George Davison has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year. He will have served at Grace for 35 years, including 28 as Head of School.  George’s leadership has been transformational.  The Board has accepted his decision to retire June 30, 2022, and initiated a search process for the next head of school.

Please click here to read the full announcement, including a letter from the Board Chair Olivia Douglas.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • Why announce this retirement plan now vs. the end of the school year?

    This is a typical timetable in succession planning for independent schools.
  • Who is the Chair of the Search Committee?

    Melanie Weston will chair Grace’s 2021 Head Search Committee. Melanie has served three years on Grace’s Board of Trustees, including one year on the Executive Committee. She also serves on the Education and the Institutional Culture Committees. Melanie was co-chair of the Grace Parents Association in 2015-16. Born in Jamaica, she attended the United World College—USA, a two-year high school program in New Mexico, and has served on that school’s board of trustees since 2014. Melanie and her husband, Michi Jakob, have three children, one of whom graduated in 2019 from Grace; the other two are Grace students in the middle and high school divisions. Melanie is a speech pathologist and holds a Masters Degree from Columbia University.   
  • How was the Search Committee selected?

    The Search Committee was appointed by the Board of Trustees and has the ultimate responsibility for recommending the next Head of School to the Board.  The Committee is composed of nine members, seven trustees and two faculty and administration members.  All of the Trustees on the Committee are current or alumni parents at Grace.  With input from our search firm, Carney, Sandoe & Associates, we selected a balance of Trustees of varying lengths of board service, representing a diversity of gender, racial and professional backgrounds whose children are enrolled across all divisions. Our two faculty and administration members are: Kate Patton '82, a long-serving member of the faculty at 86 Fourth Avenue, an alumna of the School and the parent of a recent graduate of the high school division; and MiChelle Carpenter, a nine-year, founding member of the high school faculty and dean of the classes of 2016, 2020 and 2024.
  • Who is the Search Consultant?

    We have hired Carney, Sandoe Associates (CS&A) of Boston to assist in the search. CS&A is one of the nation’s leading search consultants for independent secondary schools and handled Grace’s recent searches for the Chief Financial Officer and the Director of Advancement in each case with excellent results (Susan Austin and Courtney Archer-Buckmire).  The President of CS&A, Devereaux McClatchey, will serve as our lead search consultant. Consultant Brandon Jacobs and former heads of school Bob Vitalo and Rachel Friis Stettler and are also part of the consultant team.
  • What will be the role of faculty and parents in the search?

    Carney Sandoe will initiate a virtual school visit later this month, holding interviews and conducting a survey across all constituencies. This process will yield a School Profile that will be shared with potential candidates. We hope for faculty, students, parents and alumni to participate broadly.   Additionally, parents and faculty will be invited to participate in an online survey about the search process, and about what you consider to be most important in our next Head of School.  Your input will be critical in terms of shaping the leadership profile of who we hope to recruit to the position. You are also encouraged to reach out to any members of the Search Committee. Please feel free to email your thoughts to the Chair, Melanie Weston, here.
  • Will George participate in the search?

    George has pledged to contribute his hopes and thoughts to the process as asked, but it will be led and conducted independently by the Board.
  • Who hires the next Head of School?

    The Search Committee is responsible for recommending the next Head of School, but it is ultimately the Board of Trustees who will hire them.
  • How will we be kept apprised of progress?

    Melanie Weston, Chair of the Head Search Committee, will periodically update the entire community.  
  • When do you expect the search to be completed?

    Our hope is to have a new Head of School named by the early fall of the 2021-22 school year.

Head Search Committee

Melanie Weston - Chair, Head Search Committee, Trustee & Parent
MiChelle Carpenter - Dean, Class of 2024
Olivia Douglas - Chair, Board of Trustees & Parent
Greg Gushee - Trustee & Parent
Yoo Jin Kim - Trustee & Parent
Naomi Nwosu-Stewart - Trustee & Parent
Kate Patton - Faculty & Alumna Class of 1982
Don Waring - Rector of Grace Church, Grace Church School Ex-Officio Trustee & Parent

© 2021 Grace Church School
Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for over 700 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.