Company |

Head of School - Harrisburg Academy

Job Title
Head of School - Harrisburg Academy
Requirement ID
Begin Date
Wormleysburg,  PA 17043
Other Location

Head of School – Harrisburg Academy

Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania


Harrisburg Academy, located in Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania, just across the Susquehanna River from the State Capitol and part of the Harrisburg-Hershey-Carlisle metropolitan area, is conducting a national search for a head of school.

Established in 1784, Harrisburg Academy is a preschool through 12th grade, coeducational, independent school known for an academically challenging and globally minded liberal arts curriculum. Founded by John Harris, Jr., the Academy is proud to be the first school in the greater Harrisburg area to offer the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma program, and the only school offering scholarships for international summer travel experiences for IB students.

As a result of the planned retirement of our current head of school, the Academy Board of Trustees has established a committee to conduct this search. The starting date for this position is July 1, 2019.


In light of the fact that education is changing we are seeking a leader who will be able not just to manage through the changing landscape of education, but to capitalize on it.

We are seeking a head of school who can clearly articulate the Academy’s value in a compelling way while helping to grow enrollment, expand planned and annual giving, as well as cultivate grant opportunities. The head of school must be highly involved in engaging faculty, staff, the Board, parents and families (past and present), as well as alumni (both domestically and outside the U.S.), the business community, and the independent school community. The head of school will be pivotal in leading the development of the Academy’s next strategic plan and in helping the Academy community envision changes needed to more effectively position our school for the future.


We are at an inflection point in the Academy’s history.  The head is not stepping into a caretaker position, but must bring passion for continuous improvement and a relentless pursuit of leadership excellence.

This position will encompass the following duties and responsibilities, tied to specific outcomes:

Forward-Thinking Leadership & Management. We are seeking a head of school who possesses a finely tuned sense of fairness and good judgment and who can balance the following with expectations for delivering on the Academy’s promise:

  • Transparency and trust: the ability to develop trusting relationships with direct reports in order to foster creativity, innovation, independent decision-making, and problem-solving; the ability to build accessible and trusting relationships with families that will enable improved dialogue.
  • Delegation: the ability to foster operating independence among administrators, department heads, and faculty teams, and demonstrate comfort delegating tasks and more strategic projects with the end goal of improved outcomes.
  • Transformation and Innovation: previous experience ideating programs that lead to improved enrollment and retention.

Human Resources, Hiring & Talent Development. We are seeking someone who excels at hiring and coaching other leaders, faculty members, and staff to higher levels of performance. A well-informed leader is sought—someone who helps team members achieve their goals and objectives so that we can continue to offer the best and most innovative educational programming. This endeavor will be accomplished by modeling thoughtful leadership behaviors and incorporating the Academy’s values and Character Traits into everyday interactions. The ideal head of school will possess an understanding of human resources management, and will promote professional development opportunities for faculty and administrative staff, and will promote the development of our Board.

Enrollment, Marketing & Advancement. The head of school has responsibility for managing and driving sustainable growth including taking the lead on the overall plan for enrollment and retention, as well as meaningful involvement and visibility in Academy fundraising initiatives. Ensuring that the surrounding community, and our domestic and international alumni and partners know who we are, what we do, and the educational value that we bring encompasses our desire for a visible leader—one who also embraces social media as a means to those ends (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook—at a minimum). The head of school must be comfortable interfacing with business leaders and the broader business community, and must back up professional presence with substance and intellectual curiosity and rigor.

Operational & Financial Management / Strategic Planning. The head of school is responsible for managing the Academy’s finances and, in collaboration with the Board, developing and implementing strategies for restoring the Academy’s financial stability. Overall, the enrollment at the Academy has fluctuated and declined. We continue to address the unique nature of the education market in our area and are looking for a head of school who will counter perceived competitive issues (large public schools, numerous parochial schools, as well as charter and cyber schools, among others). The Board believes that innovation and differentiation in educational programming, as well as extra- and co-curricular offerings that position our students for the future, will pave the way toward greater enrollment.

Communication. We are seeking someone who excels at consistent communication. The head of school must ensure that the Academy’s strategic plan is effectively translated and put into context to provide consistency of messaging to all constituents. We seek a head of school who is comfortable with public speaking—someone who will be the face of the Academy.

Board Interaction. The head of school must have the desire, willingness and ability to proactively work with the Board and the Board President including, and most especially, generating decisive recommendations to the Board.

Global Mindset. The head of school must ensure our institution’s commitment to diversity and possess a global mindset.  We have continued to grow our international program, accepting students from around the globe each year and, as a result, seek a leader who understands and appreciates what an international experience means to a participant. Fluency in a language beyond English is a plus (though not required).

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities & Experience

Previous experience as an educator and administrator is highly desired, but other equivalent experience in a substantially similar environment will be given strong consideration.

  • Strong faculty/staff development and management skills: Previous experience mentoring, supervising, and evaluating employees, complemented by the ability to build and maintain positive and productive working relationships.
    • Solid track record in identifying, selecting and developing people.
    • Previous experience managing diverse levels of skills.
    • Previous experience leading a diverse organization.
    • Previous experience leading through other managers (ability to delegate).
  • This position requires a steady hand and the ability to effectively deal with complex challenges with demonstrated, consistent intellectual sharpness, agility and capability.
  • Able to hold people accountable for their own roles.
  • Individuals with advanced degrees are sought; candidates with a terminal degree are highly desired.


  • This position requires that the head of school live within the Harrisburg-Hershey-Carlisle area.
  • This position requires travel, as necessary, to meet with key alumni and other constituents outside the immediate area.
  • Employees at the Academy work closely with students, therefore current criminal record clearances and satisfactory professional references will be required (PA Child Abuse Clearance; PA State Police Criminal Record Check; FBI Criminal History Background: PA School Personnel Health Record; PA Arrest / Conviction Report—forms are available on the Academy’s website for review; the Committee will inform finalist candidates of the appropriate time to complete these forms).
  • An expanded job description may be found on the Academy's website at
  • Competitive compensation and benefits offered. More details will be provided as part of the search process.

Interested Candidates:

Please send your resume and a cover letter outlining your interest in this position and the reasons why you believe you are qualified to:

Keith Clark, Chairman of the Search Committee

Shumaker Williams P.C.

P.O. Box 88

Harrisburg, PA 17108

It is the policy of Harrisburg Academy to provide for and promote equal employment opportunity in employment compensation and other terms and conditions of employment without discrimination based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, Vietnam Era Veteran status, genetic predisposition, or carrier status.

Position will be open until filled.

Required Skills

- Individuals with advanced degrees are sought; candidates with a terminal degree are highly desired.
- This position requires that the head of school live within the Harrisburg-Hershey-Carlisle area.
- This position requires travel, as necessary, to meet with key alumni and other constituents outside the immediate area.

Option 1: Create a New Profile