A Note from the MCDS Board of Trustees
Dear MCDS Community,
I am writing to update you on important transitions involving leadership of the school and the board of directors. The board of trustees had a meeting earlier today in which we took various actions to ensure Madison Country Day School remains a robust and healthy institution for years to come.
Head of School Ben Hebebrand recently announced to the board his decision to begin planning for new challenges in his professional life. Ben will leave the school at the end of the 2019-20 academic school year, approximately 18 months from now. This gives the school more than ample time to undertake a thoughtful and organized search to find Ben’s replacement.
Ben has committed to helping in any way possible with the search and transition. We are confident that as a team and community we can reach an excellent outcome. I would be remiss if I did not mention a few of Ben’s significant contributions to the school:
- As head of school, Ben helped MCDS mature from a nascent educational institution to one that has a detailed, clear and strategic plan for the academic success of our students.
- Ben implemented processes to ensure that the school is on the path to long-term financial sustainability.
- Ben partnered with faculty and staff to comprehensively document the MCDS curriculum.
- The stellar results of our recent ISACS accreditation—for which we received more commendations than at any time in MCDS history—are due in large part to the rigorous discipline Ben brought to the process.
- The consistent success of our high school graduates—whose scores are among the best in the state and who collectively attend some of the best higher education institutions in the country—are yet another testament to Ben’s strong leadership.
Although we all would love for Ben to stay at MCDS, we realize that after five years it is only natural for him to want to seek new opportunities and experiences. The average tenure of a head of an independent school is typically five to eight years. I know you will join me in wishing Ben the very best as he considers his next steps. We sincerely thank Ben for all that he has done to safeguard our mission and make this wonderful community an even better school.
The board has created a Head-of-School Search Committee that will be responsible for identifying the next head. We have appointed Guy Comer, the current secretary of the board and head of the Development Committee, to lead the search committee, along with a diverse group of MCDS community members. The board also has authorized the search committee to retain a third-party consultant to help identify qualified candidates, and to assist in organizing the process for this search. Please be assured that there will be ample opportunity for all stakeholders—including parents, faculty and staff—to have input into the search process.
To allow time for a thoughtful transition, my fellow board members have asked me to stay on as board chair until the end of the 2019-20 school year. I am honored and humbled to accept this vote of confidence in my leadership and am committed to doing everything in my power to assist the school during this time of transition.
Going forward we are planning to host various forums to answer questions and obtain input from parents, faculty and staff about the transition. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Ben, Guy or me with any questions or concerns. I can assure you we are implementing a thoughtful and exhaustive process to address these changes. I look forward to what the future brings for MCDS.
Chair, MCDS Board of Directors
A Note From Head of School Ben Hebebrand
Dear MCDS Families:
Almost five years ago, Joy and I visited MCDS for the first time on an early-summer day, greeted by the welcoming MCDS community and awed by the beauty of the campus. Not too long thereafter, I was fortunate to be selected to serve MCDS as its Head of School. Now as all our five children officially are adults, Joy and I have decided to seek a new professional opportunity. With those personal and professional goals in mind, I have informed the MCDS Board of Trustees that the 2019-2020 school year will be my final year of service to MCDS.
While the 18-months advance notice may seem unnecessarily drawn out, this timetable allows MCDS to be competitive in attracting outstanding candidates, following a search timeline that is customary in the independent school community. I am confident that this timetable will put MCDS not only on a path toward finding the best-fit candidate but also provide for a seamless transition.
During the past four years at MCDS, I have had great opportunities to partner with faculty, staff, trustees, donors, parents, and students in seeing the school’s Strategic Plan come to fruition—examples include opening the new Academic Center, advancing the technology infrastructure and program, expanding our high school with improved course offerings, reviving a theatre program, strengthening our school curriculum leading to a most successful re-accreditation, introducing the new and improved OnCampus Student and Community Management System, creating new positions (Counselor, Nurse, Student Services, Academic Technology Director, department heads), revamping our summer school program, upgrading our security measures, and building a new playground.
It has been a real pleasure to be part of these efforts—I like to think that MCDS has reached a robust stage of development at its relatively young age. Most importantly, I thank the MCDS community for its active and hands-on help in moving these strategic priorities forward. I want to especially thank the MCDS Board of Trustees and its fantastic leaders with whom I worked—Dr. Sandra Fernandez, Mr. Erick Hallick, and Mr. James Gallegos.
It remains abundantly clear that it is the faculty, staff, and students who represent the true heart of the school—a great emphasis on empowering and allowing faculty, staff, and students to interact meaningfully and purposefully with each other will always be a priority. On that note, I thank the faculty, staff, and students for their commitment to teaching and learning.
During the next 18 months you may expect from me continued dedication to moving MCDS forward, to assist the Board with the search for a new Head, and most certainly to help with the transition. There is always work to be done at MCDS, and I fully intend to continue to lead and serve MCDS. When the time comes, we will say our good-byes, but for now let us remain focused on advancing the great cause of Madison Country Day School.