November 18, 2016
Announcement of Appointment of Head of School: Terra Toscano
The Board of Trustees of Walden School is pleased to announce that Terra Toscano has accepted its offer to become the permanent Head of School, beginning immediately. Terra has served as Interim Head of School since March, 2016 at the request of the Board of Trustees. Terra stepped into that role with the goal of keeping Walden on course, ensuring a successful admission season, and reassuring the community that Walden would have capable leadership to complete the school year and begin the process to find the next head of school.
As we previously communicated, during the summer of 2016, the board formed a search committee composed of faculty, administration, parents, and trustees. The Committee engaged the services of Debbie Reed, a former head of Polytechnic School and a search consultant with RG175, a leading search firm for independent schools nationwide.
It was the consultant’s first responsibility to survey the community of faculty, staff, parents, and trustees to determine the qualifications and attributes we were seeking in the next leader of Walden. Through an anonymous survey of all constituents and interviews with faculty, staff, administrators, parents, and trustees, a consensus of enthusiastic support for Terra’s continued leadership emerged. Debbie Reed then presented the Search Committee with a comprehensive report of the findings from the meetings and surveys. The Search Committee read that report carefully and then conducted an interview with Terra regarding her assessment of the issues facing Walden as well as her vision for the long-term future.
Following that process, the Search Committee unanimously voted to recommend that the board appoint Terra as permanent head. While the Board and the Search Committee were fully prepared to conduct a broader search, we ultimately determined that such a search was not necessary based on the strong support for Terra, as well as her success as interim head.
Terra is well known to the Pasadena independent school community, and she knows Walden well through her seventeen years of service beginning in 1999 as an Assistant Teacher. Most recently, she served for four years as Director of Studies, a position that gave her responsibility for curriculum, instruction, and faculty development.
The thorough review of Terra’s experience, capacities, and accomplishments convinced us that she is the right person at the right time to lead Walden forward. We are lucky to have such a capable, experienced educational leader within our own community ready and eager to assume this role. In addition to her skills and experience, Terra is a passionate advocate for every child at Walden. She is a caring person, a talented educator with a long commitment to progressive education, and a skilled administrator.
With this appointment, Walden enters a new era of leadership and we confidently place our faith in Terra to take us forward. We thank the members of the Search Committee, the faculty for their faithful support of Walden through a transition period, and the parents for continuing to place their trust in Walden’s values and leadership.
Nicole Shannon, Chair, Board of Trustees
Chipper Pastron, Co-Chair, Search Committee
Linda Bortell, Co-Chair, Search Committee
November 11, 2016 - Director Search Update
October 14, 2016 - Director Search Consultant
October 7, 2016 - Director Search Community Meetings
September 9, 2016 - Search Committee Members Announced
June 7, 2016 - Search Committee Member Criteria
May 20, 2016 - Search Committee Co-Chairs Announced
April 4, 2016 - Invitation to Director Search Meeting