2018 Head of School Search

On June 29, 2018, Board of Trustees President, Dr. Fred Kuhn, M.D., announced the resignation of Dr. Gray Smith, Ed.D., Head of School. Mrs.Ashleigh Wilkes, Lower School Head, was unanimously appointed by the Board as Acting Head of School as of July 1, 2018.


A Search Committee was immediately formed for Harford Day School’s Eighth Head of School. The Committee hosted three search firms on campus in August. On August 30, 2018, Mrs. Ashleigh Wilkes was named Interim Head of School. On September 10, 2018, The Board and Search Committee announced Educators’ Collaborative as the firm selected to lead the national search.


Please monitor this page for regular updates on the process.

Search Updates

September 10, 2018--Search Firm Announcement

Dear Members of the Harford Day School Community:

After interviewing several consulting firms, the Board of Trustees has retained Educators' Collaborative to help us with our search for a Head of School. This firm has conducted more than 1,000 successful head of school searches since 1971. Deirdre A. Ling and Joan Beauregard, two partners with the firm, will be our consultants.

The success of this search will depend in large part on the input the Search Committee and the consultants receive from the Harford Day School community. Deirdre and Joan will be on campus September 27-28, and will meet extensively with members of the HDS community--students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and trustees--in order to develop a leadership profile for Harford Day's next Head of School.

We realize that it will not be possible for everyone to participate in the on-campus interviews. Therefore, the consultants will make available an online survey that will address the following questions:

  • What are the strengths of Harford Day School?
  • What are the main challenges that the School needs to address over the next 3-5 years?
  • What specific personal and professional qualities would you like to see in the next head of Harford Day School?

You will be invited to participate in the survey through an email to be sent later this week. Comments shared with the consultants are confidential and will not be attributed to individuals. The survey will close on September 21.

Thank you for your support during this transition period. Your participation is crucial to our success. We will continue to keep you updated as the search progresses.


Frederick Kuhn, M.D.

President, Board of Trustees

September 12, 2018--Community Survey and Meetings Announced

Dear Harford Day Community Members, 

As Dr. Kuhn, President of the HDS Board of Trustees, shared with you in his earlier communication, Educators' Collaborative has been retained to assist us in our search for the next Head of HDS.

The Board of Trustees is committed to making this an inclusive process and will provide opportunities for community input through in-person gatherings and an electronic survey.  The two EC partners assigned to our search, Deirdre Ling and Joan Beauregard, will be on campus September 27th and September 28th.

Current Parents

They welcome HDS parents to drop in and meet with them from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 27th or from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m. on Friday, September 28th.

HDS Friends

Friends of HDS, including past parents and alums, are invited to meet with the Deirdre and Joan on Friday, September 28th from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Faculty, staff, PA officers, and former and current trustees will also have scheduled time to meet with Deirdre and Joan on the days listed.

Our consultants have begun to build the pool of candidates by listing the position with appropriate agencies and associations, contacting selected educational leaders to solicit recommendations, and reaching out to potential candidates with whom they and their colleagues are familiar. Through this process we will seek to find an appropriate balance between involving community input and respecting the privacy of the candidates. Until we get to the finalist stage, candidate names will be held in confidence by the Search Committee. This latter consideration regarding candidates is very important to help ensure the strongest possible candidate pool.

The Search Committee members and Board of Trustees are grateful for your support and will offer periodic updates as the search process progresses.  We look forward to seeing current parents at the information sessions later this month.


Greg Benfield '85 Chair

Head of School Search Committee

October 26, 2018--Information for Candidates

The search consultants, Deirdre A. Ling and Joan Beauregard, of Educators' Collaborative, visited campus as planned Thursday and Friday, September 27-28, 2018. During their time on campus, they met with HDS constituents including: students, alumni, former and current parents, faculty and staff, trustees, and friends of our school. Following their visit they synthesized their meeting notes with survey data to create this Information for Candidates document.

The Search Committee anticipates narrowing the candidate pool by mid-November 2018, and inviting finalists to campus to meet with all constituent groups by early December 2018. More information will be posted here as soon as specific dates and information emerge. Thank you for your continued support of the search process.

Search Committee Members

  • Greg Benfield '85, Chairman, Trustee, alumni parent
  • Mary Jean Craig, alumni parent, former Trustee
  • Reggie Flowers, current parent, and Parent Association President
  • Katy Giannelli, alumni parent, Trustee
  • James Haven, current/alumni parent, Trustee
  • Irna Jay, alumni parent, Trustee Emeritus
  • Fred Kuhn, M.D., Board President, alumni parent
  • Niteen Milak, M.D., Board Vice President, alumni/current parent
  • Carla Yeago '82, Trustee, alumni parent

Ashleigh Wilkes, Interim Head of School

The Board is pleased to announce Mrs. Ashleigh Wilkes, former Lower School Head, as Interim Head of School. Mrs. Wilkes holds a B.S. degree from the University of Delaware and a Masters from Loyola University of Maryland with a reading specialist credential. Since joining the Harford Day faculty in 2003, she has taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades and served as learning specialist and Intermediate Division Head. With her wide range of experience, she understands what makes Harford Day a special place for students, teachers and parents. Mrs. Wilkes lives in Abingdon with her husband, Eric, and their two children, Julia (rising 7th grade), and Emily (rising 4th grade).