President/Head of School Search

Mitch low resMitchell F. White Selected As Next Head of School of Lake Ridge Academy

Lake Ridge Academy's Board of Directors is proud to announce Mitchell F. White as the next Head of School, effective July 1, 2018.  Mitch currently serves as Dean of Academic Planning for the Weber School in Atlanta, Georgia, and brings nearly three decades of exceptional achievement in both education and business management.  Lake Ridge Academy is excited to welcome Mitch, his wife, Shelby, and their children, Ava and Jackson to our community.  Click here to read the official announcement letter.  

Carol Klimas Announces Retirement 

In July 2017, Carol Klimas, President of Lake Ridge Academy announced her retirement from the school after ten years of service, effective June 30, 2018. The Board of Directors has organized a thorough search process that began in August 2017. A Search Committee, led by former Board of Directors Chair, Bob Smith, will oversee the process with the support of Educators’ Collaborative, a national search firm that specializes in working with independent schools.

All members of our community, including Lake Ridge Academy parents, faculty, staff, students, and alumni will be encouraged to have their opinion heard during the search process. This web page will be our main tool for keeping our community informed regarding this important task at hand so please check back often.

Search Committee Updates

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is leading the search process?

Mr. Bob Smith
Mr. Bob Smith

The President/Head of School Search Committee is leading the search process and will make recommendations to the school’s Board of Directors, which will ultimately be responsible for selecting our next leader. Mr. Bob Smith, former Chair of the Board of Directors and an instrumental volunteer leader, was appointed Chair of the Search Committee.

The Search Committee is supported by Educators’ Collaborative a leading national search consulting firm that specializes in working with independent schools.

The Search Committee members:

  • Bob Smith, Chair
  • Caprice Bragg
  • Tom Dresing
  • Lee Howley
  • Rebecca McMahon
  • Bridget Moreno
  • Clare Navratil
  • Joe Raj
  • Chann Spellman

To ensure broad participation and an inclusive process, a Search Advisory Committee has been established. Julie Rehm, former Board Member and parent of alumni, and Mike Shaulis, Head of Academics and Upper School Division Director will Co-Chair this Committee. There are two distinct parts of the Search Advisory Committee, as illustrated below.


The Faculty and Staff Advisory Sub-Committee will provide important insight and is composed of the following members:

  • Mike Shaulis, Chair - Head of Academics and Upper School Division Director
  • Margot Calcut - Upper School Math Teacher and Faculty Representative
  • Keeon Gregory - Director of College Counseling
  • Katherine Hatcher - Lower School Division Director
  • Laura Lane - Lower School Teacher and Faculty Representative
  • Dale Pagano - Middle School Teacher and Faculty Representative
  • Barb Ridel - Assistant to President
  • Leannie McAllister - Assistant Director of Development & Alumni Relations
  • Cindi Seidel - Chief Financial Officer
  • Tim Unger - Middle School Division Director

The Community Advisory Sub-Committee will give broad representation of our larger community, with constituents who are alumni, parents, grandparents, donors, former parents, former Board of Directors Members. The committee includes the following members:

  • Julie Rehm, Chair - Former parent, former board member
  • Kumud Ajmani – President Parents Association, current parent 
  • Ian Anderson – Alumnus, Chair Alumni Council
  • Sabry Ayad – Current parent
  • Amy Bircher-Bruyn – Former Board member, Current parent 
  • Don Kaatz - Current Board member, alumnus, former parent, current grandparent 
  • Betty Kemper – Former parent, current grandparent 
  • Jenn Lagasse – Alumna, current parent 
  • Chris Pfeil – Alumna, former parent 
  • Jessa New- Current parent 

Has a search partner firm been selected?

Yes. Educators’ Collaborative (EC), a national consulting firm that specializes in working with independent schools, was engaged to be our search partner throughout the President/Head of School search. John Mackenzie, Managing Partner, is serving as our lead consultant, together with his colleague Marc Hurlbut.

What is the role of the Board of Directors in the search process?

The Board supports the Search Committee and refers all questions related to the search process to the Chair of the Search Committee. The Board will maintain complete confidentiality throughout the process. As the process draws to completion, the Board reviews the recommendations of the Search Committee, formally resolves to pursue a candidate, bears responsibility for negotiating the terms of employment and ultimately appoints the new President/Head of School.

How will the search committee communicate with the Lake Ridge Academy community?

The Search Committee is committed to making this process as transparent and inclusive as possible, while respecting candidate confidentiality. Updates will be provided through this web page and emailed or mailed letters.

What opportunities with the school community have to be involved with the search process?

The school community will be invited to meet with the search consultants, when possible. The first opportunity is coming up when Educators’ Collaborative are on campus, on August 30 and 31. Please see the letter from Bob Smith, Search Committee Chair, under Search Committee Updates.

A written survey will be emailed to our school community in early September, which will provide another opportunity for our constituency to share their thoughts.

Who should be contacted if I or someone I know is interested in being a candidate?

Candidate inquires should be directed to our search firm, Educators' Collaborative, to the attention of John Mackenzie.