n May, the Board of Trustees announced that Head of School Gary J. Niels will step down at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. Following is an excerpt from the letter Board President Jennifer Gonzalez McComb ’89 emailed to the community sharing this news. You can find her full letter at www.winchesterthurston.org/headsearch.

“After 15 years of exceptional leadership, Gary Niels informed the Board of Trustees that he will conclude his tenure as Head of Winchester Thurston School at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year. While the Board would like nothing more than for Gary to continue to lead Winchester Thurston, we accept his decision with the utmost gratitude and admiration for all that he has done for our school.

“Gary has led WT through the creation of extraordinary opportunities that have resulted in momentous change, including: transforming our campuses; strengthening our financial sustainability; generating innovative programs; achieving record enrollment; establishing a national reputation; and realizing remarkable advances in philanthropy.

“WT has benefitted greatly from Gary’s absolute dedication to students and teachers, as well as his foresight, wisdom, and commitment to coalescing teams. He has acted always with the school’s Mission and credo at the center of every decision. WT is a stronger and more diverse school community because of Gary’s leadership.

“As we move forward, the Board is confident that one of the legacies of Gary’s Headship is that WT is in a superb position to attract the best possible candidates for his successor. We all look forward to the future of Winchester Thurston with great optimism.”

The Head of School Search Committee selected Wickenden Associates, based in Princeton, New Jersey, to  conduct a national search. For updates, visit www.winchesterthurston.org/headsearch. And, watch for a tribute to Gary’s impact on the school in the Winter 2017 issue of Thistletalk.

Head of School Search Committee:

Paul Rosenblatt, Trustee and alumnae/i parent, Search Committee Chair

Kerry Bron ’84, Trustee

Kristen A. Burns, Trustee and WT parent

Cindy Akers Gerber, Trustee and alumnae/i parent

Henry Posner III, Emeritus Trustee and alumnae/i parent, former Board President

Martin E. Powell, Trustee and alumnae/i parent, former Board President

Kelly Hanna Riley ’91, Trustee and WT parent