Faculty and Students Give Feedback on Dean of Admission Candidates

The final three candidates for Dean of Admission have visited the Andover campus over the past two weeks to meet with a wide array of faculty, staff, students and administrators, as well as members of the Admission Office.

The three finalists are Jim Ventre ’79, Director of Financial Aid and Interim Dean of Admission, Josh Wolman, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., and Rachel Skiffer, Director of Admission and Financial Aid at San Francisco University High School in California.

Members of the Andover community who interacted with the candidates were able to offer feedback via Survey Monkey. The information will help the search committee formulate a recommendation to Head of School John Palfrey, who will make a final decision by early February, said Nancy Jeton, Special Assistant to the Head of School.

“This is pretty traditional; when we have these types of administrative position open, we try have these candidates meet with a number of people across campus,” said Jeton.

In addition to attending a series of on-campus meetings with admissions officers and other administrators, each candidate led an hour-long forum, open to the faculty, about his or her thoughts on the challenges and opportunities of secondary boarding school admission, said Jeton. Each candidate met with students over lunch in Paresky Commons and was taken on a tour of the campus by a student tour guide.

The search committee began meeting in October of 2012 and consists of Palfrey, Jeton, Stephanie Curci, Instructor in English, Linda Griffith, Dean of Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD), Victor Henningsen ’69, Instructor in History, and Tracy Sweet, Director of Communications.

The school worked with executive search firm Witt/Kieffer to attract a wide pool of qualified potential candidates. After the pool settled, the firm presented the search committee with an initial pool of approximately three dozen candidates. The committee then selected Wolmer and Skiffer from a group of six semifinalists, after a round of off-campus interviews on December 12 and 13.

“We use this search firm to cast the widest net… it’s one thing [to] just put the ad up on our school website, but we wanted somebody who is really in that enrollment space to be able to grab good candidates and bring them to us,” said Jeton.

The search committee created and uploaded a “leadership profile” that described Andover and the position of Dean of Admission. It stated that the school was looking for a “highly energetic, strategic and seasoned leader who has an appreciation for engaging adolescents, is committed to need-blind admission and the academy’s imperative to seek ‘youth from every quarter.’”

Jane Fried, former Dean of Admission, left the Academy last July to become Head of The Brearley School, after 19 years of work in Andover admissions. Ventre has served as Interim Dean of Admission for the 2012-2013 school year.