Forward-Thinking Executive Search for Independent Schools
Our approach to search is built on good fundamentals – top-tier candidates, broad knowledge of schools, strong communications, and trusting relationships. We help our clients go beyond resumes and interviews to reduce bias, reveal candidates' true leadership profiles, and assess their fit with a particular school. As a boutique firm, we offer unparalleled flexibility, hustle, and attention to detail. Our commitment to our clients is second to none.
Whether you are a trustee looking to plan a multi-year leadership transition or a Head of School seeking a diverse slate of top candidates for a key role, we are confident we can serve you well. The best place to start is by scheduling a confidential, no-obligations call so we can learn about your needs and answer any questions you have about our firm or how we might serve you.
What We Offer
Your school is unique; so are we. When you hire Butler/White, you know that our firm's principals - Jo Butler and Zachary White - will be directly involved in every aspect of the assignment, from committee coaching and strategic positioning to candidate cultivation and community engagement. Our hands-on approach helps us partner more closely with our clients and adapt to new challenges. We are an intimate firm with a national reach, an experienced team with an innovative spark.
We have more than 25 years of experience in the executive search business and have worked with more than 100 independent schools across the country – large and small, urban and rural, religious and secular, boarding and day, coed and single-sex. We serve as trusted advisors and advocates for both chief executive (President or Head of School) assignments as well as senior administrative searches. Our perspective allows us to provide nuanced answers and practical options related to every aspect of a search.
We are rethinking the way schools source and evaluate talent, tapping new networks and developing proprietary tools to help our clients maximize candidate insights. We dig deeper to help schools understand each applicant’s work ethic, integrity, leadership style, resilience, temperament, crisis response, and cultural fit. These are essential skills for the long-term success of every appointee, but difficult to assess via interviews and resumes alone. We aim to help clients separate the signal from the noise.
As a boutique firm, we tailor our approach to every client. We know that no two schools are alike, and every leadership transition comes with unique challenges and opportunities. Searches come with plenty of practical concerns - cost, calendar, and process chief among them - but we also are interested in the continued success of our placements, and that requires thinking about a school's culture, values, current staffing, strategic direction, governance, and more.
Finding and attracting top talent takes time, and trustees and school leaders are busy. Hiring well takes a lot of planning and work. We partner with every client to create a custom roadmap for their transition needs, and we help them stay focused on what matters most at every step along the way. We also work with our clients long after the announcement to ensure a smooth, productive transition. We don't consider a search a success until the appointee has a good first year.