Press release from Rumson Country Day School

The Rumson Country Day School announced recently that Whitney C. Slade will become the seventh Head of School in its 87-year history. Mr. Slade will succeed Chad B. Small—who is in his 25th year as RCDS Head of School—for the 2014–2015 school year. Mr. Slade is currently in his 16th year as head of St. Michael’s Country Day School in Newport, Rhode Island.WSlade2

“The RCDS Board of Trustees voted unanimously to offer Whitney Slade the position, and we couldn’t be more pleased that he accepted,” says John Devlin ’83, who chaired the school’s nine-person search committee. “Competition for the best talent was particularly fierce this year, and we know Whitney was a finalist at a number of schools across the country. RCDS was on the top of his list when he began this process, and at the end of the process he was on the top of ours. How often do things work out that way?”

Mr. Slade, who is originally from Marblehead, Massachusetts, is a graduate of Tufts University. He received his Masters in Education from Harvard University in 1986. He and his wife, Ellen, a reading specialist, are avid sailors. They have two grown children.

“Whitney has my enthusiastic blessing,” says Mr. Small, who announced his plans to retire late in 2012. “He shares the vision and core beliefs of Rumson Country Day and brings great energy to the job. This is the right place for him, and he is absolutely the right person to be the next Head of School.”

The search for a new head of school began in December of 2012 and generated widespread interest that involved more than 50 candidates from across the country. As a finalist in the process, Mr. Slade spent two days meeting with the faculty, staff and parents. The feedback was not just positive, reports RCDS Board President Shawn Reynolds; much of it was effusive.

“This is the most important thing a board can do,” he explains. “The search committee members and our trustees devoted hundreds of hours to this process. So it was incredibly gratifying to see this outpouring of support.” The search committee chaired by trustee John Devlin ’83, included Board President Shawn Reynolds and Vice Presidents Danielle Devine Greene ’79 and Steven Scopellite and trustees Mark Stewart and Kim Tsimbinos. The committee also included Sara Diaz, Third Grade Teacher; Thomas Scott, Upper School History Teacher and Department Head and Jennifer Steiner Crowell ’88, President of Parent Council.

All of Mr. Slade’s professional leadership has been at the K-thru-8 level. He characterizes himself as a creative problem-solver who embraces new ideas and approaches to teaching. He believes that children are natural born learners, and that the function of a school is to facilitate their curiosity, channel their energy, and act as mentors for their achievement.

“How a school fulfills this mission is critical to its success as a learning institution,” Mr. Slade says. “I’ll continue the RCDS tradition of encouraging students to take risks, stretch themselves, and develop critical thinking skills—all within a safe, supportive atmosphere.”

Mr. Reynolds noted, “Mr. Slade’s philosophy and values are perfectly aligned with the RCDS mission, and this, combined with his outstanding record of achievement, has made him the ideal candidate to follow the great legacy of Chad Small who has created an optimal learning environment where both children and adults have flourished. Our school has a brilliant future, and we celebrate all that Mr. Small has accomplished in his 25 years and look forward to welcoming Mr. Slade to the RCDS family next year.”