Head of School Search

On Jan. 9, 2019, Laura Fuller, the eighth head of school at University School of Milwaukee since the merger of its three predecessor schools—Milwaukee Country Day School, Milwaukee Downer Seminary, and Milwaukee University School—in 1964, announced her retirement to the University School community. Upon her retirement at the end of the 2019–20 school year, Laura will have concluded nine highly successful years as the school's first female head.

The school's Board of Trustees is undertaking a national search for a new head of school to begin in July of 2020. Andrew Petzold, the immediate past president of the Board of Trustees, led the formation of a search committee, co-chaired by trustees and school parents Jackie Darr and Mike Darrow '86, which is tasked with managing the process of selecting the next head of school. In addition, the board has partnered with Educators' Collaborative, an independent school administrator search firm, to assist with this process. The board is committed to implementing a search process that will seek input from every constituency group in the University School community.

University School's next leader will inherit a school with robust enrollment, unprecedented financial strength, remarkable new educational, athletic, fine arts, and community spaces, and a team of innovative and exceptional faculty and administrative staff. There is no doubt that the school's impeccable reputation and strong community puts it in a position to attract a stellar new leader.

Recent Communications

The following messages have been shared with the University School community:

Anticipated Search Process Timeline

  • Jan. 9, 2019: Laura Fuller shares her retirement announcement with the University School community after having shared with the school's Board of Trustees the previous fall

  • Jan. 17, 2019: A search committee comprised of current and former Board of Trustees members, faculty, and parents/parents of alumni is formed and tasked with leading the search process

  • Feb. 2019: Survey of University School community members and interviews with constituent group representatives to inform the head of school position description

  • Jan.–July 2019: Educators’ Collaborative receives applications, further develops the pool of candidates, and reviews candidate credentials

  • Aug.–Sept. 2019: Semifinalist candidates are interviewed by the search committee and finalists for the position are selected

  • Sept.–Oct. 2019: Finalists (and families, as appropriate) visit University School for search committee and administrator interviews and community forums, with feedback collected

  • Fall 2019: The search committee nominates a candidate to the Board of Trustees and the new head of school is elected and news shared with the University School community

  • July 2020: The new head of school assumes his or her responsibilities

About Our Search Partner

Educators' Collaborative, LLC (EC) was selected as the search firm that will assist with the University School of Milwaukee head of school search. The school will be working with firm partners John Mackenzie, Marcus Hurlbut, and Deirdre Ling. Each of these individuals has headed independent schools and have more than 100 years of combined experience working in independent school education.

EC provides head of school and senior administrator search services as well as strategic planning and leadership coaching for independent schools. Their consultants know through experience what it takes to run a successful school and how to work effectively with boards of trustees. They are dedicated to a search process that not only identifies the right candidate for a school, but also positions the appointee and the school for a smooth and successful transition.

Information for Candidates

The University School head of school search committee, along with Educators' Collaborative, have created the following Information for Candidates document for review.

Search Committee

Jackie Darr
Search committee co-chair
Board of Trustees member
Parent '24 '25

Michael W. Darrow '86
Search committee co-chair
Board of Trustees member
Parent '24 '24 '26

Joseph Eason
Upper School faculty (since 2009)
History Department chair
Parent '26 '26 '28

Stephen B. Guy
Board of Trustees president
Parent '20 '23

Jennifer Keppler
Preschool faculty (since 1997)
Parent '20 '20

Andrew A. Petzold
Board of Trustees member
Immediate past Board of Trustees president
Parent of alumni '16 '19

Debra Pokel
Parents' Association president
Parent '20

William A. Wernecke Jr.
Endowment Board member
Past Board of Trustees president
Past headmaster search committee chair
Parent of alumni '02 '04 '09 '09

Sarah O. Zimmerman '92
Board of Trustees vice president
Board Committee on Trustees chair
Parent '22 '25
Prekindergarten (age 3) - Grade 12 • Independent • Coeducational
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