other activities, please see the HOS Search webpage.
  • Q: How did you ensure that the process was thorough, comprehensive, and not rushed?

    Our national search process began in October 2020 and comprised a total of six months, an average length of time for this type of search.

    As we noted on the HOS Search webpage, we laid out a plan and timeline for executing our search. Using data collected from all stakeholders, Educators’ Collaborative selected twenty strong candidates from over fifty applications for the Search Committee to review. (Fifty candidates is a large number of applicants for any HOS search.) The Search Committee then selected eight semi-finalists to be interviewed by the Search Committee, and from this pool, the committee then chose three final candidates to be invited to meet with faculty, staff, students, the Advisory Committee, and trustees. Due to personal reasons, one of those three candidates removed himself from the pool on the Saturday before his Monday visit. 

    After the two remaining finalists visited Laguna Blanca and spent time with faculty, staff, parents, students, alumni, and the Search and Advisory Committees, the Search Committee selected Ron Cino to be our next Head of School.
  • Q: Why didn’t the Search Committee hire an interim head of school as was originally communicated?

    Although we initially engaged Educators’ Collaborative to find an interim head, we were advised by the search firm to consider a permanent head because of the exceptional and robust pool of candidates that presented their applications to become our next head of school. The Search Committee and the Board of Trustees heard loud and clear from the community that after all of the challenges of the fires, mudslide, pandemic, and talks of a merger, stability for Laguna Blanca is critical at this time; an interim risked keeping Laguna in a state of limbo and unease. Knowing we had so many qualified applicants, we decided that an interim was not the right answer for Laguna Blanca.
  • Q: Will there be a change in the Laguna Blanca’s mission? What does this change in leadership mean for our school?

    Laguna Blanca's Board of Trustees is fully committed to upholding the mission of the school and continually works to align the school's priorities, including hiring any new head of school, with our mission. This goal remained a primary focus as the Search Committee sought a head of school candidate who will best serve our students and their families. With input from our entire community, the Search Committee selected Head-Elect, Ron Cino. Ron is not only aligned with our core mission and values of scholarship, character, balance, and community, he is committed to and capable of addressing our needs while maintaining Laguna’s strong academics and programs (athletic and fine and performing arts) as well as our important traditions.
  • Q: When will this change in leadership occur?

    The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce that Ron Cino will be Head of School (HOS) beginning July 1, 2021. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Ron and his family.
  • 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.