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Searching for a new Head of School?

You can trust us to get it right.

We operate in a landscape where many search firms tout the sheer quantity of Head of School searches they conduct. Instead, we prioritize the profound impact of each placement on the school, its students, faculty, and broader community. Our ethos is centered on the belief that a successful search isn't just about filling a vacancy; it's about catalyzing meaningful transformation that propels independent schools forward.

We understand that the Head of School isn't merely a role to be filled but a visionary leader entrusted with shaping the future. That's why our focus is on finding the perfect fit—not just any fit. Our meticulous approach ensures that every candidate we present is not only qualified on paper but possesses the character, vision, and passion to thrive in the unique ecosystem of your institution.

Our track record speaks volumes, not in the quantity of searches performed, but in the enduring impact of our placements. Our industry-leading retention rate is a testament to the care and precision with which we approach each search. But perhaps more compelling are the voices of our satisfied clients—Trustees and Search Committee members who have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of our placements.

When you choose TFSG, you're not just hiring a search firm; you're partnering with a team of dedicated professionals who are deeply invested in the long-term success of your institution. Our track record speaks for itself, and our satisfied clients—Trustees and Search Committee members alike—serve as living testimonials to the caliber of our work. Our holistic approach, personalized attention, and unwavering commitment to quality and “fit” set us apart from larger firms fixated on volume.


Check out our Success Stories. Learn how we're different. Then let's have a conversation.

Contact Bo Dixon

(410) 983-1217

Looking for Advice Now? 

We partner with over 100 schools across the U.S.

How The Finney Search Group is Different

Our Total Team Approach

In the realm of Head of School searches, the journey towards finding the perfect match for our client schools is not merely a task, but a profound commitment to excellence. At The Finney Search Group, we distinguish ourselves through our unwavering dedication to our Total Team Approach -- an approach that sets us apart from the rest and ensures unparalleled success in every endeavor we undertake.

What makes our approach truly exceptional is our steadfast commitment to deploying our entire partner team, without compromise, to each and every Head of School search we undertake. Unlike other search firms that may delegate crucial aspects of the search process to junior staff members or rely on an extensive network of former Heads of School turned consultants, we steadfastly believe in the power of expertise and experience at every level.

At the heart of our Total Team Approach lies the belief that collaboration breeds success. When you partner with The Finney Search Group, you gain access not to just one or two individuals, but to the collective acumen of all six of our partners, united in their dedication to helping your institution thrive.

In conclusion, our Total Team Approach isn't just a differentiator – it's a game-changer. It's a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence, our steadfast belief in the power of collaboration, and our relentless pursuit of the perfect fit for your school's leadership needs. Trust in us, and together, we will unlock a future filled with endless possibilities for your school.

Industry-Leading Retention Rates

Our retention rate for Head of School searches is 100% and 95% for all other positions. We have placed hundreds of candidates since our inception and consider these rates Best-in-Class. We define Retention Rate as remaining at the School where placed, for at least 5 years. These retention rates reflect our unwavering dedication to excellence, unparalleled understanding of client needs and fit, and commitment to shaping the future of education through transformative leadership placements.

Databases vs. Networks

In the world of educational leadership recruitment, the allure of expansive databases can be captivating, but our 13 years at The Finney Search Group have taught us a vital lesson: success hinges not on database size alone, but on the depth and caliber of our cultivated network. We've seen firsthand the impact of a finely curated network, emphasizing quality connections over sheer volume. Our approach prioritizes precision, targeting authentic, transformative leaders who resonate with your school's ethos and vision.

At the core of our approach are our network "1%-ers" – transformative individuals deeply embedded in their school communities. These leaders, crucial to educational excellence, are not easily found through mass outreach. Instead, we meticulously engage with our network to target these exceptional individuals, ensuring that each candidate presented not only possesses the requisite skills and experience but also aligns culturally and shares the visionary mindset necessary to propel your institution forward.

Joseph Viola

Chief Operating Officer of Crescent Capital 

Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Verbum Dei High School, Los Angeles, CA

“We could not have been more pleased in hiring The Finney Search Group to source a new president for a Jesuit high school. The entire team was highly engaged, very professional, brought strong candidates for the committee to consider, and provided valuable counsel to the search committee. If the need arises, we would hire them again.”

Our Process

We Work Together to Build Out a Custom Timeline

 A typical Head of School Search might last 12 – 18 months from announcement of the search to the selection of the new Head of School. However, The Finney Search Group has developed a successful accelerated process whereby the process is condensed to 6 – 8 months. In all cases, we work together with the Search Committee to build a custom timeline that takes each school's unique situation into account. For more information on how we’ve accomplished this in several of our most recent Head of School searches, please contact Sherm Bristow.


We Listen

We work closely with the Trustees and Search Committee to clearly understand the skills and character traits required of the position, and how the school's culture will influence the process. The importance of this listening step cannot be over-emphasized. Led by Sherm Bristow and Bo Dixon, our team carefully listens to your requirements, while also providing support and guidance as an objective third party evaluator.

Job Prospectus

A thorough and comprehensive job prospectus is developed that presents the job opportunity, describes the school and its core values and culture, and outlines the job qualifications sought in the new leader.

Search Process Legwork

The Finney Search Group relieves you of all the preliminary legwork and discovery. We collect and review all resumes, including those submitted directly to Board members. We handle all candidate correspondence, phone calls, and interviews, leaving the Board free to focus on other critical issues and objectives. Depending on the specific preferences of the Board and search committee, we provide you with the desired distance from the process.

We Communicate Effectively and Efficiently

We don't inundate you with dozens of potential candidates and resumes. Privately, if requested, we can work as closely as you wish to pare the list of potential candidates. We provide periodic updates to your designees as the process unfolds and meet with any constituency to provide updates during the process. 

We Submit the Finalists

The Finney Search Group delivers to you an agreed-upon number of semi-finalists, at which point the Board and/or Search Committee takes over the final step of the process, culminating in the hire.

Our Placement History




Placement History

Teachers, Administrators, Coaches

Athletic Directors

Heads of School/
Division Heads of School

“The St. James Academy Head Search Committee could not have been more pleased by the services provided by The Finney Search Group.  They were responsive to our needs and our timeline. They listened to our community and helped us find the best candidates for our school. At no point did we feel like we were involved in a cookie-cutter process or were being sent the "next man/woman up." At each juncture of the process, from developing the job description, community meetings, vetting the candidates, conducting the interviews, narrowing our selection, and finalizing our choice, our confidence in Sherm, Bo and Chris grew and our trust was rewarded.”

The Search Committee for Head of School 


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