Sharing The Position Description

Original publish date: March 8, 2024

Dear Mounds Park Academy Community,

The search committee is happy to report that the search for our next head of school is well underway. Our motto, “Dream Big. Do Right.” sends a strong message to the world about our priorities. Through the decades of its existence, MPA has come to be known as a school that values the whole child, has strong academics, and is a welcoming and inclusive community. Our next head of school will be joining a school that is well-positioned for the future.

As many of you are aware, our search consultants, Jennifer Wong Christensen and Bob Vitalo from Carney Sandoe & Associates, were on campus on February 22 and 23. During that time, they met in person or virtually with more than 70 community members, including faculty, staff, students, current and former parents, alumni, and trustees. Each participant was asked to explore the same three question threads:

  • What makes Mounds Park Academy special and distinct? What do you value? What should never change?
  • What is the work ahead for the next head of school? What is on the “to-do” list for the next two, four, and six years?
  • What are the personal qualities, skills, and experiences you want to see in the next head of school that will make that person successful at MPA?

The visit concluded with an orientation for the search committee and a workshop for the board of trustees in which Jennifer and Bob heard from each participant their thoughts on the three sets of questions that had been posed to the community.

Thank you to everyone who filled out the community survey. There were more than 100 responses. Your confidential feedback was thoughtful, inspiring, and reflective of the diverse perspectives that characterize the MPA community. The aggregated results of the survey, combined with the interviews, confirm several prevailing themes that will factor heavily into our search process:

  1. When asked what they value most about Mounds Park Academy, there is general agreement that all members appreciate the small classes and the close and caring relationships that exist between teachers and students. There is also very high regard for the exceptional faculty and the focus that is given to growing critical thinking skills and creativity.
  2. In all the meetings that were held, the recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty were seen as the most important priorities for the next head of school. There was also much discussion about maintaining academic excellence, having a vision for the school’s future curriculum needs, and connecting the PreK-12 experience.
  3. The school community will be looking for its next head of school to come with experience in an independent school and with a proven track record of nurturing and supporting the growth of excellent teachers and of being a responsible financial steward who is able to ensure the support and growth of MPA’s dynamic program and talented professional community.
  4. MPA wants its next leader to be visible, accessible, approachable, honest, and trustworthy. The community highly values leadership skills such as decisiveness and being a clear communicator in writing and in person.

The feedback we received from the survey and meetings has guided the creation of the head of school position description. This document serves as a primary tool in the recruitment process, offering potential candidates a glimpse into our school community and culture.

Our consultants have already begun engaging with prospective candidates, and more formal, confidential interviews with the search committee will begin later this spring. The community’s next engagement opportunity is tentatively scheduled for May, when finalists will be on campus for two-day interviews.

We feel confident that as we search for MPA’s next head of school, the varied voices within our greater community are being heard and that our consultants understand our core values. We will continue to update you as the process unfolds.

Sincerely,
Betsy Van Hecke
MPA Parent of Alumni
Chair, Search Committee

If you have any questions, please email headsearch@moundsparkacademy.org.


Launching The Search

Original publish date: February 16, 2024
If you have any questions, please email headsearch@moundsparkacademy.org. Betsy Van Hecke, search committee chair, Tiffany Scott Knox, board chair, and Natalie Waters Seum, director of admission and communication, will receive your email and respond promptly.

Greetings, MPA Community –

I am pleased to provide this initial update on the progress of launching a comprehensive national search for Mounds Park Academy’s fifth Head of School. To ensure that the community has opportunities to be informed, engaged, and provide feedback, I offer the following:

·       you are formally invited to a listening session as detailed below;
·       you are welcome to participate in the community survey linked below;
·       our head of school search website is live and can be found here;
·       our dedicated email address, headsearch@moundsparkacademy.org, has been established for

You to communicate with the search committee chair, communications director, and me to share your thoughts and provide feedback.

As I shared earlier this week, selecting our next head of school is one of our community’s most important decisions. It is more than just finding a leader to serve in that capacity; this is an opportunity for us to build upon Dr. Hudson’s legacy and collectively shape our community’s future.

We are committed to ensuring a thorough and diligent search process, and we look forward to your engagement in the exciting journey ahead.

Sincerely,
Tiffany Scott Knox
MPA Parent
Chair, Board of Trustees
headsearch@moundsparkacademy.org

Dear Mounds Park Academy Community,

It has been an emotional week for the Mounds Park Academy community. Dr. Hudson’s announcement that he will retire at the end of the 2024-25 school year has provoked an outpouring of gratitude for his extraordinary 11 years of leadership at MPA. I’ve also heard many express excitement as we think about the next step for the school, built upon the strong foundation Dr. Hudson helped advance. And, of course, it’s natural that we also feel a sense of loss mingled with our happiness for Dr. Hudson and his husband, Ross, as they begin to look ahead toward an active and fulfilling retirement.

As you know, the board of trustees has initiated the process to select the next head of school. I have the honor of serving as the head of the search committee, which is comprised of a broad section of Mounds Park Academy stakeholders, including school staff, alumni, parents, and trustees. The search committee and I are committed to an open and transparent process and ensuring that the next head of school is as passionate about the school’s mission and values as the MPA community.

A little bit about my background: I have been a trustee since 2020. I’m the parent of two proud Mounds Park Academy alums, Jack ’16 and Kate ‘18. I do not need to reiterate all the many reasons why the school is so wonderful—you already know that! But I will say how profoundly grateful I am that my family got to Mounds Park Academy. It provided an environment that allowed my kids to thrive academically and personally. I joined the board of trustees hoping to give back to an institution that gave my family so much. During my time as a trustee, I have been inspired and impressed by the trustees’ and administration’s dedication to the school.

Don’t miss the engagement opportunities detailed below. You will receive regular communications as the search progresses. For now, please know that we begin the search from a position of strength. The school’s reputation, academics, and culture are strong. This will allow us to attract a dynamic and committed leader who will continue to uphold our mission and values and guide young people with integrity, empathy, and purpose.

Sincerely,
Betsy Van Hecke
MPA Parent of Alumni
Chair, Search Committee
headsearch@moundsparkacademy.org


Engage With The Search

Two students working on science lab togetherMounds Park Academy and its board of trustees are committed to an open and transparent search process. To that end, please feel welcome to email your questions to communications@moundsparkacademy.org until the formal search email address is established. All questions and comments will be shared with Tiffany Scott Knox and Betsy Van Hecke while Natalie Waters Seum, director of admission and communication, will respond on the group’s behalf.

There will be a variety of ways for the community to engage with the search including a survey and facilitated group discussions. The first discussions will occur next week, so please save the dates and times that work for you … Read More


An Important Message From The Head of School

Dr. Bill HudsonDear Mounds Park Academy Community,

With a myriad of emotions, I share my intent to retire from Mounds Park Academy at the conclusion of the 2024-2025 academic year.

The decision to retire has not been arrived at lightly. Following much consideration, I believe that the time is opportune for me to embark on the next chapter of my life, filled with the anticipation of quality family time, exciting travel adventures, and the exploration of the collection of unread books that have patiently awaited my attention—a prospect that fills me with both excitement and gratitude. This is a stage of life that my husband Ross and I have planned for, and he will join me in retirement.

I also know it’s the right time for Mounds Park Academy in many ways:

  • an experienced board of trustees and a talented and dedicated administrative team are in place;
    our exceptional faculty and staff are committed to the holistic growth and academic success of each student;
  • the launch of a new phase of curriculum development will further empower students to navigate an increasingly complex and global society and world;
  • a strong fiscal foundation and a long-range plan are in place to ensure the sustainability of MPA for many years to come; and
  • we benefit from an elevated profile as a premier independent school in the Twin Cities, known for its safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment, dedicated to academic excellence, and fostering the growth of the whole child.

The incoming head of school will join MPA at an ideal time, coinciding with the school’s accreditation self-study and the development of a new strategic plan. Read More


An Important Message From The Board Chair

Tiffany Scott KnoxDear Mounds Park Academy Community,

In its 42-year history, Mounds Park Academy has benefited from extraordinary leadership shaping and guiding its mission, values, and growth. This has certainly been true since Dr. Bill Hudson assumed the role of head of school in July 2013. When Dr. Hudson informed the board of trustees of his decision to retire at the end of the 2024-25 school year, I was both sad and excited. I am sad because Dr. Hudson has been such an effective, nurturing, and visionary leader, but I am excited as we think about the next step for MPA, built upon the strong foundation he helped advance.

Dr. Hudson will leave Mounds Park Academy more vital and vibrant than when he arrived in 2013. In his years leading our community, he has been an exemplary steward and champion of the Mounds Park Academy mission and vision, and his legacy will leave an indelible mark on MPA. During his tenure, Mounds Park Academy set a foundation for long-term financial sustainability, reimagined the school’s curriculum for the 21st century and beyond, successfully navigated a global pandemic, and redeveloped a strong sense of community. But perhaps above all, Dr. Hudson’s tireless work to strengthen a diverse, inclusive, and joyful community where students and members of the MPA family realize they are welcome and loved and can learn and thrive is his crowning achievement. These ideals are embedded in every division and embraced by the tremendously talented faculty and staff Dr. Hudson and his team assembled and cultivated. Read More