Head of School Search

October 13, 2021

To the Waverly Community:

It is with great excite­ment that we announce the appoint­ment of Clarke Weath­er­spoon as Waverly’s next Head of School effec­tive July 1, 2022.

With more than 20 years as an educa­tor, Clarke is joining us from the San Fran­cisco Friends School (SFFS), where he has served as Middle School Head for the past two years. Clarke brings tremen­dous school lead­er­ship expe­ri­ence. His passion for educa­tion and dedi­ca­tion to creat­ing ways for students to engage authen­ti­cally and invest in their learn­ing has been evident in his role as a history teacher, dean, divi­sion head, water polo coach and community volunteer. 

Clarke shares deep affin­ity with Waverly’s progres­sive educa­tion values, its focus on small classes, student empow­er­ment, and narra­tive system of student feed­back and eval­u­a­tion. In partic­u­lar, Clarke under­stands the unique­ness of our school and is excited to partner with teach­ers, students, and fami­lies to further develop new and excit­ing expe­ri­ences at Waverly. Clarke is uniquely posi­tioned to become our next Head of School because of his expe­ri­ences at the Urban School of San Fran­cisco and SFFS, two schools that are very much aligned with Waverly’s core values and practices.

Clarke brings exten­sive diver­sity, equity, inclu­sion, justice, and belong­ing (DEIJB) expe­ri­ence to Waverly. He has part­nered with multi­ple inde­pen­dent school boards in rede­vel­op­ing and design­ing DEIJB systems, taught equity and inclu­sion courses, served as an outside consul­tant, and designed lead­er­ship courses for parents and students. Clarke is currently a member of USA Water Polo DEI Task Force, serves as a board member of POCIS North­ern Cali­for­nia and is a new teacher trainer with the Cali­for­nia Teacher Development Collaborative. 

At the core of our search was finding a leader who under­stands and embraces the unique culture and values of Waverly. We strongly believe that Clarke has demon­strated this in his past roles, expe­ri­ences, and during the search process. His appoint­ment as Head of School is the culmi­na­tion of months of outreach to liter­ally thou­sands of educa­tors in inde­pen­dent, public, parochial, and charter schools, higher educa­tion, and commu­nity-based orga­ni­za­tions. The Search Commit­tee, composed of Trustees and faculty from all three divi­sions, worked closely with Jennifer Chris­tensen and Bob Fricker of Carney Sandoe & Asso­ciates to narrow down the field of candi­dates. After making more inten­tional connec­tions with 70 poten­tial candi­dates, review­ing dossiers from 15, conduct­ing video inter­views with seven semi-final­ists, and ulti­mately, invit­ing four candi­dates to visit our campuses, Clarke received over­whelm­ingly posi­tive responses from all constituen­cies, includ­ing faculty, staff, the admin­is­tra­tive team, and our former Head, Heidi Johnson. Of those commu­nity members who responded to the surveys, 98.8% agreed or strongly agreed that Clarke is aligned with the Waverly school culture and values, and 97.6% agreed or strongly agreed that Clarke should be the next Head of School. 

This strong commu­nity support is best exem­pli­fied by this comment from a high school student:

All that Clark[e] shared today really resonated with me as a student. He talked about things that I thought [were] really rare to hear from some people in those posi­tions. About complex dynam­ics in this world regard­ing account­abil­ity and true justice, not the text­book 2021 way, but the authen­tic way of handling it.

Clarke’s vision, thought­ful­ness and passion for Waverly was evident in every inter­ac­tion. He was the unan­i­mous choice of the Search Commit­tee and the Board over­whelm­ingly approved of Clarke’s nomi­na­tion and appoint­ment as our next Head of School.

Since Heidi announced her retire­ment, the Search Commit­tee has endeav­ored to main­tain a dialogue with the commu­nity regard­ing the search process first, for an Interim Head of School, and now, for our next perma­nent Head of School. You entrusted us with a supremely impor­tant deci­sion, and we could not have made it without your confi­dence and well-consid­ered feed­back at each stage of the process. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we would like to thank the members of the Search Commit­tee and the entire Waverly commu­nity for their engage­ment, support, guid­ance, and the time they have given to advance our shared mission and lead Waverly into the future. 


Serita Young and Nadine Tanio
Co-Chairs, Head of School Search Committee

October 13, 2021

Dear Waverly Community, 

I’m excited to be joining you as the next Head of School. I know this is an impor­tant time in the history of Waverly and in our country. I want to say thank you to the members of the Search Commit­tee who spent count­less hours talking with me and the other candi­dates for this role. They were great ambas­sadors for the school and engag­ing thought part­ners that helped me under­stand the signif­i­cance of this oppor­tu­nity. In addi­tion, I also want to thank each commu­nity member I met during my recent visit who helped me to get a greater appre­ci­a­tion for what brings people to Waverly. 

I know that students, teach­ers and parents love Waverly for its commit­ment to progres­sive educa­tion. Students learn by doing. They develop curios­ity, make connec­tions and expand their under­stand­ing of the world in part­ner­ship with inspired teach­ers. Waverly’s commit­ment to learn­ing is para­mount and its desire to keep students at the center of the expe­ri­ence is impor­tant to every­one. One of my main goals is to continue to build on this strong foundation. 

Waverly is also about freedom and justice. Commu­nity members spoke openly about their commit­ment to DEIJB work (Diver­sity, Equity, Inclu­sion, Justice and Belong­ing) and the need for further prac­tice and skill devel­op­ment in all elements of the school program. This is an impor­tant growth area across our society and I’m inspired by the open­ness and will­ing­ness to face these chal­lenges directly. We will need to call on the creativ­ity and courage that is in the history and the heart of the Waverly commu­nity and be willing to nurture the compas­sion, patience and empathy needed to help us collab­o­rate across our differences. 

Deep­en­ing these and many other elements of the Waverly program will not be a simple task. Build­ing on the work of Heidi Johnson and John Huber who have set the bar high. Deter­mined engage­ment is crit­i­cal for the next Head of School and I look forward to formally start­ing my collab­o­ra­tion with you in July. Between now and then I’ll be giving every­thing I have to San Fran­cisco Friends School, an amazing commu­nity that I revere. 

I’ll be joined by my wife, Joanna Ro and our two chil­dren, Jee-Ah (3) and Jae-Young (1). We will bring our love for the outdoors, good food, coffee and Bay Area sports teams. We very much look forward to getting to know you all over the coming years. 

Wishing you all the best, 

Clarke Weath­er­spoon

Back­ground to the Head of School Search

In Novem­ber 2020, Heidi Johnson announced her inten­tion to retire as head of The Waverly School at the end of the 2020 – 2021 school year. Heidi had been our long-serving Head of School, and we are tremen­dously grate­ful for all that she accom­plished during her 25 years of service to Waverly. A national search was conducted to find Waverly’s next Head of School. Consis­tent with NAIS best prac­tices, the Board of Trustees assem­bled a Head of School Search Commit­tee and retained Carney, Sandoe & Asso­ciates, a highly regarded inter­na­tional search firm, to work with the Search Committee.

Meet the Search Committee

  • Maria Brown (Parent of Aaliyah 26 & Natalie 24/​Elementary School Teacher)
  • Leo Glazé (Middle School Teacher/​MS Basketball Coach)
  • Greg Harri­son (Parent of Eiji 23 & Kazuo 21/​High School Teacher)
  • Debbie Lennon (Parent of Megan 11/​Trustee)
  • Wendy Lopata (Parent of Murray 25 & Nolan 22/​Trustee)
  • Noah Mayer (Parent of Lucy 28, Charlie 30, & Frankie 33/​Board of Trustees Chair): Non-Voting, Ex-Officio
  • Vijay Natraj (Parent of Siddarth 33 & Avan­tika 31/​Trustee)
  • Nadine Tanio (Parent of Isaac 21/​Trustee): Search Committee Co-Chair
  • Joanne Toll (Parent of Jamie 22/​Trustee)
  • Serita Young (Parent of Aaron 29 & Riley 28/​Board of Trustees Vice Chair): Search Committee Co-Chair

Commu­ni­ca­tions to the Waverly Community

Please click on the links below for commu­ni­ca­tions to the Waverly commu­nity regard­ing the search process.

October 13, 2021 — Announc­ing Waverly’s Next Head of School (PDF)

Septem­ber 10, 2021 — Final­ists Announce­ment (PDF)

August 9, 2021 — Head of School Search Update (PDF)

April 14, 2021 — Perma­nent Head of School Search Update (PDF) & Head of School Posi­tion Profile (PDF)

April 12, 2021 — Interim Head of School Appoint­ment Announce­ment (PDF) & Letter from Incom­ing Interim Head of School (PDF)

March 10, 2021 — Interim Head of School Search Update (PDF)

Febru­ary 11, 2021 — Search Update (PDF) & Interim Posi­tion Profile (PDF)

January 26, 2021 — Search Update (PDF) & Attach­ment (PDF)

Decem­ber 21, 2020 — Search Process Announce­ment (PDF)

Decem­ber 17, 2020 — Search Commit­tee Announce­ment (PDF)

Novem­ber 18, 2020 — Board Chair Update and Announce­ment of Engage­ment of Carney, Sandoe & Asso­ciates (PDF)

Novem­ber 18, 2020 — Retire­ment Announce­ment (PDF)

The Search Process

Down­load a PDF of the search process time­line here.

Head of School Search Timeline Final