Head of School Announcement Update

February 7, 2018

Dear McDonogh Community,

In February 2017, Charlie Britton announced his plans to retire as Headmaster of McDonogh School at the end of the 2017-18 academic year. Last summer, out of his abundance of love for the School and our community, Charlie agreed to stay for an additional year so the Board of Trustees could extend its Head of School search to secure the best possible candidate. A few weeks ago, we announced the appointment of David J. Farace '87 as McDonogh's 13th Head of School effective July 1, 2019.

Today, I write to let you know that we have come full circle. Dave's obligations have changed, which permit him to come to McDonogh a year early on July 1, 2018, and allow us to honor Charlie's original timeline. On behalf of the Board, I cannot begin to thank Charlie and Jen Britton enough for their devotion to the School and their flexibility during this process.

As I shared in the January announcement, Dave has shown incredible wisdom and leadership as Head of The Bolles School in Florida. And like Charlie, he is a person of the highest integrity who is deeply committed to taking care of young people and providing them with the best possible educational experience.

Once school begins in the fall, there will be many opportunities for you to meet Dave, his wife, Becky, and their children, Wyatt, 17, Campbell, 16, and Bodin, 15. Dave will also be on campus this spring for Reunion Weekend.

In the coming months, Charlie will work closely with Dave to ensure a smooth transition. There will also be occasions for our community to celebrate Charlie's tremendous contributions to the School and to wish him, Jen, and their children, Trevor '12 and Annie '15 the very best.

Please join me in thanking Charlie for his 11 years of exceptional leadership and welcoming Dave as our next Head of School.


Howard Klein [sig]
Howard S. Klein ’76
President, Board of Trustees

January 11, 2018

Dear McDonogh Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the appointment of David J. Farace '87 as the 13th Head of McDonogh School effective July 1, 2019. The Board's unanimous decision to select Dave follows an enthusiastic recommendation by the Head of School Search Committee.

Since its founding in 1873, McDonogh has been fortunate to have remarkable leaders who have shown incredible wisdom, integrity, foresight, and a deep commitment to providing young people with the best possible education. We believe that Dave Farace, like Charlie Britton and his predecessors, possesses all of these essential qualities. Furthermore, as a former employee, past parent, and alumnus who attended McDonogh as a scholarship student, Dave knows our culture, fully embodies our mission, and shares our vision for the future.

Dave has dedicated his entire career to independent schools. He is currently Head of School at The Bolles School, a highly regarded coeducational PK–12 day and boarding institution in Florida that enrolls 1,600 students. Prior to joining Bolles in 2015, Dave served as Head of School at Montgomery Academy in Alabama for five years. His professional life started right here at McDonogh where, over the course of more than a decade, he held various positions including Director of Upper School Admissions, Director of Alumni Relations, and Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving. He also directed the Rollins-Luetkemeyer Leadership Program, taught and coached in the Middle and Upper Schools, and he and his wife, Becky, served as campus parents to our boarders.

Dave holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree from Washington and Lee University and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree from Johns Hopkins University. He is also an NAIS/E.E. Ford Fellow, which is granted to individuals who successfully complete this distinguished leadership development program for independent school leaders.

As Dave will tell you, McDonogh is home to him, and he is thrilled to be returning to his alma mater. He describes this new role as a dream come true, and he is looking forward to partnering with the Board of Trustees, working with our outstanding faculty and staff, getting to know our current students and parents, and connecting with alumni and other members of our extended school family.

We are so happy to welcome Dave, his wife, Becky, and the Farace children, Wyatt, 17, Campbell, 16, and Bodin, 15, back to McDonogh. Becky, who holds degrees from University of Richmond and Johns Hopkins University and formerly taught second grade at McDonogh, is just as eager as Dave to return to campus and become involved in school life.

The Board of Trustees has every confidence that Dave Farace is the ideal person to lead McDonogh into the future. Please join us in celebrating his appointment and embracing the Farace family with open arms and hearts.


Howard Klein [sig]
Howard S. Klein ’76
President, Board of Trustees

August 9, 2017

Dear McDonogh Community,

Since February, when Charlie Britton announced that he would be retiring as Headmaster at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year, The Finney Search Group has been working diligently to find the most qualified candidates for the Head of School Search Committee to consider. While the initial timeline called for the Committee to present its findings and ultimate recommendation to the Board of Trustees this fall, on the premise that our new Head of School would begin his or her role on July 1, 2018, the trustees also vowed from the start to take as much time as necessary to appoint the very best leader.

Our commitment to this pledge has led the Board of Trustees to determine that it is in the best interest of the school’s future to extend the work of the Search Committee beyond the initial timeline. Thus, we have asked Charlie Britton to remain Headmaster for the 2018-2019 school year.

Because Charlie and his wife, Jen, care so very deeply about the wellbeing of the school, and they truly love the McDonogh Family as their own, Charlie has agreed to delay his departure. The Board of Trustees is beyond grateful to Charlie and Jen, and more than pleased that McDonogh School will benefit from Charlie’s incredible wisdom, integrity, and leadership for two more years.

As we thoughtfully continue our efforts to appoint McDonogh’s 13th Head of School, please join me in thanking Charlie and Jen for their unwavering commitment to our school and our community.


Howard Klein [sig]

Howard Klein ’76
Board of Trustees President
Head of School Search Committee Chair

May 23, 2017

Dear McDonogh Community,

It is with enthusiasm and a great deal of optimism that I write this latest update on our search for McDonogh's next Head of School. While The Finney Search Group continues its outreach to prospective candidates, the Search Committee has begun reviewing submissions and subsets of the Committee have started conducting interviews. The pool of applicants is very impressive.

As promised at the start, we intend to be as transparent as possible throughout the search. Please know, however, that we are entering a quiet phase. In order for us to draw the best possible leaders, it is imperative that we work in a confidential manner that protects their anonymity. Once finalists emerge, hopefully in late summer or early fall, we will be in a position to provide more details.

Thank you in advance for your continued support and patience!


Howard Klein [sig]

Howard Klein ’76
Search Committee Chair

April 11, 2017

Dear McDonogh Community,

The weeks since our last update on March 8 have been busy and productive for the Head of School Search Committee and our partners in this effort, The Finney Search Group.

On March 10, we sent an electronic survey to approximately 7,800 members of the McDonogh community to gather your thoughts and opinions regarding our strengths, challenges, and opportunities, as well as key personal characteristics of a great head of school. We received 942 responses—an astounding response rate for any electronic survey! Additionally, on March 28, 29, and 30, The Finney Search Group conducted 19 focus groups with various audiences. Over 140 members of our community participated, representing students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and trustees.

The Search Committee will now pick up the pace and focus on revising the Position Opportunity Statement to reflect the input we received from the focus groups and survey respondents. We are also beginning to review the many resumes of candidates who have responded to our search efforts.

We are very grateful to all who responded to the survey or participated in any way with our focus groups. We also wish to thank Pat Hayot, Head of School at The Chapin School (New York, NY), and Rob Hershey, recently retired Headmaster at Episcopal High School (Alexandria, VA), for taking time to work with The Finney Search Group and facilitate the majority of our focus groups.

Among the many themes to emerge from the survey and focus groups, we were truly humbled and energized by our community’s unwavering support and enthusiasm for McDonogh, and we remain mindful of the great responsibility entrusted to us. As one survey respondent so aptly noted, “Charlie Britton has been an exceptional leader, and we look forward to welcoming an equally exceptional leader to take us to new places as a school.”


Howard Klein [sig]

Howard Klein ’76
Search Committee Chair

March 8, 2017

Dear McDonogh Community,

Last month, Headmaster Charlie Britton and Board of Trustees President Arthur Adler ’78 announced Charlie’s decision to retire at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year. I’m writing today to update you on the Head of School search, which is being led by a Search Committee composed of the trustees and faculty advisors listed below.

As reported in the initial announcement, The Finney Search Group has been retained to lead the process. A position announcement was recently posted with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), The Blue Sheet—a recognized resource for leadership opportunities in independent schools, and the Association of Independent Maryland & D.C. Schools (AIMS). I’m pleased to report that a significant number of qualified candidates have already contacted our consultants.

Moving forward, the Search Committee is eager to engage the McDonogh community in the process. Later this week, you will receive a brief survey created by The Finney Search Group to gather your thoughts about McDonogh’s future leadership. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete the confidential survey. Your input will be vital to the Search Committee as we screen and interview candidates. In addition to the survey, The Finney Search Group will be conducting a series of small discussion groups with our various constituencies at the end of March.

Please stay tuned for more updates from the Search Committee in the coming months. Our expectation is that this process will lead to an announcement of our next Head of School by the fall of 2017.

As our Board President has said, Charlie has given us a strong foundation and the gift of time to find our 13th Head of School. I am confident that together as a community we will identify an outstanding school leader who can continue McDonogh’s forward progress and growth while respecting and observing our founding mission and values.

Thank you in advance for your support and enthusiasm as we navigate this exciting transition.


Howard Klein [sig]

Howard S. Klein ’76
Search Committee Chair

February 1, 2017

Dear McDonogh Community,

After a decade of exceptional leadership, Charlie Britton has informed the Board of Trustees that he will retire as Headmaster of McDonogh School at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year. While the Board would like nothing more than for Charlie to stay and lead the school for many years to come, we accept his decision with utmost respect and appreciation for all that he has done for McDonogh. Since arriving on campus in the summer of 2007, Charlie and his wife, Jen, have loved our school family as their own, and for that we are extremely grateful. The Britton family, including Trevor ’12 and Annie ’15, will always be part of the McDonogh family.

Charlie has led McDonogh with incredible wisdom and integrity, always with the best interest of students at the forefront of every decision and course of action. His commitment to ensuring that tradition, excellence, innovation, and joy are the hallmarks of the McDonogh experience has made the school stronger in every way. We have a robust curriculum, talented faculty and staff, impressive facilities, and most importantly, engaged students and alumni who make our community proud.

While there will be plenty of opportunities in the coming year to celebrate Charlie and Jen and all they have done for McDonogh, the Board and I would like to highlight a few of Charlie’s most significant contributions. Under his leadership, The McDonogh Forever Campaign, the largest in the school’s history, surpassed its $75 million goal. Furthermore, the school completed the first phase of the Campus Master Plan, including the addition of The Naylor STEM Building, The Edward St. John Student Center, The Rosenberg Campus Green, and other campus enhancements; created the McDonogh Character Compass; established Roots Farm; developed Folio, a faculty and staff evaluation program now used by schools across the country; launched LifeReady, our visionary academic strategic plan; started a prekindergarten program; expanded alumni programs and events nationwide; and announced plans for a McDonogh History House/Museum that will serve past, present, and future generations. Additionally, McDonogh has been named a Baltimore Sun Top Workplace in each of the past five years and received “top honors” for institutional direction and leadership.

As we move forward, the Board of Trustees is confident that the foundations set by Charlie will attract the best possible candidates, and we are grateful to him for giving us the gift of time to conduct a comprehensive search for McDonogh’s 13th Head of School.

The national search will commence immediately. Board of Trustees Vice President Howard Klein has agreed to chair the search committee, and we have engaged The Finney Search Group to spearhead this most important effort. Trustees will make the final selection based upon the recommendation of the search committee, and after ample opportunity for input from faculty, staff, alumni, students, and parents. During the process, Charlie will continue to skillfully and thoughtfully lead the school, and he will play a vital role in the successful transition of leadership.

Please join me in thanking Charlie and Jen for their years of dedicated service to McDonogh. Embracing their legacy, we look to the future with great optimism.


Arthur Adler

Arthur H. Adler ’78
President of the Board of Trustees

February 1, 2017

Dear McDonogh Family,

It is with abundant love and respect for McDonogh and the McDonogh community that I share my decision to retire as Headmaster after the 2017-2018 academic year. Deciding to step away from a place I care for so deeply was not easy, but I’m confident that McDonogh will continue to thrive with new leadership and the contributions of so many who are committed to furthering our time-honored mission.

When I began teaching and coaching nearly 30 years ago, I never imagined that I would have the privilege of leading such an outstanding school and working with so many talented people who would help me grow personally and professionally. My journey here has been incredibly meaningful. McDonogh is a very special place—an unpretentious school that originated from humble beginnings in 1873 and has educated generations of students “to do the greatest possible amount of good.” I am continually inspired by the respect and genuine compassion that exists within our community.

For the past decade, I have had the honor of working with an exceptional board of trustees, a superb administrative team, a gifted and caring faculty and staff, terrific students, active parents, and loyal alumni. I have never witnessed so much joy in a school that prides itself on providing extraordinary opportunities for young people.

As I look back over my career here, I am forever grateful for everyone in our community who has helped, in so many ways, to make the McDonogh experience what it is for our students. I am also indebted to Board Presidents Charlie Monk ’67, Mike Falcone ’79, and Arthur Adler ’78 as well as incoming Board President Howard Klein ’76 for their encouragement and thoughtful support.

On a more personal note, Jen and I are beyond grateful for the strong foundation and excellent education our children, Trevor ’12 and Annie ’15, received at McDonogh. All of us will treasure the memories and friendships from our time on campus. For the Britton family, McDonogh will always be home, and for that we feel very blessed.

Colonel William Allan, McDonogh’s first Headmaster, wondered if the school would exist long after he died. He wondered if a school centered on the principles of goodness and opportunity would stand the test of time. How pleased he would be to see that McDonogh still values those same principles and is changing the lives of students each and every day.

As we like to say, “There is no place like McDonogh!”

With gratitude and all best wishes,

Charlie Britton

Charles W. Britton

Search Committee


Howard S. Klein ’76, Chair
Arthur H. Adler ’78
Robert A. Bavar ’90
H. Stacey Boyer ’76
Michael L. Falcone ’79
John A. (Jack) Luetkemeyer, Jr.
Courtney Shepard Muller
Robert L. (Rob) Young III ’86

Faculty Advisors

Wright Abbot (Upper School)
Tina Karpovich (Middle School)
George Webb (Lower School)
Noreen Lidston (At-large)

The Headmasters of McDonogh School

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