Frequently Asked Questions By:

What does RG175 do exactly?
RG175 is a retained search firm for heads of school and senior administrators in independent schools, both nationally and globally. The firm also provides governance training and workshops and helps schools with strategic planning.
How is RG175 different than its competitors?
  • We are all long-serving successful heads of school and seasoned recruiters for senior administrative positions. This provides us with the experience of what it feels like to be a head of school. We are partners with the search chairs and the search committee. In doing so we focus on the right match for the school.
  • We are deep dive and high touch. We really get to know the schools, and each consultant is highly involved with the search committee and the search process.
  • We have built and maintain a vast network of leaders throughout the independent school world. We have an extensive database and wide-ranging relationships with individuals and organizations connected with the school world.
  • We on-board the new head for one full year from the date of hire. We believe the transition and first year of headship determines long-term success for the head.
What is the outstanding quality of RG175?
The firm is comprised of 24 savvy, informed, and highly-successful former heads of schools and two seasoned recruiters for senior administrative positions including advancement, located geographically and strategically across the country. We are proven leaders in the field, both nationally and internationally, and we bring knowledge and depth to the search process that only those who have experienced the work can impart. We believe this gives us a unique ability to help a school analyze its needs and clarify the key leadership skills required to meet its strategic challenges.
How will RG175 consultants get to know the school community in order to understand their unique needs, challenges and attributes?
We will spend two full days—more if necessary—on your campus, interviewing key stakeholders, including trustees, administrators, faculty, parents, students, and alumni. Before our visit we study critical information like budgets, accreditation reports, admission statistics, curriculum guides, fundraising statistics, next-school placement, diversity statistics, and more to gain a deeper understanding of the school’s assets and challenges. This vital information combined with the findings from our visit allow us to uncover critical themes that we then present to the search committee for review before writing the position statement. Typically, a small group of search committee members approve the position statement before publication.
How does RG175 ensure diversity within its candidate pools?
RG175 is committed to providing a diverse pool of candidates in every search that we work with. RG175 prides itself that 60% of our placed candidates have been women and/or people of color in the last five years. The firm maintains a significant database of diverse candidates through our substantial network across the independent school world.
How does RG175 define success?
“Has the head added value to the school?” This is the key question in determining the success of a search. Each school will have different criteria for answering the question. For some it may be establishing the foundation for future success—in essence, creating capacity. For others it may be helping the school do a better job of fulfilling its mission. And for still others it may be extending its already significant impact. Our firm believes that for schools to flourish their boards must 1) be strategic and 2) find heads who will add value. What the latter looks like depends on the school and its particular circumstances.
How flexible and adaptable will RG175 be regarding a school’s needs?
RG175 customizes each search to the specific needs of the school. We go the extra distance required for success. We are always flexible and do our best to adapt to the needs of the school.
What is the difference between an RG175 Head of School search and a senior administrative search?
RG175 handles both types of searches in a similar fashion. Typically a Head of School search involves the firm working with a search committee of 6-12 people and also involves the entire school community, whereas a senior administrative search is a narrower focus working primarily with the Head of School and a very small search advisory committee. The firm goes to great lengths to include the best practices of Head of School search in our administrative searches.
What comprises a strong search committee?
Search committee composition varies from school to school, depending on the size, grade levels served, and the culture, complexity and current state of the institution. Search committee members should primarily be board members. Depending on the culture of the school, school leaders or faculty members may be included, although they should not be “representing” a certain constituency. Character and wisdom are the best measures for membership on a search committee: good judgment, the ability to work with others, time availability, and the discipline to maintain confidentiality are key attributes of effective committee members.
What information is included in a typical RG175 search proposal?
An RG175 search proposal includes:
  • Introduction
  • Our Process
  • Deliverables
  • Fees & Expenses
  • Timeframe of the Search
  • Bios & References
  • Position Statement Information
  • List of Our Experience
How will RG175 recruit candidates?
We are active recruiters and do not rely solely on passive advertising or listings. We have an extensive network of contacts and use this network to develop a robust candidate pool. As strong candidates emerge in searches, we add them to our database and update that list on a continuous basis. A candidate who is not right for one school may be an excellent fit for a different kind of school or region of the country. We vet candidates extensively at the top of the candidate funnel to ensure that search committees are considering applicants who have a baseline of leadership skills. As the search committees narrow the field, they can then focus on candidates whose leadership strengths align with the challenges the school faces.

Although our firm places greater emphasis on direct recruiting, we advertise the position through various outlets including email blasts that reach approximately 4,000 educators including current heads, aspiring heads, and state and regional association directors.

Finally, the position statement we write for each school serves as a powerful recruitment tool. Highlighting the school’s strengths and illustrating these strengths through words and photographs, this statement serves to promote interest in the school and the position and provides a basis for initial conversations about the school’s strengths and opportunities.
What are some common problems that can lead a search to go wrong?
Resource Group 175 consultant Tom Olverson has written extensively about the stumbling blocks in a head of school search. In particular he details the unintentional disregard of evidence to support the search committee’s decision:

Absent the hard work, discipline and rigor of amassing evidence that demonstrates that a candidate has the attributes that the search committee identified as critical for the next head to possess, the search committee instead asks itself the easy question: “Do we like this candidate?”

In addition, Olverson details the failure of search committees to delineate the three or four major challenges facing the school over the next five to ten years as critical criteria for evaluating each candidate. By setting their sights on a more distant future, search committees inevitably become more strategic, leading to better decisions. RG175 co-founder Clay Stites states, “Search committees typically become more conservative at the end of the process. They focus on the short-term appearance of the selection instead of the long-term impact. It’s an easy trap to fall into.”
How does RG175 handle internal candidates in a search?
We listen very carefully in the Discovery Phase of the search process to determine if any internal administrators may emerge as viable candidates. We strategize with the search committee to develop an approach for internal candidates, mindful that their candidacies must be handled in a sensitive manner out of respect not only for the individuals but also for the credibility of the process.
Does RG175 assist schools with leadership transitions?
RG175 believes that transitioning new leaders into a new school is almost as important as the search itself. Each RG175 consultant is skilled and prepared to work with each school client in this important component of the search process. RG175 will provide the search chair a document providing information about this process.
How does RG175 determine its fee structure?
RG175 determines fees based primarily on the operating budget of the school. The firm purposely does not base the fee on a percentage of the first-year salary of the hired candidate. RG175 is often asked to assist schools with compensations structures therefore we see this as a conflict of interest if we based a fee on the salary of a candidate.
How does RG175 make assignments to our partners?
The managing partner, in consultation with others in the firm, makes assignments. Factors taken into consideration include: geography, size, and type of school that matches partner experiences and personal connections that partners may have with a specific school.
What is RG175’s reputation within the independent school market?
Just ask our clients:

“You and your partners have turned RG175 into the premier group. I can't quite imagine the number of miles under your wings or the number of shoes and belts you have removed, but I must congratulate you on building an organization that has earned such a truly exceptional reputation.” –Jay Stroud, Director of the Commission, New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Do candidates pay a fee to RG175?
No. RG175 does not charge a fee to candidates.
How can I find out about new searches as they are launched?
By registering as a candidate with RG175, you will receive the latest job postings as well as our monthly eblasts.
What should I do if I’m interested in one or more of your searches?
A candidate should email the specific consultant on that search and also register as a candidate. You will then be able to apply for that search online.
What is your best advice for when I’m preparing my application materials?
In preparing your materials candidates should think seriously of the following:
  • The cover letter is the most important piece of information in your file. A well-written cover letter should clearly demonstrate your interest in the specific job you’re applying for. Do your homework on the school and make your letter very clear as to why you are sincerely interested in that specific job.
  • Your resume should be updated to include your current position.
  • Your personal statement should tell a story about you and your career and how you’ve come to your current situation. This is as much a writing sample as it is anything else, but it provides you the opportunity for the search committee to get to know you a little bit.
  • Have more than one person proofread your materials and do not use the wrong school name in any of your communication.
How do I make the most out of my first interview?

In Person Interviews

A few suggestions to make excellent first impressions in a live interview:

  • Show up no more than 10 minutes early for the appointment
  • Be sure you’re in the school’s dress code and if there isn’t a code, business casual at a minimum.
  • Maintain eye contact with the search committee and be as calm and relaxed as possible, and engage them in discussion.

Virtual Interviews

All of the above applies, additional thoughts:

  • Position your camera on your computer so that you are looking straight into the camera and not at an angle or up and down.
  • Be mindful of the background and lighting
  • Be in a very quiet area where you will not be interrupted
  • Turn off your cell phone
How else can I introduce myself to you?
The best way to introduce yourself to the firm is to contact one of the consultants of a search that you’re interested in and ask for a conversation. In addition, we are well-represented at a wide variety of a national conferences, so never hesitate to reach out to one of us to schedule an appointment while we’re there.
How does RG175 communicate with non-finalists in searches?
RG175 does our best to reach out to every candidate personally via phone or email. Candidates should never hesitate to reach out to us for feedback to improve themselves in the process.
What’s the difference between an educational philosophy and a personal statement?
A personal statement is exactly as it is implied. You are telling your story about how you got involved in schools and what you’ve learned along the way. An educational philosophy is a philosophical belief about your work in schools and the education process. In our experience, search committees much prefer personal statements.
What is the most frequent mistake you see candidates making in the search process?
Common mistakes that we have seen in the process include: using the wrong names of the school in your cover letter, typos or misspellings in written communication, and being late to the interview. The most egregious misstep we’ve seen candidates make in live and virtual interviews is failing to respond to questions concisely and not answering the questions that are posed.
What would an unsuccessful candidate say about their experience with RG175?
We would like to think that all of our candidates feel as though RG175 has treated them with dignity and respect throughout the entire process. We care deeply about our candidates and respect the time and energy that they’ve put into the process. Our goal is for all of our candidates, regardless of outcomes, to recommend and speak positively about RG175 to their friends and colleagues.