Head of School Search

The Parish School's New Leader

At the end of the 2018-19 school year, Head of School Nancy Bewley retired, concluding a successful 20-year career at The Parish School. A Search Committee formed to undertake a deliberate and thorough search for Nancy’s successor.

On January 11, 2019, The Parish School's board of trustees announced Cheval Bryant, MCD, CCC-SLP, as The Parish School's next head of school, and she started her role the neginning of June 2019.

Laurie Gutierrez, CPA
Committee Chair
Partner, Blazek & Vetterling Parish parent (2009)
Steven Gordon
Board President
President, Lemonade Day National Parish parent (2002)
Gregory V. Brown General Counsel, Beusa Energy and Evolution Well Services, LLC Parish parent (2009)

Paula Katz

Early Childhood Director,
Becker Early Childhood Center

 
Eleonora Leibman Frosch International Travel Current Parish parent
Tish Trior Peden Community Member Former Parish teacher
Ashleigh Rickertsen Attorney Current Parish parent and 17-18 PTO President
Melanie Seigle,
MA, CCC-SLP, LCSW

Speech-Language Pathologist,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Former Parish Director of Clinic/Admissions

Dear Friends and Families of The Parish School,

During my career at The Parish School, I’ve gone from teaching in the classroom (hugs to my Bewley Bears), to serving as principal. But it has been my greatest honor to share the title of Head of School with two women I have loved and admired, the late Robbin Parish and Margaret Noecker – two women who dedicated their entire lives to the children of The Parish School.

After 20 years of service to The Parish School, I have decided to announce my retirement as Head of School, effective May 31, 2019. It is with a heavy heart that I move on from the community I have known and loved, but I feel fortunate to have seen this school continue to grow and thrive over the past several decades. Accompanying this message, you will hear from Steven Gordon, President of The Parish School Board of Trustees on plans for moving forward.

It has been my pleasure to work with so many talented and dedicated people over the years. Brilliant and innovative programs like Social Learning, Adventure Play, the Arts, puppy raising…all provide additional outlets for our children to find their voice and shine.

As we embark on this transition to find the next Head of School, the word that most comes to mind is resilience. It’s a trait we at The Parish School teach our children every day. And I can’t think of a place that has shown more resilience than The Parish School.

When the administrative building on our old campus on Timberline Road suffered a massive fire, we turned it into an opportunity to create the 17-acre sanctuary we have today – allowing us to serve twice the number of children we previously had.

After our longtime Head of School, Margaret Noecker, passed away, the Margaret Noecker Nature Center was established in her memory. Hiring a Nature Educator, encouraging nature-based classroom projects and constructing a certified outdoor classroom, we provide our children the opportunity to experience nature and learn in ways that can’t be duplicated in a classroom environment.

I know that Parish will continue to show resilience as I transition from this position. The next 18 months will be full of activity, so it’s important to begin the succession process now. I have been in ongoing discussion with the Parish Board of Trustees, who have formed a search committee and timeline to find the next Head of School. I am confident they will select someone who also has as much of a passion for continuing the work of Robbin and Margaret, and for providing the best education for children who have communication delays and learning differences.

Know that I am dedicated to helping in this process and upon my official retirement, will not be far away. You’ll probably find me volunteering on campus all too often, digging in the gardens or stuffing envelopes for that next massive mailing. The Parish School will forever hold a very special place in my heart. As Robbin once said, “We provide children with the tools necessary to succeed in this world and to have faith in themselves to do whatever they want to do and to be whoever they want to be.” As I reflect on the last 20 years of my career at Parish, I realize that I’ve answered the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I’ve become exactly what I wanted to be and done exactly what I needed to do, all thanks to The Parish School.

Sincerely,

Nancy Bewley, MAT, CCC-SLP
Head of School

Dear Friends,

After almost 40 years of dedicated service to the fields of education and speech-language pathology, Nancy Bewley has informed the Board of Trustees that she will retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year, effective May 31, 2019.

Three incredible educators have passionately led The Parish School as head of school over the last 35 years. After the unexpected passing of longtime Head of School Margaret Noecker, the Board of Trustees asked Nancy to step in as interim Head of School in April 2013. In January 2014, after a nationwide search, a board-appointed search committee selected Nancy as the best of many worthy candidates to lead the school during a very difficult time.

I have enjoyed the privilege of working with Nancy for over a decade. She is the consummate professional; no matter the task, she remained positive and never questioned her devotion to the Parish mission. Among the many accomplishments during her tenure as Head of School, she led the school’s reaccreditation in 2014, upgraded the campus technology infrastructure and has done an immense amount to increase the visibility and maintain the reputation of the school.

Now comes the task of finding a Head of School worthy of following in the footsteps of three great leaders. As a first step, former Board Chair Laurie Gutierrez has agreed to serve as the chair of the Search Committee that will undertake a deliberate and thorough search for Nancy’s successor. The Committee will select a firm to conduct a nationwide exploration for the next Head of School. We will pursue input from the Parish community, including current parents, faculty and staff, and will keep you informed throughout the process. We are immensely grateful for Nancy’s contribution to Parish and wish to honor her by ensuring that we find a candidate that can continue her legacy of excellence and commitment. With Nancy remaining in her position for the next 18 months, we will have adequate time to complete the search.

On behalf of the Board, I can assure you that we take the responsibility of selecting our next Head of School very seriously, and will act thoughtfully and carefully. With your help, we will find a new Head of School who will build on Robbin, Margaret and now Nancy’s legacy of excellence and innovation in the education of children who have communication delays and learning differences. The Parish School will continue to be a place where children don’t just grow, they thrive!

Sincerely,

Steven Gordon
President, Board of Trustees

Dear Parish Community,

In December 2017, you received a letter from Nancy Bewley, Head of School, and Steven Gordon, President of the Board of Trustees, announcing Nancy’s retirement at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Nancy has filled a very important role during the school’s history with her visionary leadership as principal for nine years and as head of school for four years.

The Board of Trustees has organized a Head of School Search Committee (HOS Search Committee), which is a sub-committee of the Board of Trustees, to lead the selection of the next Head of School. We are very excited as we embark on this journey and remain steadfast in our commitment to the mission of The Parish School and The Carruth Center.

The HOS Search Committee will be primarily responsible for the following:

  • hiring a search firm,
  • communicating the search progress to the Parish community,
  • obtaining input from the administration, staff, faculty and parents,
  • developing an ideal candidate profile,
  • assessing qualifications and suitability of applicants and interviewing finalists,
  • recommending an outstanding candidate to the Board of Trustees,
  • negotiating an employment contract for the new Head of School,
  • and ensuring an effective transition process once the new Head of School is selected.

The HOS Search Committee is composed of the following current board members selected by the President of the Board of Trustees based on their diverse set of skills, background and perspectives:

Laurie Gutierrez, CPA
Committee Chair
Partner, Blazek & Vetterling Parish parent (2009)
Steven Gordon
Board President
President, Lemonade Day National Parish parent (2002)
Gregory V. Brown General Counsel, Beusa Energy and Evolution Well Services, LLC Parish parent (2009)

Paula Katz

Early Childhood Director,
Becker Early Childhood Center

 
Eleonora Leibman Frosch International Travel Current Parish parent
Tish Prior Peden Community Member Former Parish teacher
Ashleigh Rickerten Attorney Current Parish parent and 17-18 PTO President
Melanie Seigle,
MA, CCC-SLP, LCSW
Speech-Language Pathologist,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Former Parish Director of Clinic/Admissions

The HOS Search Committee is currently evaluating several search firms; we will finalize our selection by April. Once the search firm is chosen, the search team will visit The Parish School and The Carruth Center in May 2018. They will meet with various school constituents (parents, faculty, administrators, staff, students and trustees) in different forums to develop a sense of our community. Your participation and input during this time is very important, as these meetings provide an opportunity to learn more about the process and for your voice to be heard. This information will be used to create a detailed candidate profile, which is critical to a successful search process.

The search for the new Head of School will be national in scope. Keeping confidential the identities of applicants is a critical component for our success, as we will be recruiting high performing candidates who are actively employed. As such, the Search Committee will not comment on individuals participating (or not participating) in our search. Internal candidates will engage in the same process as external candidates.

During the summer and early fall, we will review potential candidates and will select finalists for additional interviews. A recommendation of the proposed Head of School will be made to the Board of Trustees by the HOS Search Committee soon thereafter.

We look forward to keeping you well-informed and involved in the various stages of our search through our website. It is important to note that most of the search process must be confidential, and that will shape the communication. Over the course of the search process, we welcome your thoughts, ideas or concerns, so feel free to reach out to any member of the committee.

We thank you for your support and participation as we begin the process of working together to find our next Head of School.

Sincerely,

Laurie Hill Gutierrez
Chair, Head of School Search Committee

Steven Gordon
President, Board of Trustees

Dear Parish community,

In December 2017, Nancy Bewley, our Head of School, announced she would be retiring in the summer of 2019, after many years of devoted leadership to The Parish School. The Board of Trustees formed a Head of School Search Committee composed of board members who are parents, former parents and educators, to lead the search for our new Head of School. The Head of School Search Committee spent March and April interviewing potential search firms, performing reference checks and completing other due diligence to select the firm best suited to lead our school in this search. 

The Head of School Search Committee is pleased to announce the hiring of The Education Group (TEG) to recruit for our new Head of School, who will begin next July, 2019. TEG, a search and placement firm, brings a deep knowledge of independent schools from 30 years' experience placing school leaders, administrators and educators across the country. Our consultants, Allison Lorimer and Carolyn Miller, have combined service to independent schools of over 40 years. We are pleased they will be leading the search team for The Parish School. 

Our goal for this process is to reflect the thoughts and aspirations of the entire Parish family. Transparency and timely communication are paramount. The search committee and TEG consultants will be on campus this month. The goal of the visit is for the consultants to meet with Nancy Bewley, board members and representatives from various groups, including parents, faculty, staff and administrators. They will also be interacting in classrooms to meet students and view our dynamic program in action. Scheduled meetings will offer the Parish community an opportunity to voice thoughts and opinions on a number of fronts; like what qualities and characteristics are necessary for the new Head of School. These meetings will also be a time for listening and discussing important issues facing the school and new leadership.

We anticipate a six- to eight-month process. As advised by TEG, we likely will need to work confidentially with candidates so that we may recruit and interview the most talented leaders in the country. Once prospects are identified and candidates screened, we take our recommendation to the Board of Trustees, who will make a final decision. The expected start date for the new Head of School is July 1, 2019. Nancy has graciously offered to be available during the summer of 2019 to assist with the transition process, ensuring consistent leadership for the school. 

If you have questions or thoughts that you would like to share with the committee, please email us at Laurie.Gutierrez@BVCPA.com. We will send email and website updates as the search progresses. Thank you all for your support and commitment to The Parish School.

Sincerely,

Laurie Hill Gutierrez
Chair, Head of School Search Committee

Steven Gordon
President, Board of Trustees

Below is the recruitment document The Education Group is sharing with prospective Head of School candidates:

Access the Head of School Search Document

Dear Parish community,

As members of the Parish Board of Trustees, we welcome you back for another fantastic school year! As many of you know, Nancy Bewley will be retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school year. We are pleased to give you an update on the search process for The Parish School's next Head of School.
 
I would like to thank those who completed constituent surveys and met with our search firm, The Education Group (TEG), at the end of last school year. This feedback has been paramount in identifying the key characteristics and qualities needed for our next Head of School.
 
The search for the new Head of School is nation-wide in scope. Over the summer, The Education Group posted ads with approximately 25 publications and organizations across the country. Additionally, they have communicated with more than 150 of their contacts discussing the position profile of the next Head of School. As a result, they have already identified 25 potential candidates - and that candidate list continues to grow.
 
The next step is for candidates to have pre-screening interviews and reference checks with The Education Group. In early October, the Parish Head of School Search Committee (a sub-committee of the Board of Trustees) will select 4- 6 candidates to interview. We plan to make a recommendation to the Board in December for the next Head of School. Upon approval, we will announce the new Head of School to the community in January 2019.
 
We look forward to keeping you well-informed and involved in the various stages of our search through our website. It is important to note that most of the search process must be confidential, and that will shape our communications. Over the course of the search process, we welcome your thoughts, ideas or concerns, so feel free to reach out to any member of the Search Committee.
 
Thank you all for your support and commitment to The Parish School. 

Best regards,

Laurie Hill Gutierrez
Chair, Head of School Search Committee
Laurie.Gutierrez@BVCPA.com

Steven Gordon
President, Board of Trustees
stevenggordon@icloud.com
Dear Parish Community,
This is an update on the Head of School search process. Nancy Bewley announced her retirement in December 2017, providing the Board of Trustees ample time to perform an exhaustive search for our new Head of School. A Head of School Search Committee was appointed by the Board of Trustees. The committee consists of board members, which includes current and past parents, as well as community professionals.

Last spring, the committee selected The Education Group to lead the search due to their reputation, knowledge of the school, and national outreach. They are the same firm used when we performed the search for our current Head of School, Nancy Bewley. In May 2018, The Education Group visited the campus and met with the Board of Trustees, Nancy Bewley, faculty, staff and a parent group, identifying the characteristics desired in our next Head of School. They used this information to prepare and disperse materials on the school and the job description.

This past summer, The Education Group performed a national search and identified 10 qualified candidates for the committee to review. The Head of School Search Committee interviewed the 10 candidates via video conference. The committee then selected four of the candidates for an in-person interview. As part of the in-person interviews, Nancy met the candidates and gave them a tour of the school. Additionally, Nancy has been provided the resumes of the candidates for review and is very excited about the caliber of those who have been identified.

The Head of School Committee is very focused on finding a new Head of School that will embrace our culture and philosophy, while maintaining The Parish School's reputation as the premier school for children who have communication delays and learning differences. The Board of Trustees takes the responsibility of hiring the new Head of School very seriously so that we continue the legacy of Robbin Parish, Margaret Noecker and Nancy Bewley.

Our next steps are to identify the final candidates, perform background and reference checks, make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees of the choice for our next Head of School, and negotiate a contract. These steps will take some time but we hope to announce our next Head of School in January.

It is important to note that most of the search process must be confidential, and that shapes our communications. However, if you have any questions, please reach out to anyone on the committee.

Sincerely,
Laurie Gutierrez
713.907.3166

Dear Parish Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, it is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Cheval Bryant, MCD, CCC-SLP, as The Parish School’s next head of school. The search committee enthusiastically recommended Cheval to the board after an extensive national search process. She will assume the role of head of school on June 3, 2019.

cheval bryant

With more than 20 years of leadership experience in speech-language pathology and special education, Cheval has advocated for students and families as the senior manager in the Office of Special Education at Houston Independent School District for the past seven years. She has a strong background in collaboration with other leaders in planning strategically for student’s academic success. At HISD, she has led trainings for speech-language pathologists and other district staff and has fostered several community partnerships. While overseeing a department of more than 160 speech-language professionals, she has developed policies and procedures and managed finances and recruitment. Prior to this senior management position, she was the owner of a speech therapy clinic, Speech Options, LLC, for 10 years.

Nancy Bewley, retiring head of school, gives a ringing endorsement of her successor. “I was impressed with Cheval’s leadership experience in both small and large settings, as well as her qualifications in both speech-language pathology and special education. Cheval also strikes a healthy balance between professionalism and warm personability. But most importantly, Cheval ‘gets us.’ Our culture and educational philosophy are unique to Parish and set us far apart from other schools. She understands who we are and where we’ve been.”

Cheval earned a Master of Communication Disorders and Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders at Louisiana State University. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Department of Licensing and Regulation’s Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Advisory Board, and the Region IV Education Service Center Leadership Network. ASHA recognized Cheval in 2016 for outstanding contributions to preschool-grade 12 education settings. Additionally, for the past four years, she has presented at both the Texas and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association conventions and is considered an expert in her field.

Throughout her career, Cheval has embraced the philosophy of an educational setting where instruction is carefully designed, while allowing students the freedom to explore their strengths and weaknesses. She understands the importance of teachers establishing relationships with their students and their families.

Cheval believes, “Students should be given daily opportunities to work collaboratively with their peers. The energy of students working together toward a common goal transforms the learning atmosphere in a magical way. I often say to teachers and principals that if your classroom is a ‘sit and get’ environment, there is very little true learning happening. Most importantly, the learning environment and instructional experiences should be both enjoyable for teachers and students!”

Over the coming months, we will keep you informed of transition plans as they are solidified and opportunities to meet Cheval. She is excited to join The Parish School community.

In closing, we would like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Head of School Search Committee: Gregory Brown, Steven Gordon, Paula Katz, Eleonora Leibman, Tish Prior Peden, Ashleigh Rickertsen and Melanie Seigle.

Best Regards,

Laurie Gutierrez
Chair, Head of School Search Committee
Laurie.Gutierrez@BVCPA.com

Steve Gordon
President, Board of Trustees
stevenggordon@icloud.com

 

The Parish School's Board of Trustees recently announced the appointment of Cheval Bryant, MCD, CCC-SLP as the next Head of School. As Cheval transitions into this new role, the following opportunities have been scheduled for her to learn more about our community and meet our families. Please join us in welcoming her at one of these events!

Cheval Bryant Meet & Greet
Limited to current and prospective Parish families.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
6-6:45 p.m.
This event is held prior to the Adult Education session: The Role of Sensory Processing in Self-Regulation. Childcare is provided upon request. RSVP to one or both events!
www.parishschool.org/meetandgreet 

Spring Garden Work Day
Saturday, March 23, 2019
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
www.parishschool.org/spring-gardenday

Life After Parish
Thursday, March 28, 2019
6:30-8 p.m.
www.parishschool.org/lifeafterparish

Spring Fling
Sunday, April 14, 2019
1:30-3:30 p.m.
www.parishschool.org/springfling

Cheval will assume the role of Head of School on June 3, 2019, following the retirement of Nancy Bewley at the end of this school year. For more information on The Parish School's Head of School search process, visit www.parishschool.org/headofschool.

Dear Parish Friends:

What an energizing month of learning and growing it has been for our summer campers, as well as for me! I started my new position as The Parish School’s head of school June 3. I have had the honor and opportunity to shadow Nancy Bewley for the month of June before she headed off on her next adventure – retirement! So much growth and positive change has happened under Nancy’s keen leadership, and I am thrilled to see what the future holds and am so humbled to be trusted by the Board of Trustees to perpetuate the legacy of the school’s great leaders.

I have already learned so much from the students, teachers and Nancy. I have had the pleasure of spending time with many of the campers as I observed and experienced their exuberant spirit, talents and curiosity; as well as the camp teachers’ passion and dedication to “The Parish Way.”

One of the exciting things happening this school year is a significant increase in the number of students served. Enrollment is the highest it has been in six years, and we will now have 16 classes! What does this mean for Parish? We will maintain the same small classes and student/teacher ratios we’ve always had, but we will be adding a modular building to house nature studies and art. I am honored to lead the way as we help even more students not just grow, but thrive!

I see so many wonderful things in store for Parish, and I look forward to supporting what makes this school so special and unique – our commitment to students and whole-child education; our exceptional staff; the school’s core values of creativity, nurture, passion, ethics and people; nature learning and the arts; and so much more.

Lastly, I am eager to meet each of you! Please stop by to say hello, email me to schedule a chat, or join me as I answer questions at the upcoming “Q&A with New HOS” Friday, August 23 from 11:15-12:15 p.m. on campus.

Here’s to a fantastic school year!

Cheval