Head of School Search

On behalf of the Country School Board of Trustees, we are thrilled to announce its unanimous decision to appoint Jay Parker as the next Head of The Country School, effective July 1, 2024. 

Following an extensive national search, facilitated by the search firm RG 175, Jay emerged as the leading candidate from a pool of fifty-five  applicants. Key factors in the Search Committee’s unanimous recommendation to the Board of Trustees were Jay’s relationship-based leadership style, his educational experience in pre-K to 8, his commitment to professional development and the positive feedback received from The Country School community: faculty, parents and friends of the School. The shared conclusion that Jay is the best fit for our TCS community prompted the unanimous decision by the Board of Trustees. 

Jay will join us from the Dawson School in Boulder, Colorado, where he has served as the Middle School Director since 2020. An educator for over 20 years, Jay spent  2010 through 2020 at the Calvert School, a pre-K to 8 independent school in Baltimore. At Calvert, Jay was a science teacher, Dean of Student Life and ultimately the Director of the Institute for Leadership and Purpose, a nationally recognized program that he helped establish to create vibrant and collaborative community partnerships. Previously, Jay served as a middle school science teacher at Boys’ Latin School from 2005 to 2010. Jay began his educational career as an outdoor educator in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and on the coasts of Cape Cod. In addition to classroom teaching and his various leadership roles, Jay has enjoyed coaching middle school boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ lacrosse and girls’ soccer.  Jay also has a strong commitment to outdoor education and entrepreneurship as demonstrated by his founding of Mountain Element, an outdoor adventure program for middle school students, which he owned and operated  from 2007 to 2019.

Jay’s educational philosophy aligns with that of the Country School where the focus is to “develop confident students who strive to do their best always.” Jay notes, “ Independent schools have made an aspirational promise to build scholars, leaders and global citizens who have the possibility and probability to reach their potential. We have the resources to do so when we have a devoted caring community of passionate faculty and parents. When we all work together to create a common language of success, where academic achievement is celebrated as much as moral and personal development, we have discovered a beautiful intersection where our children will thrive amidst high expectations.”

Jay will relocate to the Easton area with his wife Carolyn, their sixth grade daughter Calvi, and their third grade son Whit.  Jay and Carolyn are looking forward to living life to the fullest on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and quickly becoming part of The Country School community.

We are grateful that The Country School is on stable footing under the dynamic direction of Jean Brune, who will continue her interim headship through June 2024. Thanks to Jean’s energetic leadership, diligent effort and commitment to a seamless transition, the School is in a position of strength for Jay to assume the Headship. 

Our sincere thanks also goes to the dedicated Search Committee members and the RG 175 search consultants. The search process involved countless hours reviewing candidate resumes, participating in meetings, candidate interviews, survey reviews and communication planning. 

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Search Committee, we would like to thank everyone who worked so diligently to help us complete the search process.  A transition team will be formed to work with Jay as he familiarizes himself with his new School community. 


Lakshmi Vaidyanathan           Blenda Armistead & Justin Nonemaker
Chair, Board of Trustees          Search Committee Co-Chairs

Search Committee Members

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan, Board Chair; Blenda Armistead, Committee Co-chair; Justin Nonemaker, Committee Co-chair; Jason Brown; Harriette Lowery; Ereni Malfa; Michael Roman; Sidney Trond

List of 5 items.

  • Schedule of Finalist Visits - 9/11/2023

    Dear Members of The Country School Community,

    The Search Committee for the next Head of The Country School has been busy coordinating the visits of the three finalists.  It is with excitement that I share the following dates for their visits:
    • September 17 to September 19, 2023
    • September 24 to September 26, 2023
    • October 10 to October 12, 2023
    Each finalist will arrive in the afternoon on their first day to meet with the full Board of Trustees and then the Executive Committee of the Board and the Search Committee Co-Chairs.

    They will spend the following two days in meetings on campus.  They will meet with all faculty, staff, administrators and some selected students.  There will be a community-wide meeting, open to parents, alumni, former parents/Trustees and other constituents of our School community, from 6:00 - 7:30 pm on the second day of each visit (Monday, September 18, Monday, September 25, and Wednesday, October 11).  Please consider this letter your invitation to attend these open community meetings.

    The name of each finalist, with an accompanying biography, will be sent shortly before each candidate’s scheduled visit.  Following the visits, a survey will be distributed to all participants.  The Search Committee will then review the responses as it formulates its recommendation to the Board of Trustees for their selection for the next Head of The Country School.


    Lakshmi Vaidyanathan
    Chair, The Country School Board of Trustees
  • Head Search Update Letter - 8/31/2023

    Dear Members of The Country School Community,

    I hope you have enjoyed a restful summer as our TCS students get ready to return to school next week. On behalf of the Country School Search Committee, I would like to provide an update on the search for the next Country School Head. The search process is progressing extremely well, thanks to the diligent efforts of our Search Committee and the expert work of the RG175 consultants. 

    A testament to the solid reputation of TCS within the independent school community is that interest in the Headship has been strong, resulting in an outstanding, compelling pool of over 50 viable applicants. Our Search Committee has worked throughout the summer reviewing resumes, narrowing the field to eight semi-finalists and meeting with them in person, off campus. They have now selected three finalists for the position. 

    Upon completion of the vetting process, the Committee will announce the names of the finalists. The finalists will have the opportunity to visit our school, from late September to mid-October, to meet with faculty, administrators, staff and students, as well as representatives of our various other constituencies. Information about these finalists, as well as the dates and details of their visits, will be shared in the coming weeks.

    On behalf of The Country School and the Board of Trustees, I extend sincere gratitude to all the members of the Search Committee, the co-chairs, Justin Nonemaker and Blenda Armistead, and our RG175 consultants, Arlyce Seibert and Bodie Brizendine. 

    If you have questions or suggestions related to the search process, please feel free to contact me or the Search Committee co-chairs. 

    Thank you.

    Lakshmi Vaidyanathan
    Chair, The Country School Board of Trustees
  • Town Hall Letter - 3/28/2023

    Dear Members of The Country School Community,

    We are writing today to share relevant details about the schedule for the Head Search consultants’ visit next Monday and Tuesday, April 3 and 4.  The primary purpose of their visit is for them to learn, first hand, more about the culture, program and community of The Country School as they begin to recruit outstanding candidates for our next Head whose vision, talents, interests and personality best match our School.

    Prior to their visit, Jean Brune has sent them a wide range of requested documents to review as they prepare in advance of their visit.  During their two days here, they will be meeting with faculty, staff and administrators to get a full picture of the organization and operation of the School.  Students, too, will be involved.  Our 8th grade elected Flag Bearer will give them a tour of the School, and the consultants will have lunch both days with representative groups of Upper School students.  They will also be meeting with our CSPA Board, a small representative group of parents, the full Board of Trustees and the Trustee Search Committee.

    The consultants have shared that they are very pleased with the number of responses they have received to the survey sent out last week.  Your feedback is foundational to their understanding of The Country School.  We are very grateful to those who took the time to complete the survey.  In order to have an additional opportunity beyond the survey for our larger community, not specifically included in the scheduled meetings, to interact with the consultants, we have scheduled a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday morning, April 4, from 8:15-9:15am in Hanrahan Hall.  Parents, grandparents, former Trustees, alumni, and friends of the School are welcome to attend this Town Hall. In order to be sure we have sufficient seating, please click here to RSVP.


    Lakshmi Vaidyanathan, Chair Board of Trustees
    Blenda Armistead, Search Committee Co-Chair
    Justin Nonemaker, Search Committee Co-Chair
  • Head Search Survey - 3/20/2023

    Dear Members of The Country School Community,

    As Arylce Seibert and Bodie Brizendine, our RG175 Head Search consultants, prepare for their on-site visit to TCS on April 3rd and 4th, it is important for them to continue to learn more about The Country School.  Input from the broad constituency of our School - faculty/staff, parents, alumni, parents of alumni and friends of our School - is a critical part of their information gathering.

    The consultants have developed a survey which can be accessed HERE that goes directly to them.  It should not take long to complete, and we hope that you will take the time to do so.  In order for them to reflect on the responses before they arrive on campus, we ask that you complete the survey no later than Monday, March 27.

    Thank you for your help as we begin our search for the next Head of The Country School.  Your thoughts are essential for a successful search.  We are also working with the consultants to develop a schedule for their visit. When that is finalized, we will share relevant details of their visit with you.


    Lakshmi Vaidyanathan, Chair, Board of Trustees
    Blenda Armistead, Search Committee Co-Chair 
    Justin Nonemaker, Search Committee Co-Chair
  • Search Firm Selection Letter - 2/28/2023

    Dear Members of The Country School Community,

    Academic year 2022-23 is Jean Brune’s second serving as Interim Head at The Country School.  We are happy that Jean will continue for a third year through June 30, 2024.  Under Jean’s expertise and energetic leadership, the school has established stability in its operations with healthy enrollment, continuation of its robust academic tradition and an engaged TCS community. We have all enjoyed the resumption of in person school events, traditions and outdoor education.

    The Board of Trustees has determined that the School is now well positioned to begin the search process for a permanent Head to begin July 1, 2024.  In the late fall, the Board established a Trustee Search Committee with broad and diverse representation to include the expertise and perspectives of current and past parents, community leaders, and educators.  Co-chairs Blenda Armistead and Justin Nonemaker are joined by Trustees Jason Brown, Harriette Lowery, Ereni Malfa, Mike Roman and Sidney Trond.

    The Search Committee, with unanimous support from the Board of Trustees, has made the decision to engage the search firm RG175 to assist with finding the next Country School Head. Arlyce Seibert and Bodie Brizendine, recently retired heads of prestigious independent schools and experts in the field of education, are the two RG175 partners assigned to our search. 

    We are fortunate to have such respected and experienced independent school leaders working with us.  One of their first steps in the search process will be to visit TCS to learn first hand what makes The Country School unique and to seek input from the School community so they can better identify a pool of desirable candidates who will match the values, philosophy and goals of our School.  Monday, April 3 and Tuesday, April 4 are the dates for their visit.  When the schedule for their days here is finalized, we will share more details.
    After their visit, the Search Committee and I will continue to update you, from time to time, about the process which will continue into the fall.  Please do not hesitate to contact me or the search co-chairs.


    Lakshmi Vaidyanathan
    Chair, The Country School Board of Trustees
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