Old stones, made strong again
Oct. 1, 2018 — The Northfield Mount Hermon Board of Trustees today announced the appointment of Brian H. Hargrove as NMH’s 12th head of school, effective July 1, 2019. Charles A. Tierney III P’16, ’19, ’20 will continue as head of school until that time, then resume his post as associate head of school. The announcement follows a national search launched in February 2018.
Hargrove is currently assistant head of school for advancement and communications at Mercersburg Academy, a coed boarding and day school in Pennsylvania with about 440 students. Read more about his background and experience here.
Below is more background on the head of school designate, and on the search process.
- Letter to the community
- News story
- Q&A with Brian Hargrove
- Campus Reactions
- Transition Process
- Welcome Celebrations
Letter to the NMH Community
October 1, 2018
Dear members of the NMH community,
On behalf of the NMH Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, I am thrilled to announce that Brian H. Hargrove will become Northfield Mount Hermon’s 12th head of school officially on July 1, 2019. Charles A. Tierney III P’16, ’19, ’20 will remain head of school until that time, then resume his position as associate head of school.
Brian is currently the assistant head of school for advancement and communications at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. In him, we have found a true leader for our entire community. Brian understands the rich, strong culture of NMH and personally embodies the school’s mission of humanity and purpose. He appreciates the work our dedicated and passionate teachers do to help students extend themselves intellectually. He brings people together, and is a positive, solution-oriented person. I’m excited to work with him to continue moving NMH forward.
Guided by Jay Kaplan ’72, the Head of School Search Committee sought a person who shared NMH’s most important values and who possessed the leadership qualities needed to embrace the school’s strengths and challenges in this ever-changing world. Trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, and students were involved in this eight-month search process. The committee and our professional consultants closely considered nearly 60 candidates before selecting Brian.
Over the past two decades, Brian has successfully held leadership roles both in education and in the private sector. He has led two of the largest day- and boarding-school fundraising campaigns on record. He headed team efforts that brought in $110 million while he was director of development at St. Mark’s School of Texas, his high school alma mater, and then generated $300 million for Mercersburg Academy. Brian began his advancement career at Gettysburg College, his undergraduate alma mater. Previously, he worked at the data company PCI in Dallas, and served as vice president and partner at Heyman Associates, an executive search firm in New York City.
Brian holds a master’s degree in school leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Texas State University. He is active in the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and he co-founded ISLG (Independent School Leadership Group), a CASE-sponsored consortium of leading independent school advancement programs.
For more details, you can read Brian’s thoughts on being named head-of-school designate and learn about the search process.
Brian’s appointment comes at a great time for NMH. We are fully enrolled, and students are deeply engaged in their academic, athletic, and cocurricular pursuits. Faculty and staff are working tirelessly to make each student’s experience here special. NMH is strong and secure, and we anticipate a great future under Brian’s leadership. I trust you will join me in welcoming Brian, his wife, Linda, and their children, Lois, Faith, Mac, and Mary Claire, to the Northfield Mount Hermon community.
Mariah Draper Calagione ’89, P’18, ’20
Chair, NMH Board of Trustees
Brian H. Hargrove Named NMH's Next Head of School
Oct. 1, 2018 — The Northfield Mount Hermon Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Brian H. Hargrove as NMH’s 12th head of school, effective July 1, 2019. Charles A. Tierney III will continue as head of school until that time, then resume his post as associate head of school. The announcement follows a national search launched in February 2018.
Hargrove is currently assistant head of school for advancement and communications at Mercersburg Academy, a coed boarding and day school in Pennsylvania with about 440 students.
“I am honored by the appointment and committed to serving NMH with the kind of devotion, optimism, and love that shaped the school for nearly 140 years,” said Hargrove. “NMH stands as one of the great schools in our nation. Its mission, history, and promise for the future afford all of us a remarkable opportunity at this important moment in the life of our school. We will serve our students in ways true to our character and, in doing so, raise the bar for all schools. How could I not be excited by this bold endeavor?”
“In Brian, we have found a true educational leader for our entire community,” said Mariah Draper Calagione ’89, P’18, ’20, chair of the NMH Board of Trustees. “He understands the rich, strong culture of NMH and embodies excellence, humanity, and purpose. He appreciates the work our dedicated and passionate teachers do to help students extend themselves intellectually. He’s a collaborative leader who brings people together, and a positive, solution-oriented person.”
Jay Kaplan ’72, head of the search committee, said the group sought “people who shared the values so important to NMH and had the leadership qualities needed to embrace the school’s strengths and challenges in an ever-changing world.” The committee of trustees, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni, along with a professional consulting firm, considered nearly 60 candidates before selecting Hargrove.
“Brian demonstrated that he understood what makes NMH unique and that he wanted to be the person to take NMH into the future,” said Kaplan. “He will be a visible and visionary educational leader, a strategic thinker, and a skillful manager who can mobilize and direct the passion and commitment of the NMH community.”
Over the past two decades, Hargrove has successfully held leadership roles both in education and in the private sector. He has worked in advancement since 1995, leading two of the largest day- and boarding-school fundraising campaigns on record. He headed team efforts that brought in $110 million while he was director of development at St. Mark’s School of Texas, and then generated $300 million for Mercersburg Academy. Hargrove began his advancement career at Gettysburg College, his undergraduate alma mater. He also has business experience, including at the data company PCI in Dallas, and as vice president and partner at Heyman Associates in New York City.
Hargrove holds a master’s degree in school leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Texas State University. He is also active in the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and co-founded ISLG, a CASE-sponsored consortium of leading independent school advancement programs.
Hargrove will move to NMH with his wife Linda — a lawyer — and their four children.
Q&A with Brian Hargrove
How do you feel about the prospect of being NMH’s next head of school?
Has your own educational experience influenced your career goals?
Outstanding teachers and coaches changed the arc of my life. These mentors sought to know me, met me where I stood, and then walked with me as I discovered my best self. Today, I seek to honor their example by doing all that I can to support the essential work of great teachers. As I consider how to accomplish this goal, I rely on three guiding principles — focus on the mission, invest in people, and remain flexible.
My approach to institutional change reflects my personal blend of realism, optimism, and energy. While I believe in the strength of our school, I also recognize that we must lead the way in discovering new opportunities to deliver our mission.
During your campus visit, you said, “I want to change the world through education.” How do you see yourself starting to do that at NMH?
NMH’s story is unique. We embrace our distinctive responsibility to serve many remarkable students, including those who will benefit from an elite education but who would not otherwise be able to receive it. As we honor this legacy, we succeed in equipping the next generation to lead in communities around the world. Really, this is what it is all about … NMH succeeds in nurturing values that translate into individual and collective action. Our world needs citizens endowed with the qualities we nurture in our students. As we succeed, I believe we make a very real difference in the world in which we live.
What’s your sense of NMH’s academics?
NMH’s robust programs underscore how the school seeks to meet the needs of its students today. Leading preparatory schools must give their students the tools they need to thrive in college and in life. From the College-Model Academic Program (CMAP) to broad course offerings, NMH provides its students the freedom — and the challenge — to extend themselves intellectually. Passionate, dedicated teachers cultivate the interests and skills that will equip our graduates to thrive academically long after their time at NMH.
Of equal importance — and I think NMH students benefit from extraordinary advantages in this area — great schools must move beyond the head to develop each student’s heart and hand, too. From the work program to the school farm to an abiding commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion, NMH devotes itself to giving all students the opportunity to discover their best selves.
What does NMH’s mission mean to you?
The head, heart, and hand — these words resonate powerfully with me. Indeed, they describe the anchors of my own life-changing secondary education at St. Mark’s School of Texas. Few schools succeed in holding to their “true north” in the way NMH has done. It is extraordinary how NMH’s rich DNA continues to inform all that the school does. This is unique. It is powerful. And it must be leveraged further as we live our mission to engage each student’s intellect, compassion, and talents so they may act with humanity and purpose in all that they do.
Were there specific moments during your campus visit that made you really want this job?
As Linda and I met with members of the NMH community and toured campus, we both were pulled in with each successive step. The natural beauty of the campus is awe-inspiring; it calls each visitor to connect with the earth in powerful ways. Yet as stunning as the campus is, it really is no match for the people. Linda and I connected with the heartfelt nature of the community and NMH’s profound commitment to helping young people become their best selves intellectually and socially. It is so clear that students and adults alike love the school and believe in its mission. Even in the midst of a rather intense interview process, we found ourselves laughing and dreaming in equal measure! It’s clear: NMH is a fun and fulfilling place to live and work.
What did you take away from your conversations with students and faculty about the academic community at NMH?
The heart of all schools is the people — the students, teachers, coaches, and staff members who devote themselves to common goals in the classrooms and laboratories, on the playing fields and stages, and beyond. At boarding schools, this noble work extends across campus and beyond the limitations of the school day. We give vital space in which community can develop and learning can occur. This is where boarding schools soar.
In conversations with adults and students alike, it was abundantly clear how deeply committed to one another the NMH community is. There is also a shared sense of pride in the school’s history and a commitment to living its mission. This sets NMH apart, and it is one of the qualities I hope to build on in the years ahead.
What is your vision for NMH?
I’m going to resist the temptation to answer this question in the weeks and months ahead. Before I can possibly offer “my” vision, I must walk with the community and seek to understand more fully the school’s collective strengths, opportunities, and challenges.
As we walk together, I believe our shared vision for NMH will become abundantly clear to all. The opportunity, I think, is working together to embrace our mission and history. As we do, I believe we will succeed in differentiating further our vision for NMH in the years ahead. We are in it together.
How are you feeling about working with NMH Board of Trustees Chair Mariah Calagione?
Mariah is amazing! She is a gifted leader. A devoted parent, successful entrepreneur, and passionate alumna, Mariah represents exactly the kind of partner one seeks in a board chair. Her love for NMH shines through in her service to her alma mater. Her passion for the school to be its best collective self challenges us all. And her willingness to do the hard work required to support and nurture our team in the years ahead gives me great confidence and hope for our school.
What would you like people to know about your family?
Linda and I have four children — Lois, Faith, Mac, and Mary Claire, from oldest to youngest. Linda practiced law in New York City and Dallas. With the move to Mercersburg, she focused her energies on our shared work at the school, where she most recently has served as the community relations liaison.
Reactions to the Head of School Announcement from Members of the NMH Community
“In him, we have found a true leader for our entire community. Brian understands the rich, strong culture of NMH and personally embodies the school’s mission of humanity and purpose. He appreciates the work our dedicated and passionate teachers do to help students extend themselves intellectually. He brings people together, and is a positive, solution-oriented person. I’m excited to work with him to continue moving NMH forward.”
— Mariah Draper Calagione ’89, P’18, ’20, chair of the NMH Board of Trustees
“While the search committee was particularly impressed by Brian’s embodiment of our mission, by his strategic thinking, and by his track record of building critical relationships that enabled other institutions to realize their promise, I was most taken by his genuine engagement and palpable desire to help NMH become the best version of itself.”
— David duKor-Jackson P’21, search committee member and NMH college counselor
“Brian was not looking to become head of just any school; he was attracted to our school. Brian is the paragon of ‘What you see is what you get.’ He is direct, honest, and shows humanity at every turn.”
— Peter Weis ’78, P ’13, ’21, search committee member and NMH archivist
“Brian demonstrated that he understood what makes NMH unique and that he wanted to be the person to take NMH into the future. He will be a visible and visionary educational leader, a strategic thinker, and a skillful manager who can mobilize and direct the passion and commitment of the NMH community. It’s fortunate that we’ll have leadership from a new board chair and a new head of school simultaneously. They’ll build a relationship to support the future of the school together, with a single vision.”
— Jay Kaplan ’72, trustee, chair of the Head of School Search Committee
“Brian introduced himself to NMH as ‘raised in a family of preachers, teachers, and entrepreneurs’ — an upbringing rich with high-impact work with an eye toward service, justice, and equality. Described by colleagues as effective, innovative, and relentlessly positive, Brian excels in community building, strategic planning, and advancement.”
— Breanna Kirk P’20, ’21, Parents Council representative to the search committee
“Brian is a great choice as the next head of school not only because his leadership skills are evident, but also because he leads with humility and grace. While the daily effort of NMH teachers and staff keeps the enterprise running, in Brian, we will have a leader who means to walk with us as we strive to do our best and be our best for our students and for each other.”
— Sandy Messer, P’06, ’13, ’16, search committee member and English teacher
“The search committee was seeking a leader who could appreciate the history and mission of the school and could understand and address the priority of financial sustainability for Northfield Mount Hermon. It became increasingly evident that Brian has the passion for education, and for NMH in particular, and is the strategic thinker that NMH needs at this moment in its history. Also, Brian’s beliefs that ‘schools stand as powerful forces for good’ resonated with me personally. NMH needs a leader who can raise the school to new heights. Brian’s statement that he recognizes ‘the power of engaging the breadth of community in a single enterprise’ speaks to this sense of passion and purpose.”
— Kristin Kellom ’80, P’17, ’20, search committee member and director of stewardship
“I really liked the way he listened to me and made me feel important.”
— a student who had dinner with Brian
Excerpts from comments submitted anonymously to the search committee by faculty and staff after Brian’s campus visit:
- “... a bright, articulate, and thoughtful person. He has lots of good independent-school experience and a strong financial background. I think he has the confidence and tact to make the tough decisions and the strength to stay the course when needed or adjust when needed.”
- “He seems to be a person of intelligence and faith, which is a good match for NMH.”
- “He has a sincere vision for NMH that aligns with how I see NMH — one where NMH sets an example for other schools, rather than trying to be just like those other schools.”
- “His passion/vision is palpable.”
- “He grasps the ethos here.”
- “Mr. Hargrove spoke articulately and authentically of the school’s mission.”
- “His leadership style is what we need.”
- “He speaks with clarity and insight, is direct and confident. Has experience leading. Seems to know how to get a job done.”
- “I was quite impressed with his overall demeanor, along with his background. It is refreshing to see a person who understands that the school, as he put it, ‘needs to provide what is promised.’”
- Head of School Transition Process
- Head of School Search Committee
- 2018-19 Head of School
- More Information
In February of 2018, the NMH Board of Trustees officially launched the search for the successor of Peter B. Fayroian, who served as Head of School from July 2012 through July 2018.
The board formed a search steering committee (members are listed below) whose first step was to select a consulting firm that specializes in independent-school-leadership searches. This firm guided us in conducting an inclusive and thorough hiring process, and in reaching out to prospective candidates around the world.
In keeping with best practices outlined by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the decision to hire a new head of school was made by the board of trustees as a whole, supported by the advice and counsel of the search committee, and with active input from all parts of the NMH community.
The search committee was charged with hiring a search consultant, inviting and considering input from the NMH community throughout the search process, developing an ideal candidate profile, and assessing qualifications of and interviewing candidates.
Members were carefully selected to provide a diverse set of skills, backgrounds, and perspectives.
- Jay Kaplan ’72, chair, trustee
- Mariah Calagione ’89, P’18, ’20, trustee
- David Dukor-Jackson P’21, faculty
- Alison Elliott ’71, trustee
- Josephine Hart ’74, Speer fellow
- Lauren Hokin ’95, trustee
- Kristin Kellom ’80, P’17, ’19, Staff
- Breanna Kirk P’20, ’21, Parents Council
- Sandy Messer P’06, ’13, ’16, faculty
- David Steinberg ’79, trustee
- Molly Talbot ’93, P’21, Alumni Council president, trustee
- Justin Wai ’02, trustee
- Peter Weis ’78, P’13, faculty
- Ex officio: Carrie Niederman ’78, trustee
To contact a member of the committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate Head of School Charles A. Tierney III P’16, ’19, ’20 is serving as interim head of school from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
Tierney has the expertise and support to continue NMH’s momentum as a leader among independent schools. He has been immersed in all aspects of NMH life for two decades.
At NMH, Tierney has been a history teacher, coach, dorm advisor, dean, accreditation coordinator, assistant head of school, plant facilities director, communications director, and interim head of school.
From 2014 to 2016, he led the Tatnall School in Wilmington, Delaware, serving as head. Tierney also has been director of studies at St. Stephen’s School in Rome, and has taught at Choate Rosemary Hall and the Berkshire School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College and a master’s in educational leadership and administration from Teachers College of Columbia University while he was a year-long Klingenstein Fellow.
In March and April we welcomed Head of School Designate Brian H. Hargrove and his wife, Linda Hargrove, to the NMH community at events in Boston, San Francisco, and New York City. Along with alumni, parents, and friends of NMH, we toasted the launch this new chapter of school leadership, and 140 years of educating the head, heart, and hand.