Head of School Search
The Altamont School is pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has selected Cecil F. Stodghill, Jr. as the next Head of School. . Please see below for our communications to the Altamont community.
- Cecil F. Stodghill, Jr. Named New Head of School Nov. 19, 2021
- Update on Head of School Search Oct. 2, 2021
- Update of Head of School Search Sept. 1, 2021
- Interim Head of School Announcement June 28, 2021
- Search Firm Selected May 20, 2021
- Members of Search Committee Announced May 14, 2021
- Formation of Search Committee May 7, 2021
Dear Altamont Community,
It is my privilege to announce to you that the Board of Trustees has selected Cecil F. Stodghill, Jr. as the next Head of School. Cecil is an educator with deep experience in independent schools, starting with his own education at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he would later return to serve as Director of Multicultural Affairs and Assistant Director of Admission.
Most recently, Cecil comes to us from The Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer, New York, where he served as Head of School. A native of Chattanooga, Cecil has expressed his tremendous excitement to be “coming home” to the South to lead The Altamont School into the next great chapter of its history.
Cecil is a graduate of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and earned a master’s degree in education with a concentration in school leadership from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Cecil is a teacher, a coach, and a community leader. He has participated in all facets of independent school life throughout his 23-year career, and he has brought his leadership to the broader community as a trustee and board member for numerous civic organizations.
Cecil is married to Kim, who has a career of nearly 25 years in education and is principal of Stodghill College Consulting, an independent college counseling firm. They have one son, Cameron, who attends La Salle Institute in Troy, New York. I know that you will join me in welcoming the entire Stodghill family into the Altamont community.
On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank Vice President and Search Committee Chair Bryson Stephens ’90 for his exemplary leadership throughout the process, and for the countless hours devoted by our Search Committee (Paige Daniel, Will French ’86, Donald Robinson ’98, Emily Schultz ’01, and Katisha Vance) with the invaluable assistance of our search consultant, John Farber, of RG175. We also express our gratitude to the administrators, faculty, students, parents, and alumni who graciously took time out of their schedules to participate in the search process, providing crucial insights to the Search Committee. With your help, we have conducted a thorough, deliberate, and successful search. Finally, we thank our Interim Head, Tom Bendel, for his service during the 2021-22 academic year and for his assistance in ensuring Cecil’s smooth transition into the Head role. Cecil will begin his duties at Altamont on July 1, 2022.
The Board is organizing a Transition Committee for Cecil, but each recipient of this letter has a part to play in contributing to his successful beginning. We thank all of you for your support of Altamont, now and in the future.
The full press release on Cecil's appointment is available at www.altamontschool.org/news.
President, Board of Trustees
Dear Altamont Community,
- The position description is posted on the websites for both RG175 and Altamont.
- RG175 has been accepting applications since June and will continue accepting applications through today (Wednesday, September 1).
- The applicant pool currently consists of over 25 well-qualified, diversified applicants.
- In the weeks ahead RG175 and the Committee will select a group of semi-finalists from the pool of applicants.
- The selected group of semi-finalists will be interviewed and narrowed down to a group of finalists. We anticipate concluding the search by early November.
The process timing described above is general and subject to change. Like any hiring process, confidentiality is a critical component for everyone involved. Our Committee will honor and respect the confidentiality of our applicants as well as all of the individuals involved in the process on behalf of the school.
At the beginning of this process, almost four months ago, we shared our excitement in selecting, “a head of school that embraces our unique strengths, is committed to passionately pursuing the school’s mission, and has the strategic vision to prepare Altamont and its students for the future.” As we enter the final stages of our journey, our Committee is as excited as ever and we look forward to selecting a leader that will guide and support Altamont in seizing all the opportunities the future holds in store.
Chair, Head of School Search Committee
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Search Committee, it is with great pleasure that we announce the new Interim Head of School for 2021-22, Mr. Tom Bendel.
Mr. Bendel brings a great depth and breadth of experience, from university and secondary school classroom instruction to independent school headship. Mr. Bendel and his wife, Jennifer, are coming to us from Richmond, Virginia, where he most recently served as Head of School at Sabot at Stony Point. Prior to that position, he was Head of School at North Jakarta Intercultural School, Head of Upper School at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School and Dean of Student Affairs at The American School in Switzerland.
Mr. Bendel officially begins his new role on July 1. Please join us in welcoming them to the Altamont community!
Dear Altamont Community,
We are pleased to announce Altamont has engaged Resource Group 175 (RG175) for assistance in both the interim and permanent head of school searches. The consultant leading the search for Altamont is John Farber, RG175’s managing director.
We are excited to team up with John and RG175 as we begin the important work of selecting leadership for Altamont. Our first task is the recruitment and hiring of an external interim head of school, a task we have already begun and aim to complete in the weeks ahead. In 2019, John led Altamont’s board and leadership through an on-site strategic planning and governance exercise, giving him an awareness and understanding of our community. John’s extensive experience, his understanding of Altamont’s needs and his contacts in the industry will all be invaluable to securing the right interim and permanent leaders for Altamont.
The Search Committee
John S. Farber:
John Farber joined RG175 in 2017 and has nearly 40 years of independent school experience (both day and boarding) with more than 20 years as a head of school. He is well-known to the independent school community for his skills in board governance, strategic thinking, fundraising and personnel management. John was head of school at Old Trail School (OH) for 17 years and South Kent School (CT) for four years. He served as director of admissions and financial aid at Belmont Hill School (MA) and was director of development and admissions at Darrow School (NY). He started teaching at Winston School in Dallas (TX) where he was also outdoor education director. John also taught science and history at Landmark School north of Boston (MA) and was assistant director of admissions at Landmark College in Putney (VT).
John served an 11-year term as board member of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), including three years as board chair, and was president of the Cleveland Consortium of Independent Schools (CCIS) and a board member of the Ohio Association of Independent Schools (OAIS). John was a board member of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and was co-founder and executive vice president of the International Coalition of Boys Schools (ICBS). He was a co-founder of the Independent Schools Benefits Consortium (ISBC), an employee benefit organization that focuses on cost control and cultivating a healthy work environment. He currently serves on the board of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and is an emeritus trustee for South Kent School.
John graduated from Trinity University and holds a M.Ed. in guidance and counseling from Antioch University. Since joining RG175 in 2017, John has completed multiple searches throughout the United States. He has also done searches for senior administrative positions as well as conducting governance training and strategic planning consultations.
To learn more about RG175, click on their website.
We are pleased to announce that the membership and charter of the search committee for the new head of school have been approved by the Board of Trustees. The search committee will be comprised of the following members, all of whom will be trustees for the upcoming school year:
Mr. Bryson Stephens ’90, parent, Search Committee Chair and Vice-President-Elect of the Board
Ms. Paige Daniel, parent
Mr. Will French ’86, parent
Mr. Donald Robinson ’98, President of the Altamont Alumni Association
Ms. Emily Schultz ‘01
Dr. Katisha Vance, parent
Mr. Chris Nicholson ’99, President-Elect of the Board (ex officio)
The committee has already begun the work of vetting search firms to assist the school in identifying an interim and permanent head of school, and will update the entire community as the search process continues. We encourage you to view the committee’s charter.
A Note from the Search Committee Chair
We could not be more pleased with the depth and breadth of experience and perspective that the search committee members bring to this undertaking, and thank each of them for joining us in this important work. We are all deeply committed to this work and look forward to engaging with our entire community during the process.
A Note from the President-Elect
The selection of an interim head and the commencement of the permanent head search are the two most important tasks facing the board, and the work has already begun. I am confident that this committee, under Bryson’s leadership, will engage in a deep, thoughtful process while moving with deliberate speed. We encourage the Altamont community to remain informed through the provided channels and to participate in the process with us as we move forward.
Information and updates regarding the search will be published periodically via email, on Altamont's social media channels and on the following website: www.altamontschool.org/about/search. Comments and questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are pleased to announce that a search committee for the new head of school is being formed by the Board of Trustees and will begin its important work immediately. This committee will also be charged with selecting an external interim head of school. The search committee will be chaired by Board of Trustees member Bryson Stephens, Class of 1990.
Bryson is the chairman of the board of EBSCO Industries, Inc. headquartered in Birmingham. He has deep connections to Altamont and a unique perspective on its past, present, and future with several family members attending Altamont and serving in various board capacities over the years. He is also the parent of two current Altamont students, Madeline (Class of 2022) and Bart (Class of 2024).
A Note from the Search Committee Chair
We are all excited to begin the important work of selecting a head of school that embraces our unique strengths, is committed to passionately pursuing the school’s mission, and has the strategic vision to prepare Altamont and its students for the future. We look forward to engaging with the entire community, gathering feedback and opinions from every constituency. We not only welcome input from the whole community, but also are committed to keeping everyone informed throughout the process. Our intention is to move forward on immediate priorities with efficiency, balancing thoroughness with a sense of urgency. Immediate priorities include hiring a search firm and hiring an experienced, external interim head of school.
As for the ultimate goal of hiring the best permanent head of school we can recruit, we will proceed in a patient, deliberate, and purposeful manner. We look forward to updating the community as our work progresses. In advance, our committee is appreciative of everyone’s participation and support of the important work before us.
Search committee members will include a diverse group of 6-8 trustees and will be announced as soon as the board approves the search committee membership.
Information and updates regarding the search will be published periodically via email, Altamont's social media channels and this website.