The Finney Search Group was originally founded to provide great independent schools teacher-coach candidates who inspire young people in all phases of life in 2012. While we remain committed to our original mission, our growth has positioned us to support candidates beyond this model. Our common denominator remains our desire to discover authentic individuals who inspire students and colleagues in school communities.
After placing many special teacher-coaches of high character, school Heads and Trustees began to ask us to provide quality candidates for leadership positions within their school communities. Accordingly, it has been our pleasure to be engaged in a number of Searches to help schools find candidates for administrative roles and Heads of Schools. We continue to believe and stay with our origin mission, to place great leaders in independent school who inspire students and colleagues in school communities.
Redmond Finney inspires both the name and the spirit of this endeavor. His approach, his skill and his passion have touched our lives and driven us to cultivate other teacher-coaches in his likeness for the good of students and schools everywhere.
Reddy Finney was a Gilman School graduate and three-sport athlete at
Princeton who ultimately served as Gilman Headmaster for 23 years. He garnered widespread affection with trademark quirks like his killer handshake, spontaneous headstands, penchant for picking up litter, and uncanny ability to be everywhere,
to know everyone, and quite simply never cease connecting with people.
His legacy derives equally from his progressive leadership in integrating aspects
of the traditional all-boys education with two all-girls partner schools. He also established the notion of diversity (of background and of thinking) as critical to Gilman’s mission well before other schools did likewise.
Indeed, Reddy’s individual relationships formed over the course of decades allowed him to alter the direction of the School. We will discover and place into schools young people who are prepared to mold students into people of character, just as Mr. Finney did during his iconic career.
Redmond Finney passed away in the fall 0f 2019. Below are comments by each founding partner about Reddy Finney. Below are small vignettes written by each founder.
Quite simply Mr. Finney has no equals. I love what he said about personal standards. “What do I expect? Honorable behavior and a trusting climate. If somebody violates that trust, use it as a teaching moment without overly castigating the violator.” Simple, basic, yet brilliant – because he lived this creed every minute.
- Bo Dixon
From where did this trust come? How did he create this bond? He started with a relationship. He made everyone feel he cared deeply about them and their stories, because he did. He asked, he probed, he listened. He didn’t tell; he might “suggest,” but then ultimately you made the decision. Legendarily he greeted each Upper Schooler with a firm handshake as they entered the school each day, and not only did he know the name of the student, he would comment on something that would show he knew their story and cared to hear an answer.
- Sherm Bristow
As I reflect on his years as a head of school what comes to mind? I think the overwhelming theme would be: be who you are, stick to your core values, listen, be cunning it changing minds.