Finding successors for two exceptionally talented and key members of the senior leadership team at a Santa Barbara independent school.
Crane Country Day School is a warm and vibrant place where students and Staffulty (Crane’s hybrid word for staff and faculty) work hand in hand exploring discovery-based lessons in idyllic Santa Barbara, CA. Since its founding in 1928, Crane has been committed to stimulating the minds and spirits of children from kindergarten through eighth grade. Joyful learning, long-tenured Staffulty, and financial strength are hallmarks of this beloved school. With two key members of the small leadership team departing, finding up-and-coming leaders and diverse perspectives were key for Crane’s future. The school needed a warm, accessible, and skilled CFO and a creative, grounded, and savvy Associate Head of School and Upper School Director.
With two separate visits to campus, DRG prioritized getting to know the community well. We spent time connecting with students, Staffulty, parents, and board members, and utilized a discovery survey to provide space for everyone’s thoughts. We prioritized creating a talented candidate pool of experienced leaders currently working around the world. The pools for both positions had a majority of leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. The DRG team helped Crane’s search committees focus on the candidates’ competencies and conduct a reduced-bias search and interview process. We partnered with their teams and prioritized an inclusive and transparent process to include many voices and to help ensure their decisions could be thoughtful, data-driven, and as swift as possible.
DRG’s Senior Talent Consultant, Jennifer Fleischer, worked closely with Head of School, Joel Weiss, and a heavily invested search committee to place Raul Borja to run the business office. Raul has spent the last 9 years as the Director of Finance at Providence High School in Los Angeles. He was looking to join a new community and to help shepherd Crane’s long-term financial sustainability with an impactful Head of School partner. A different but no less committed group of Crane’s Staffulty joined forces with Jennifer and Joel’s efforts for the Associate Head of School position. Ultimately, an out-of-the-box solution was made for the right candidate as Tamar Adegbile was named as the next second in command with a start date of January 1, 2024. Crane hired a current Upper School teacher to serve as the interim throughout the fall demonstrating that in this competitive landscape, creative solutions can be found. Tamar had the right skill set and commitment for the Crane Upper School’s next chapter and no one let the difficult timing prevent the installation of the best candidate.