Will Crissman will start July 1, 2018
October 27, 2017
Dear Tenacre Community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are excited to announce the appointment, by unanimous vote, of Will Crissman as the 13th head of Tenacre Country Day School, starting in the 2018-2019 school year. Will is an exceptional school leader who will bring integrity, passion, and vision to the Head of School role, ensuring that Tenacre continues to thrive for generations to come.
Will’s professional background reflects his long commitment to education. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and mathematics from Bowdoin College and a Master of Education from Lesley University. He began his career as a math and science teacher at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA. In 2004, he joined Milton Academy as a math teacher, a role that he still holds to this day, relishing his daily interaction with students. Will then moved into administration as a class dean before becoming Middle School Principal in 2010.
Will has brought an innovative, forward-looking mindset to Milton’s middle school, while still preserving its beloved, 200-year old traditions. He has introduced new technology initiatives and updated curriculum to better incorporate 21st century skills. He worked closely with Milton’s lower school to build greater continuity between the elementary and middle school programs. Will also launched several initiatives to promote student leadership, including a new student council program. All of these successful efforts, of course, were not accomplished alone. Will has been highly effective at hiring, developing and retaining first-rate faculty and staff, then thoughtfully collaborating with them to effect change.
During his time at Milton, Will has demonstrated a deep commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. He believes that “children’s experiences at school can affect their identities and relationships for a lifetime. Schools, therefore, have a responsibility to pursue diversity in all forms and strong multicultural practices.” At Milton, Will created affinity and cultural groups that provided multiple points of engagement for all middle school students. He also significantly increased faculty diversity and incorporated themes of social justice throughout the curriculum.
Will is well versed in the administrative aspects of leading a school. He currently manages a sizeable budget, oversees middle school admissions, cultivates alumni and donor relationships, and handles outplacement as needed. As part of Milton’s senior administrative team, he regularly attends board meetings and is deeply engaged in campus master and strategic planning. In these varied roles, Will has clearly developed the breadth of experience required in a Head of School.
In getting to know Will, the Search Committee was struck by his deep connection to Tenacre’s mission and culture. Will speaks passionately about the imperative to nurture and challenge our children, which, as he rightly notes, “is not a complicated statement, but is a complicated thing to do.” With his secondary school lens, he understands the skills our children need for future success and the importance of building that foundation during the elementary years. As a father of young children, he also knows that childhood should always remain joyful. He respects the partnership that exists between Tenacre’s parents, faculty and staff and the abiding sense of community that binds us together. Will deeply values all that Tenacre is today, but he will also push us in healthy ways to grow, change and embrace the future.
Will succeeds Chris Elliot after his extraordinary 23-year tenure at the school. Chris has shaped Tenacre into the very special place it is today, touching the lives of hundreds of students, families, faculty and staff members. We will have a number of opportunities throughout the year to celebrate Chris’s legacy and show our gratitude for his outstanding leadership.
The Board’s unanimous vote of support for Will came after a year-long national search process. Our Search Committee represented a broad cross section of the Tenacre community, including faculty, staff, parents, trustees and alumni. With the expert guidance of our search consultants and with input from many Tenacre constituencies, the Search Committee thoughtfully defined the leadership capabilities we sought in our next Head. As a testament to the strength of Tenacre, we attracted a remarkably strong pool of candidates. A rigorous process of interviews, reference calls and finalist visits ensued. After careful consideration, both the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees agree that Will Crissman is the clear, right choice for our school.
Will is thrilled to be joining the Tenacre community with his wife Michele and their three children, Eloise (8), Maisie (6) and Charlotte (2). They are looking forward to moving into Appledore next summer. We will have several occasions over the course of this year, as well as next fall, for you to extend your warm welcome.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are delighted to be introducing Will as our next Head of School. Please join us in this year of great celebration as we honor Chris, prepare to welcome Will and his family, and collectively embark on this wonderful new chapter in the life of our school!
Michele Norman P ’14, ’16, ‘18
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Co-Chair, Search Committee
Stuart Ablon P ’11, ’14, ‘18
President of the Corporation
Co-Chair, Search Committee