Head of School Search

As announced on November 29, Head of School Jody Reilly Soja will depart Indian Mountain School at the conclusion of the 2023-2024 academic year. The Board of Trustees recognizes the hiring of a head of school as one of its most important roles and is dedicated to ensuring a successful transition of leadership.

Updates and useful information on the search for our 10th Head of School will be provided on this page.

“IMS is thriving and has grown in every way. As we move into our second century, we are well positioned for this transition."

Latest Update

> Search for Interim Head of School Launched in Partnership with Isaacson, Miller

"We hope to find in an interim head of school a person who will hold our community in firm but gentle hands, supporting our leadership transition with the kind of wisdom that comes from a blend of experience, curiosity, and purpose."

Letters to the Community

Dear IMS Community,

As IMS students and faculty look forward to spring break, the Head of School Search Committee is pleased to announce that our search for an interim head of school is underway.

The Details
The Committee crafted and publicized the interim position profile on February 21, 2024 through our search partner, Isaacson, Miller (IM), and directly via the IMS website. Over the next several weeks, IM will advertise the interim position through several channels including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), in addition to proactively reaching out directly to potential candidates. We encourage you to read the goals and desired qualifications for our interim head of school. Should you have any qualified candidates in your network, please refer them to the Isaacson, Miller team directly.

The Process
The goals and qualifications for our interim head were determined through dozens of conversations with IMS administrators, faculty, parents, and trustees, together with calibrating the demands of current initiatives against the skills necessary to support the IMS team to deliver on this work. We are confident that the stated goals and qualifications are clear and appropriately scoped to attract the right person to shepherd our community through this leadership transition, with an eye toward nurturing joy among our students, sustaining momentum, and empowering our faculty and staff to continue in their growth.

Regardless of the person named as Interim Head of School, our leadership transition over the coming year will significantly fall on the shoulders of our Senior Leadership Team. We are grateful for and confident in their abilities collectively and individually to meet this challenge. In this context, we are opening our search for an interim head of school to both internal as well as external candidates, with the goal of finding the person who can best complement our leadership team and support our faculty, staff, and students during this period of transition.

Next Steps
As we work toward selecting an interim head this spring, we also begin in earnest the search for our permanent head of school. This work starts with our community. Next week, we will launch a community-wide survey seeking your input about the right skills and characteristics for our next head of school and about your priorities for the next head’s work. This survey will remain open until early April, after which we will report themes and highlights to the community. Building on the survey findings, the IM team and the Search Committee will conduct a series of focus groups, interviews, and open forums across our community in early April, to gather additional input. Please look for invitations and schedules this spring.

As always, please reach out to us directly at hos-search@indianmountain.org with any comments or thoughts as we move forward. We are excited and hopeful about the work ahead.


David Nuzum P’25,’27
Savannah Stevenson P’26,’31
Co-chairs, IMS Head of School Search Committee

Dear IMS Community,

Since my last communication to you in January, the Board of Trustees has made significant strides in planning for our Head of School Search. We have begun this work in earnest and from a position of strength. With the commitment to provide consistent communication, I share the following important updates including the timeline for our search, the selection of a search firm, and the formation of our Search Committee. In the coming few weeks, we will also begin to engage the community in this process.

Timeline For Our Search
Over the last several weeks, the Board has consulted with numerous heads of school, board chairs, and search committee chairs of other independent schools to gather their input in defining the process and timeline for our Head of School Search. Universally, we have been advised that we should not rush to fill the role, but rather that we should select an interim head of school to lead the school during the coming academic year 2024-2025 to allow the search committee the time it needs to run a thoughtful and comprehensive search for a permanent head of school. The search for an interim head will be open to both internal and external candidates. This approach is common among independent schools when searching for a new leader. It ensures a smooth transition and maximizes our ability to attract the best candidates possible. Following this approach, the Board of Trustees is actively working with the school’s Senior Leadership Team to identify the priorities for an interim head of school, with the goal of naming an interim head this spring. In the meantime, we have established our Search Committee to begin the process of a rigorous and thorough search for our next head of school, to be identified before the end of the calendar year, to transition into the role in 2025.

Search Firm Partners
I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has retained the services of Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to partner with the Board and the Search Committee. Isaacson, Miller (IM) has an expansive preK-12 education practice and has conducted numerous head of school and senior leadership searches for independent schools, including many prestigious boarding schools familiar to the IMS community (e.g., Hotchkiss, Loomis Chaffee, Phillips Academy Andover, and Taft, among others). We selected IM after reviewing proposals and meeting with a large number of prospective firms, based on the firm’s capabilities, track record with other independent schools, and commitment to adopt a thoughtful approach tailored to our community and needs. IM Partner Katie Rockman, who leads the firm’s preK-12 education practice, will lead IM’s support for our Head of School Search, supported by IM Managing Associate Elizabeth Weithman and Associate Corinne Crews. We believe the depth of the IM team’s experience and the firm’s collaborative, engaged approach will serve the school very well in the months ahead.

Search Committee
One of the first steps in any head of school search is the formation of a search committee that represents our community members’ diversity of experiences, identities, and perspectives, as well as demonstrated commitment to the school and its mission. I am pleased to announce that the following 13 individuals will serve on the Head of School Search Committee:

  • David Nuzum P’25,’27 (Co-Chair, Trustee)
  • Savannah Stevenson P’26,’31 (Co-Chair, Trustee)
  • Lawrence Alexander II (Trustee, DEIB expert)
  • Jason Barillaro P’20,’21,’24 (IMS 7-9th grade Latin Teacher)
  • Sabina Breece P’26,’28 (PA Co-President)
  • Charles Brown P’29,’32,‘33 (IMS Director of Admissions)
  • Michelle Charles (IMS Kindergarten Teacher)
  • Derek Deng P’26,’27 (Trustee)
  • Catherine Gouge ’01 (Trustee)
  • Jeffrey Lee ’08 (Trustee)
  • Abbey Nova P’24,’33 (PA Co-President)
  • Sarah Scoville P’32,’34
  • Sarah Smith P’33 (IMS Director of Advancement)

I am grateful that Trustees David Nuzum and Savannah Stevenson have agreed to serve as co-chairs of the Search Committee. David is a current IMS parent whose children have experienced the magic of the IMS Lower Campus and Upper Campus. He is the product of independent schools where his parents taught 8th grade science and 3rd grade, and has a special appreciation for the extraordinary commitment of our faculty and staff. Savannah is also a current IMS parent with children on both campuses. In addition to leading the Governance Committee on the Board of Trustees, Savannah is currently teaching dance to IMS 5th-9th graders five days a week. David and Savannah bring exceptional skills, judgment, and passion for IMS that will be of great benefit to our search.

Thank you to all of the committee members for devoting the time to serve IMS in this special and essential capacity.

Community Engagement
At the heart of everything we do at IMS is community. There will be several opportunities for your input, the first of which will be an online survey that we will share in the coming days, soliciting your thoughts and perspectives on our school and its future leadership. This will help inform our search objectives in invaluable ways.

Please feel free to reach out to us directly at hos-search@indianmountain.org with any comments or thoughts as we move forward. Additionally, we have established a Head of School Search web page on the IMS website, which we will update as we progress.

Thank you for your steadfast commitment to IMS. We look forward to the work ahead, and to continuing the positive momentum of our beloved school.

With gratitude,

Christopher Sanger ’86 P’18,’20
President, Board of Trustees

Dear IMS Community,

Welcome back from what I hope was a restful holiday break. I am writing today to follow up on the announcement of Jody Soja’s appointment as head of school for Loomis Chaffee and our subsequent head of school search.

The hiring of a head of school is one of the most important roles of the Board of Trustees and we are dedicated to giving it our full attention and care. We have received strong interest from far and wide, as well as generous advice from fellow school boards. This enthusiastic support underlines the fact that IMS is in a position of great strength for a successful transition of leadership.

To kick off the search in earnest, we have engaged the consulting firm Strategic School Leadership to meet with our board and our senior leadership team for two days later this month. The firm offers workshops to discuss and explore search-related matters, form priorities, and set up the next stages of the search.

Some of you may be familiar with one of the firm’s partners: Drew Casertano P’98, ‘01, ‘06. Drew served on the IMS Board of Trustees and was the long-term head of school at Millbrook School. His experience and deep knowledge of IMS will undoubtedly benefit us and help advance this important process.

We look forward to the work ahead and expect to share another update in early February.


Christopher Sanger ’86 P’18,’20
President, Board of Trustees

Dear IMS Community,

As you have learned, this will be Jody Reilly Soja’s last year at IMS, as she has been chosen to become the next head of school at The Loomis Chaffee School.

Undoubtedly, this is an exceptional professional opportunity for Jody and her appointment to lead one of the most prestigious secondary schools in the country is a clear testament to her abilities as an effective leader, talented administrator, and dedicated educator. As a Board and school community, we celebrate this moment for Jody and her family.

As many of you know, Jody first arrived at IMS in 1999 to assume roles as teacher, coach and advisor. After various positions at Millbrook School and National Cathedral School, Jody returned to Lakeville in 2015 to serve as the ninth head of school in our 100-year history, and the first woman to hold that role. To say that she has made a profound impact during her years of leadership is an understatement. Jody has guided our community with a clear strategy and thoughtfulness and as a result, IMS today is thriving.

Under Jody’s headship — and with the support of the Board, the senior leadership team, faculty, and staff — IMS has grown in every way:

  • Refined an academic program that leads with relevance and purpose, proven by strong secondary school placement among our peer schools;
  • Established the Ascend program;
  • Increased enrollment by 35%;
  • Secured record-setting philanthropic investment in support of capital projects and the annual fund;
  • Completed and implemented two strategic plans;
  • Undertook a thorough diversity audit and underscored our commitment to equity, inclusion, and belonging;
  • Constructed state-of-the-art facilities and community spaces, including the Morehead Athletic Center and Centennial Field (IMS’s most ambitious capital project), the Outdoor Working Lab and solar field, six tennis courts and expanded residential housing.

While this extraordinary growth is a success story, it is made even more meaningful by Jody’s unwavering commitment to the joy of our students, and her dedication to fostering a sense of belonging for everyone at IMS. We are profoundly grateful to Jody for her service to our beloved institution, which will continue to benefit from her leadership through the remainder of the school year.

As we move into our second century we are well positioned for this transition. The Board will begin the search process for the next head of school in earnest and with transparency. We look forward to communicating with you throughout the process. For now, please join me in congratulating and thanking Jody for leading a life through service at IMS.


Christopher Sanger ‘86 P’18,’20

President, Board of Trustees

Dear IMS Community,

I write today with mixed emotions. On Monday, November 20, I informed the IMS Board of Trustees that the 2023-2024 school year will be my last on “the mountain.” While I am sad to be leaving a place I love, I am honored to have accepted the position as Loomis Chaffee’s eighth head of school beginning in July, 2024.

This decision was not made lightly. My connections to and feelings for IMS run deep. I started my teaching career at IMS in 1999, and returned to serve as head of school in 2015. IMS has given me and my family so much, not the least of which is the company and collegiality of amazing educators. My two sons benefitted from the support, guidance and teaching from remarkable adults and loved spending their childhood on this bucolic campus. The entire Soja family will be forever grateful for the time we spent growing, living and learning at IMS.

While I wasn’t looking or expecting to leave this year, the current state of IMS gives me great comfort in pursuing this professional opportunity. Thanks to the tireless work of so many, IMS has never been stronger. Enrollment is at a record high, our academic and athletic programs continue to grow and thrive, and our school distinguishes itself in both local, national, and international markets. A talented administrative team will continue to lead and support the school, and our positive momentum will carry IMS forward through this transition.

Loomis Chaffee and IMS share many distinguishing characteristics. Both schools were founded with a mission to provide an education to children whose families did not have the resources to pay full tuition. Both schools place a premium on kindness, understand the importance of diversity and belonging, provide an exceptional education, and intentionally cultivate strong character and community connection. Everything I have learned about Loomis Chaffee has affirmed our philosophical alignment, and has inspired me to join a community so much like our own.

Over the past nine years, I have had unwavering support from two incredible Board Chairs, Maria Horn and Christopher Sanger,’86. I could not be more grateful for the trust they placed in me. Similarly, I have been encouraged by a terrific Board of Trustees, deeply committed and engaged colleagues, and a parent body that believes in strong school-family partnerships.

Lastly, I have been and will continue to be inspired by thousands of IMS students. Their humor, courage, curiosity and kindness have driven me to work hard and lead on their behalf and to enjoy every day at work. I look forward to future opportunities to continue these relationships with these wonderful students and their families, and I’ll be excited to welcome any future IMS graduates to Loomis Chaffee. In the meantime, I will continue serving IMS with dedication and joy, ensuring that we finish this year well, celebrating our wonderful community and all the exciting work ahead.

My heart is filled with gratitude and confidence that the best days are ahead for IMS, and I hope to be a small part of the success story of our beloved school.

Warmly and with gratitude,

  1. David Nuzum P’25,’27 (Co-Chair, Trustee)
  2. Savannah Stevenson P’26,’31 (Co-Chair, Trustee)
  3. Lawrence Alexander II (Trustee, DEIB expert)
  4. Jason Barillaro P’20,’21,’24 (IMS 7-9th grade Latin Teacher)
  5. Sabina Breece P’26,’28 (PA Co-President)
  6. Charles Brown P’29,’32,’33 (IMS Director of Admissions)
  7. Michelle Charles (IMS Kindergarten Teacher)
  8. Derek Deng P’26,’27 (Trustee)
  9. Catherine Gouge ’01 (Trustee)
  10. Jeffrey Lee ’08 (Trustee)
  11. Abbey Nova P’24,’33 (PA Co-President)
  12. Sarah Scoville P’32,’34
  13. Sarah Smith P’33 (IMS Director of Advancement)