About Us

Head of School Search

From The Board

May 12, 2022

Dear Houston Christian Family and Friends,
 
With Dr. Livingston’s decision to retire as Houston Christian High School’s (Houston Christian) Head of School effective June 2023, a search for a new Head of School begins. Houston Christian’s Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for selecting our new Head, and is committed to a process which is inclusive, transparent, and broadly focused. To support and facilitate this very important task, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mike Gustafson has requested that I Chair the Head of School Search Committee, and I have accepted. 
 
The Head of School Search Committee
The Board has appointed a Search Committee to guide and oversee the search process. I am humbled and blessed to serve with this talented team that is passionate about identifying the best candidate to lead our school. All the Search Committee members have a strong connection to Houston Christian; they include parents of alumni and current students, retired faculty, and current and former trustees. And, while he is not a member of the Committee, we are thankful that Dr. Livingston has offered to make himself available as a resource to the Committee and the new Head of School. 
 
The Search Consultants
One of the Committee’s first assignments was to identify and select an executive search firm to work with the Committee and the Board. Several search firms were identified and interviewed. The Committee recommended and the Board of Trustees selected The Education Group (TEG), a nationally recognized search firm specializing in recruiting heads and other senior administrators for independent schools. 
 
Our search will be led by Dr. John Cooper and Dr. Susan Lair. Both John and Susan have extensive experience as heads of independent schools, as well as many years of consulting experience and broad networks in the Texas market. Perhaps most importantly, they both have a passion for understanding a school’s unique culture and needs and finding the ideal recruit who fits that niche at a particular point in time. Please see additional biographical information for John and Susan below:
 
Dr. John Cooper
More than forty years’ experience in education as a college dean and professor, think tank president, consultant, and independent school headmaster (23 years as head of school in independent and faith-based schools). Board member, Independent Schools Association of the Southwest. Doctorate in Religion from Syracuse University. 
 
Dr. Susan Lair
More than forty years’ experience in education as a middle school/high school teacher, administrator in public and private schools, (24 years as upper school head and head of school in independent and faith-based schools). Board member, Independent Schools Association of the Southwest. Doctorate in Education Administration from University of Texas. 
 
The Process
John and Susan will be on the Houston Christian campus Tuesday, May 17th. Their visit will include an intense effort to meet in focus groups with administrators, faculty, staff, and students. They will also spend time with the Search Committee, members of the Board of Trustees, and other members of the Houston Christian community, including parents.
 
Additionally, as part of their discovery process, John and Susan have created an online Survey Questionnaire to solicit confidential perspectives from the entire Houston Christian community. Survey Questionnaires sent to parents, employees, trustees, and friends of school provide vital information about the hopes and dreams of the Houston Christian community. Survey results and information shared during focus meetings help our consultants develop a detailed document that includes a School and Position Profile, highlighting the personal and professional qualities and qualifications Houston Christian seeks in its next Head of School. In addition, the survey helps to engage, inform, and provide transparency to the Houston Christian community, including many who are eager to participate in and support the search process. Please see the link to the Survey Questionnaire included in this email. We encourage everyone to participate in this critical process and share your candid views. Responses are due by May 20, 2022. 
 
We are currently targeting a mid-June deadline for applications and will spend the coming months assessing the candidates and narrowing the field. We anticipate that the Board will have selected our next Head of School by the end of this year. This selection timing will give our new Head of School appropriate time to give proper notice to his or her current employer and to work with Dr. Livingston to ensure a smooth transition. 
 
We will keep you apprised of our progress throughout the search process. Should you have questions about the search process that are not answered in our routine communications, please direct all inquiries to me by email.
 
Conclusion
While we congratulate Dr. Livingston on his decision to retire as Houston Christian’s Head of School and celebrate the almost twenty-five years of tremendous success Houston Christian has experienced under his leadership, we look forward to Houston Christian’s next chapter and helping the Board find the best possible person to build on the outstanding school and organization that Dr. Livingston has been so instrumental in creating. Thanks to all of you for your commitment to this process. We cherish your prayers for Houston Christian and this search process as we proceed.
 
Very truly yours,
 
Kevin M. McDonald
Houston Christian High School
Head of School Search Committee Chair

List of 4 items.

  • Search Process

    Houston Christian High School is conducting a national search for a Head of School. Accordingly, we have contracted with The Education Group (TEG), an independent school head search, executive coaching, and consulting firm to assist us in conducting our search. HC looks forward to working with TEG as we begin this process. For the Head of School position, the Board is committed to engaging our school community in the search process.
    Our search will be led by Dr. John Cooper and Dr. Susan Lair. Both John and Susan have extensive experience as heads of independent schools, as well as many years of consulting experience and broad networks in the Texas market. Perhaps most importantly, they both have a passion for understanding a school’s unique culture and needs and finding the ideal recruit who fits that niche at a particular point in time. Please see additional biographical information for John and Susan below:

    Dr. John Cooper
    More than forty years’ experience in education as a college dean and professor, think tank president, consultant, and independent school headmaster (23 years as head of school in independent and faith-based schools). Board member, Independent Schools Association of the Southwest. Doctorate in Religion from Syracuse University. 
     
    Dr. Susan Lair
    More than forty years’ experience in education as a middle school/high school teacher, administrator in public and private schools, (24 years as upper school head and head of school in independent and faith-based schools). Board member, Independent Schools Association of the Southwest. Doctorate in Education Administration from University of Texas. 


  • Search Timeline

    • Planning and Launch of the Search (May 2022)
    • Candidate Development (May - June 2022)
    • Candidate Screening (June - August 2022)
    • Selection Process: Semifinalists (August - September 2022)
    • Selection Process: Finalists (September - October 2022)
    • Transition Support (November and ongoing through the new Head’s first year)

    To download a copy of the Search Timeline, click here.
  • Head of School Position Profile

    Houston Christian High School seeks an experienced and distinguished Christian leader to serve as chief strategist, visionary, and institution-builder, setting the tone and securing all necessary resources while maintaining campus-wide accountability for institutional results and fidelity to the School’s mission, core values, and culture. The Head of School will demonstrate leadership agility to quickly integrate and embody the School’s values, instill trust, and engage stakeholders. The next Head of School, effective July 2023, must have an engaging personality, a Christ-centered lifestyle, and be a dynamic, innovative, and goal-oriented professional. The School seeks an individual that will continue its educational philosophy of academic excellence in a vibrant, challenging, and welcoming Christian environment overseeing finances, fundraising, marketing, facilities, constituency relations, and admissions. The successful candidate will play a central role in continuing to shape Houston Christian spiritually, academically, culturally, physically, and financially; the future for the School is indeed bright, and the critical building blocks are in place for long-term success.
  • Community Updates

Head of School Search Committee

Kevin McDonald
Search Committee Chair
(trustee, current and alumni parent)

Suzette Estes
(former HC principal)

John Gualy
(trustee, alumni parent)

Gunner Gundersen
(“founding pastor” board member)

Mike Handel
(former board chair, alumni parent)

Gail Stewart
(trustee vice-chair, alumni parent)

Mike Gustafson
ex officio
(trustee chair, past parent)