A Message from the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

As we move into the spring semester, I want to update you again on the presidential search process.
 
Our search consultants at Isaacson, Miller spent much of the fall semester building the strongest possible pool of candidates. They did so using the university profile, which serves as a foundation for the search and articulates the priorities, attributes, challenges, and qualifications for the next president. There is high interest in the position and Lesley University. The search committee is pleased that Lesley’s profile has attracted a robust and diverse group of candidates with extremely strong credentials.
 
The search committee is now in the midst of the evaluation phase of the process. The committee has reviewed information about the applicants and narrowed the candidate pool. Our next step will be to conduct interviews with semi-finalists. The committee will then select a smaller number of candidates for second-round interviews and additional evaluation.
 
On behalf of the search committee, we are grateful for your involvement and continued interest in the process and appreciate the efforts many of you have made to bring highly-qualified candidates to our attention. I will continue to provide updates as we move forward with the process.

I encourage you to check this website for updates throughout the search process, or reach me directly at presidentialsearch@lesley.edu.

Sincerely,

Michelle N. O’Brien
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Presidential Search Profile

Read more about Lesley University and the leadership agenda for the next president.

Download (PDF)

aerial view of lesley campus

Updates from the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

Updates and messages from the Chair of the Presidential Search committee are archived here.

  • November 15, 2018: Presidential Search Update

    Dear Members of the Lesley Community,
     
    Throughout the fall semester, the search consultants working with the presidential search committee (Sheryl Ash and Allison Burson of Isaacson, Miller) conducted a series of meetings, telephone conferences, and listening sessions to gather feedback from various constituencies of the Lesley community regarding the opportunities and challenges for the next president of Lesley. We also circulated an online survey to gather additional information.
     
    On behalf of the presidential search committee, I thank you for your involvement. The information gathered was invaluable; it helped the committee and our consultants identify and articulate the attractions and challenges of the university as well as the priorities, attributes, and qualifications for our next president. The profile that was developed is the foundation for the search and will be used extensively throughout the recruiting phase of the process.

    As we move into the recruitment phase of the search, which will span the rest of the fall semester and into the start of the spring semester, the Isaacson, Miller team will work to build the strongest possible pool of candidates. Any nominations for the position can be sent to Allison Burson at aburson@imsearch.com.  

    In early December, the search committee will participate in unconscious bias training led by Chief Diversity Officer Lilu Barbosa. The committee expects to be advised of the progress of the recruiting effort in mid-December.

    Early next semester, the search process will enter the evaluation phase. The committee will review all applicants, narrow down the pool of candidates, and interview semi-finalists. The committee will then select a smaller number of candidates for second-round interviews.

    I will continue to send updates as we move forward with the process, and post them here on lesley.edu.

    On behalf of the presidential search committee, we are grateful for your interest and involvement in this process. As always, please feel free to contact me at presidentialsearch@lesley.edu.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Michelle N. O’Brien (B.S. Ed. 1982)
    Chair, Presidential Search Committee

  • October 18, 2018: Presidential Search: Invitation to Complete Survey

    Dear Members of the Lesley University Community,
     
    On behalf of the Presidential Search Committee, we would like to thank the community members who were able to join the listening sessions this week with Sheryl Ash and Allison Burson, our search consultants from Isaacson, Miller. The conversations proved informative and thoughtful, highlighting the importance of hearing from as many voices as possible. Your input will inform the institutional profile and position description that serve as the foundation of the search.
     
    We invite all members of the community to participate in a brief survey that will give you an opportunity to voice your thoughts on the significant opportunities and challenges of the university as well as the priorities, attributes, and qualifications of the next president. Please take a few minutes before Friday, October 26 to complete the survey.
     
    I encourage you to keep up with search activities. Additional information and updates about the search can be found on the Presidential Search website.
     
    On behalf of the entire Presidential Search Committee, we appreciate your involvement in this important process. Please feel free to contact me at any time with your thoughts and input. I can be reached at presidentialsearch@lesley.edu.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Michelle N. O’Brien (B.S. Ed. 1982)
    Chair, Presidential Search Committee

  • October 4, 2018: Presidential Search Update and Invitation to Share Input

    Dear Members of the Lesley University Community,
     
    As I noted in my October 2 message, Sheryl Ash and Allison Burson from Isaacson, Miller are assisting us with the presidential search. They will be on campus October 16 and 17for open sessions as well as individual and group meetings with various members of the Lesley community. There will be two open sessions for faculty and two open sessions for staff and administrators. 
     
    October 16
    10 – 10:45    Faculty open session, Alumni Hall, Doble Campus
    3:45 – 4:30   Staff/Administrators open session, Alumni Hall, Doble Campus
     
    October 17
    9 – 9:45        Staff/Administrators open session, UH 3-097, Porter Campus
    3:30 – 4:15   Faculty open session, UH 3-097, Porter Campus
     
    These meetings are an opportunity to provide input on the attractions and challenges of the university as well as the priorities, attributes, and qualifications for our next president. Your input will inform the institutional profile and position description that serve as the foundation of the search. I hope you will attend one of the sessions; we need the thoughtful input of our full community in this effort.
     
    Sheryl and Allison have prepared four questions, listed below, which will guide the conversations. Please come ready to share your thoughts on the following:

    1. As a result of hiring this person, what will be the fundamental differences in Lesley University one year from now, three years from now, or five years from now?
    2. Are there more subjective or informal measures for determining the success of this individual?
    3. What organizational activities need to be sustained? Which ones enhanced? Which ones initiated?
    4. What professional experience and personal qualities are essential for this role? Which ones are desired?

    Additionally, an online questionnaire will be sent to the entire Lesley community in the coming weeks. If you are unable to attend a meeting in person you will still have an opportunity to participate through the survey.
     
    On behalf of the entire Presidential Search Committee, we appreciate your involvement in this important process. Please feel free to contact me at any time with your thoughts and input. I can be reached at presidentialsearch@lesley.edu.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Michelle N. O’Brien (B.S. Ed. 1982)
    Chair, Presidential Search Committee

  • October 2, 2018: An Update from the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

    Dear Members of the Lesley University Community,

    I write with an update on presidential search activities and a request that you participate in upcoming opportunities for the Lesley community to offer input to help shape the institutional profile and position description.

    The Presidential Search Committee interviewed executive search consultants last month and selected Isaacson, Miller, an executive search firm specializing in higher education executive recruitment for colleges and universities, to provide support throughout the search and selection process. Sheryl Ash, partner, and Allison Burson, senior associate, will bring their significant experience in executive search and higher education to the work of our committee. More information about Sheryl, Allison, and the team at Isaacson, Miller can be found on their website. The Search Committee held a launch meeting with Sheryl and Allison on October 1st.

    In October the Search Committee and the team from Isaacson, Miller will be preparing a profile of Lesley University and description of the president’s position. We will use a combination of listening sessions and a survey to gather input from the Lesley community. Sheryl and Allison will be on campus the week of October 15th for open sessions as well as individual and group meetings with various members of the Lesley community. A schedule of meetings will be sent out shortly. These sessions are an opportunity to voice your thoughts on the significant opportunities and challenges of the university as well as the priorities, attributes, and qualifications of the next president.

    Additionally, an online questionnaire will be sent to the entire Lesley community in the coming weeks. If you are unable to attend a meeting in person you will still have an opportunity to participate through the survey.

    Inquiries and nominations for the position can be sent directly to Allison Burson at Isaacson, Miller at aburson@imsearch.com. A Source/Candidate Suggestion List is attached.

    I encourage you to keep up with search activities. Additional information and updates about the search can be found on the Presidential Search website.

    As always, I welcome your thoughts and input at any time during this important process and will continue to keep you up to date with search developments. I can be reached via email at presidentialsearch@lesley.edu.

    Sincerely,

    Michelle N. O’Brien
    Chair, Presidential Search Committee

  • August 20, 2018: An Update from the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

    Dear Members of the Lesley University Community,

    I write with an update on the Presidential Search Committee and the next steps in the search process. First, I wish to thank the many members of the Lesley community who expressed interest in serving on the committee or nominated a colleague. As a result, we have a very strong Search Committee comprised of the following members:

    • Hal Belodoff, Trustee
    • Christina Chandler, Director, Academic Advising and Student Services
    • Margaret Everett, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
    • Nina Houghton, Trustee
    • Juanita James, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees
    • Jana Karp, Trustee
    • Dee Lane, Executive Director of Advancement Operations
    • MaryPat Lohse, Vice President for Strategy and Implementation
    • Kimberly Lowe, Assistant Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
    • Michael Mooney, Trustee
    • Paul Naso, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
    • David Newton, Trustee
    • Michelle O’Brien, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, Trustee
    • Barbara Russell, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees
    • Lisa Spitz, Assistant Professor, Lesley Art + Design
    • Hans Strauch, Chair of the Board of Trustees
    • Sidney Trantham, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences

    The presidential search includes four stages: preparation, recruitment, evaluation, and selection. The Search Committee will hold its first meeting this week and our first priority will be to identify an executive search firm to support the search process. After the Search Committee selects a search firm, we will continue the preparation phase, which includes the important element of gathering input from the Lesley community to inform the institutional profile and position description. These documents will serve as a key recruitment tool and provide prospective candidates with essential information and insights regarding the institution and the position. We anticipate using surveys and face-to-face meetings early in the fall semester to gather community input. We will provide additional information in September. 

    On behalf of the Presidential Search Committee, we appreciate your involvement in this important process. I welcome your input and can be reached via email at presidentialsearch@lesley.edu. Information regarding the chosen search firm as well as a link to the presidential search web site will be shared with the community in the coming weeks.

    Thank you for your support.

    Sincerely,

    Michelle N. O’Brien
    Chair, Presidential Search Committee

  • August 1, 2018: Nominations requested for Presidential Search Committee

    Dear Members of the Lesley Faculty, Administration, and Staff,

    I write as chair of the Presidential Search Committee to request nominations from faculty, administrators, and staff to serve on the Presidential Search Committee. I welcome self-nominations as well as nominations of other individuals. As outlined in the Board of Trustees’ charge, the Search Committee’s role is to:

    1. Adopt a timetable for the search that is expected to result in the new president commencing his or her appointment on July 1, 2019;

    2. Retain the services of an executive search firm to assist the Committee in the search process;

    3. Conduct an active national search to attract highly qualified candidates;

    4. Make periodic reports to the Board of Trustees and members of the University community about the progress of the search;

    5. Observe confidentiality in the conduct of the search (a breach of confidentiality may result in removal from the committee by the chair without replacement); and

    6. Present one or more candidates to the Board of Trustees for its consideration; the Board of Trustees shall select and appoint the new president.

    The Search Committee will be comprised of nine Board members, four faculty members, and three administrators/staff. As you consider submitting a nomination, please note that this work will require a significant time commitment. The search process begins this summer and extends through the 2018-2019 academic year. The first meeting of the Search Committee will take place early in the week of August 20, and we expect to interview search firms the week of September 10. We want to invite our chosen firm to campus early in the fall semester to meet with community members to inform the development of the prospectus.

    Although the work varies in intensity depending on the phase of the process, all members of the Presidential Search Committee will need to commit many hours to Committee service. Our tasks will include, for example, reviewing materials, attending Committee meetings, and participating in day-long interviews with candidates. Most of this activity will take place during the workday (Monday through Friday), although Saturday interviews are likely. The work will likely be heaviest during the early and late fall and early winter. In order to participate fully, it is extremely important for Committee members to have a great deal of flexibility in their schedules. As a reminder, confidentiality is of utmost importance throughout the process.

    If you are interested in serving on the Presidential Search Committee, are available during the times indicated above, and are able to commit to the effort as outlined, please send your nomination to me at presidentialsearch@lesley.edu by Friday, August 10. As noted above, you may also nominate a colleague. Please organize your nomination in two paragraphs, addressing why you’re interested (or you believe your nominee would be interested) in serving on the Committee and what strengths and contributions you or your nominee would bring to the Committee if selected. Please be sure to include your (or your colleague’s) name, title, contact information, and school or department affiliation. We will make every effort to ensure that the selection of Committee members reflects our schools, units, and all aspects, interests, and needs of the University.

    As Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, I look forward to receiving your nominations and to working with all of you throughout this important process. Thank you very much.

    Sincerely,

    Michelle N. O’Brien
    Chair, Presidential Search Committee

  • July 30, 2018: A Message from Board Chair Hans Strauch

    Dear Members of the Lesley Community,

    As you are aware, President Weiss has announced that he will step down at the end of August due to personal health reasons, and Richard Hansen has been selected to serve as Interim President. One of the most important responsibilities of the Board of Trustees is to select our next president. The Board has discussed the presidential search process and unanimously adopted a charge to the Presidential Search Committee describing its role and responsibilities. The charge is included at the end of this message for your information.

    The Board is in the process of convening a search committee. I have asked Trustee Michelle O’Brien to chair the search committee, and she has agreed to take on this important work. Michelle is a Lesley alumna and served as a Corporator from 1998-2009 before being elected to the Board in 2010. Michelle is extremely talented and will do a fantastic job leading the search. We expect that the search committee will be comprised of 9 Board members, 4 faculty members, and 3 administrators/staff. Michelle will be in touch seeking nominations from faculty, administrators, and staff to serve on the search committee.

    The search committee will begin its work with the selection of an executive search firm to assist with the search. Working with the search firm, the committee will develop a timeline for the search with the expectation that the new president can be in place by July 2019. Once it has been developed, a draft timeline will be shared with the community to provide an overview of the process. There will be opportunities for members of the Lesley community to meet with the search firm early in the fall semester to inform the development of the prospectus and identify the desired attributes of the next president. Michelle will keep the Lesley community as well as the full Board informed of the progress as the search moves forward.

    As Chair of the Board of Trustees and a long-time Trustee, I am committed to a comprehensive, transparent process. Thank you very much for your support and involvement as we engage in this important work, and please be on the lookout for Michelle’s request for nominations.

    Regards,

    Hans Strauch
    Chair, Board of Trustees


    Lesley University Board of Trustees
    Presidential Search

    On July 25, 2018 the Board of Trustees voted to form a Presidential Search Committee for the purpose of conducting a search for the University’s next president. Michelle N. O’Brien shall serve as Chair of the Board’s Presidential Search Committee. Ms. O’Brien, working with Board Vice Chairs Juanita James and Barbara Russell, and in consultation with Board Chair Hans Strauch, shall select the remaining members of the Presidential Search Committee, provided that Trustees shall comprise at least a majority of the members of the Committee and that there shall also be faculty and staff members on the Committee.

    The Presidential Search Committee shall undertake the following:

    1. Adopt a timetable for the search that is expected to result in the new president commencing his or her appointment on July 1, 2019;

    2. Retain the services of an executive search firm to assist the Committee in the search process;

    3. Conduct an active national search to attract highly qualified candidates;

    4. Make periodic reports to the Board of Trustees and members of the University community about the progress of the search;

    5. Observe confidentiality in the conduct of the search (a breach of confidentiality may result in removal from the committee by the chair without replacement); and

    6. Present one or more candidates to the Board of Trustees for its consideration; the Board of Trustees shall select and appoint the new president.

Presidential Search Committee Members
The Presidential Search Committee is comprised of 9 Board members, 4 faculty members, and 4 administrators/staff. The Search Committee will conduct a national search so that the Board of Trustees may select a new president who will commence his or her appointment on July 1, 2019.
Lunder Arts Center at night


Charge to the Presidential Search Committee

On July 25, 2018 the Board of Trustees voted to form a Presidential Search Committee for the purpose of conducting a search for the University’s next president. Michelle N. O’Brien shall serve as Chair of the Board’s Presidential Search Committee. Ms. O’Brien, working with Board Vice Chairs Juanita James and Barbara Russell, and in consultation with Board Chair Hans Strauch, shall select the remaining members of the Presidential Search Committee, provided that Trustees shall comprise at least a majority of the members of the Committee and that there shall also be faculty and staff members on the Committee.

The Presidential Search Committee shall undertake the following:

  1. Adopt a timetable for the search that is expected to result in the new president commencing his or her appointment on July 1, 2019;
  2. Retain the services of an executive search firm to assist the Committee in the search process;
  3. Conduct an active national search to attract highly qualified candidates;
  4. Make periodic reports to the Board of Trustees and members of the University community about the progress of the search;
  5. Observe confidentiality in the conduct of the search (a breach of confidentiality may result in removal from the committee by the chair without replacement); and
  6. Present one or more candidates to the Board of Trustees for its consideration; the Board of Trustees shall select and appoint the new president.

Presidential Search Firm: Isaacson, Miller

The Presidential Search Committee has selected Isaacson, Miller, an executive search firm specializing in higher education executive recruitment for colleges and universities, to provide support throughout the search and selection process.

Isaacson, Miller Consultants:

  • Sheryl Ash, Partner

    Sheryl Ash joined the firm in 1997 and is a partner and a member of the executive committee. She has built the firm’s arts education practice and has recruited presidents and deans for many of the country’s leading colleges of fine and performing arts, architecture, and design. She also works closely with boards of trustees on CEO-level searches across many practice areas, including K-12 independent schools, colleges and universities, and cultural organizations and foundations. Prior to her career in executive search, Sheryl was a public school teacher and a program director for the North Carolina Outward Bound School. She has a BA degree from Cornell College, a master’s degree in Teaching (MAT) from Wesleyan University, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

  • Tatiana Oberkoetter, Associate

    Tatiana Oberkoetter joined Isaacson, Miller in 2016 as a Search Coordinator and became an Associate in 2018. In her role as a Search Coordinator, she acted as a liaison for clients, candidates, and the search team and coordinated the logistical and administrative needs for searches, primarily within the higher education sector. Tatiana is active with the firm’s Civic Engagement Steering Committee, encouraging civic and community involvement at the firm, and has also been part of the Boston office’s sustainability initiative.

    Prior to joining the firm, Tatiana worked at Milbury and Company Real Estate, where she provided marketing and administrative assistance to the company. She also interned with a representative at the Massachusetts State House, assisting with constituent services and learning about the legislative process.

  • Katie Rockman, Managing Associate

    Katie Rockman joined Isaacson, Miller in 2012 and has served a variety of clients in the education sector, both K-12 organizations and colleges and universities, as well as several philanthropic organizations. She has conducted numerous higher education presidential searches, including placements at New York University, Central European University, The Julliard School, and EARTH University. Her deep experience across our firm’s K-12 work includes searches for heads of independent schools, foundation program directors and officers, and executive directors of state education departments and a charter association.

    Katie's prior work in education gives her first-hand knowledge of successful academic leadership. Before joining our firm, she was a member of the Office of External Relations at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she helped create content and develop stewardship programs for the school's donor community. Earlier in her career, she worked for an educational recruiting company that specializes in placing K-12 teachers and administrators at independent schools across the country.

    In all of her work, Katie brings a strong and consistent commitment to diversifying the leadership of the civic sector.

students sitting in circle on brattle campus


Contact Us

The Presidential Search Committee is interested in hearing any suggestions or questions that you may have during this search process. Please direct any suggestions or questions to presidentialsearch@lesley.edu.