The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Head of School Search

Welcome to our Head of School Search web page. We look forward to sharing regular updates on the search with our community.

Letters to the Community

List of 4 items.

  • Update from the Search Committee, 5-31-23

    Dear Members of the Fay Community,

    Thank you to everyone who has participated in the Head of School search process by sharing their thoughts and providing feedback to our search partner, Perrett Laver (PL).

    During the last few months, Lucy Hayes and her team at PL have been gathering information about Fay School. Your feedback, along with information provided by the Search Committee and the School’s administration, has been used to prepare a detailed Position Profile that describes our school and helps candidates to imagine the possibilities here at Fay. It details the skills and attributes that we seek in our next Head of School. We are pleased to share this Position Profile with you here, and a copy will be posted to the Head of School Search webpage. This Position Profile will be used to attract a pool of candidates.  

    At the same time, PL has been reaching out to its network of educational leaders to proactively identify potential candidates. In the U.S., the position has been posted to the career boards of the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). In the U.K,. the position has been posted to the Times Educational Supplement (TES) job board, which attracts educators from across the globe. 

    The next phase of the search process includes assessing candidates, establishing the initial candidate pool, and identifying the longlist of candidates to be interviewed by PL. The Search Committee will then review the results of those interviews and establish the shortlist candidate pool that best reflects the key attributes and skills we seek in our next Head of School. Shortlist candidates will meet with the Search Committee in early September. We are excited to begin this next phase in the search process and will continue to provide updates in the coming months.

    We continue to  welcome questions from the Fay community throughout the search process. Please contact us here. Your questions or feedback will be treated with confidence and may be addressed to Lucy Hayes at PL or to the Search Committee.


    James P. Shay ’78
    Ann Laquerre P ’16
    Co-Chairs, Head of School Search Committee
    Search Committee Members:
    James P. Shay ’78
    Ann Laquerre P ’16
    Melissa DeMarco Bois P ’19, ’20, ’22, ’23
    Dr. Alex D. Curtis
    David W. Harris ’58
    Helen Lin P ’20
    Beth Whitney P ’26, ’29
    Dr. Paul Abeln
    Gilbert Zawaira P ’26, ’29
  • Message from Jim Shay '78, President of the Board of Trustees 5-15-23

    Dear Members of the Fay Community,
    Thank you to the many members of our community who have already provided their feedback and insights regarding the search for Fay’s next Head of School, whether in meetings with Lucy Hayes, by completing the online survey, or by sending your thoughts via email. Your participation in the search process is valued.
    The information you provide will help the Search Committee and our search partner Perrett Laver to prepare a detailed Position Profile that describes the opportunity and the attributes and skills that we seek in our next Head of School. This Position Profile will be used to help attract a diverse and talented candidate pool. 
    The online survey will close on Friday, May 19. We appreciate your taking the time to complete the survey, if you haven’t already done so. Individual responses are confidential and are not shared with the Search Committee or anyone at the School. Perrett Laver will provide a summary report to the committee that identifies common themes. 
    We will continue to provide updates on the search process during the coming months and post information on the Head of School Search webpage.
    James P. Shay ‘78
    Ann Laquerre P ’16
    Co-Chairs, Head of School Search Committee
    Search Committee Members:
    James P. Shay ‘78
    Ann Laquerre P ’16
    Melissa DeMarco Bois P ‘19, ‘20, ‘22, ‘23
    Dr. Alex D. Curtis
    David W. Harris ‘58
    Helen Lin P ‘20
    Beth Whitney P ‘26, ‘29
    Dr. Paul Abeln
    Gilbert Zawaira P ‘26, ‘29
  • Message from Rob Gustavson, Head of School 5-8-23

    Dear Members of the Fay Community,
    With gratitude and humility, I am writing to announce that the 2023-2024 school year will be my last year at Fay.
    It has been a privilege to lead such a strong, vibrant school with a clear mission, shared sense of purpose, and positive culture for the past fifteen years, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have undertaken important, challenging, and meaningful work with talented and committed colleagues, trustees, families, and students. I am also extremely proud of all we have accomplished together since I arrived in 2008. We have transformed our campus and facilities; developed essential educational programs and initiatives; grown enrollment and expanded financial aid; strengthened the quality of our faculty and staff; established fiscal discipline and stability; and burnished Fay’s regional, national, and global reputation. By every measure, Fay is thriving—and I firmly believe July 2024 will be the right time to welcome a new Head of School.
    Three years ago, when Board President Jim Shay and I were discussing the terms of my current Head of School contract, I told him that it would likely be my final one. Last year, I confirmed with Jim that I would not be seeking a new agreement beyond the end of my contract in June 2024, and I officially informed the Board of Trustees at its Spring Meeting last Friday. Although my decision has not been public until now, planning for the process to find my successor has been underway for the past few months. Jim, Board President-elect Ann Laquerre, and a small group of trustees have been working diligently to select a search firm, establish a timeline, and develop a position profile. The Head of School search will commence this week.
    In addition to the Board’s focus on the search this summer and fall, a great deal of substantive work will be undertaken next year. I am eager to continue collaborating closely with trustees, my administrative team, and members of our faculty and staff throughout the coming year to maintain our excellent progress on key strategic priorities related to strengthening the Fay community, developing our campus and facilities, and deepening our commitment to financial and environmental sustainability. All of us look forward to an exciting and productive year ahead. 
    I don’t yet know what my next professional endeavor will be, and I intend to take some time to consider how best to utilize the knowledge I have gained during thirty years as an educator to benefit other independent schools. I do know that as much as I have appreciated and embraced the all-encompassing responsibilities of school headship, I will be ready for a new chapter that affords time to pursue my personal interests and enables a more balanced life with my family. Carol and I look forward to moving to our house in Maine in the summer of 2024 and becoming engaged residents of that community.
    While I understand that this upcoming change may feel unsettling, it also provides a rare and valuable opportunity for the School to benefit from new leadership. Given Fay’s outstanding reputation, I believe there will be tremendous interest in this position. I’m also confident that the Board will ultimately hire an exceptional candidate who is dedicated to Fay’s mission, embodies our values, and is committed to sustaining a culture of excellence.
    Thank you again for the extraordinary privilege of serving as your Head of School.

    Rob Gustavson
    Head of School
  • Message from Jim Shay '78, President of the Board of Trustees 5-8-23

    Dear Members of the Fay Community,
    Since joining Fay’s Board of Trustees in 2010, and becoming President of the Board in 2014, it has been my great honor and privilege to work closely with Rob Gustavson. When Rob and I began discussions regarding his current four-year contract, Rob shared with me that he believed his time at Fay would conclude in June 2024, marking the culmination of 16 years of dedicated service to the School. On Friday, May 5, Rob formally informed the Board of Trustees, and today, May 8, he announced his decision to the faculty and staff.
    Since its founding in 1866, Fay School has benefited from outstanding leaders who have possessed their own styles and strengths. Over the course of the last half-century, I have been honored to know three of these leaders who have served Fay so well. As we move forward, we will maintain our commitment to excellence in elementary and middle school education, and I am proud to help lead Fay’s search for its next Head of School.
    Rob’s commitment to Fay School’s mission and to our students’ success has been unwavering, and he has led with exceptional dedication and passion. Under his leadership, the School has grown in enrollment, expanded and improved its facilities, and increased the breadth and the quality of the academic program. 
    The last 16 years have seen transformative improvements to our campus with the completion of the 2008 and the 2020 Campus Master Plans, resulting in, among other achievements, the full integration of West Campus and the new athletic campus; the completion of the Primary School building; the construction of the West House dormitory; renovations to the Camp Family Dining Room Building, Harris Theater, and Webster House; the construction of Fay’s Center for Creativity & Design; upgrades to campus infrastructure, security systems, and information technology systems; and, coming this summer, renovations to Steward Dormitory. 
    Rob has overseen the development and implementation of two strategic plans, two AISNE re-accreditations, the expansion of the Primary School program to incorporate Kindergarten, and the launch of Fay’s Early Learning Center. Ever-focused on providing the best possible program to engage, challenge, and support students, Rob has overseen the development of the School’s Creativity and Design curriculum, expansion of the Wellness program, and the establishment of the role of Director of Equity and Inclusion to promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community at Fay.
    Under Rob’s leadership, the Fay community has continued to show its support of the School. Gifts to the Fay Fund from our generous families and friends have increased every year, and parent and trustee surveys have consistently yielded their highest marks. In addition to their day-to-day dedication, Fay’s faculty and staff have gone above and beyond to demonstrate their support of the School, with over 95% of faculty and staff participating in the Fay Fund.
    These milestones are just a few of the many demonstrations of Rob’s outstanding legacy–but the most important, of course, is the fact that Fay continues to provide its students with the foundation for a meaningful life, and that our graduates excel and thrive in secondary school and beyond. Rob’s strategic thinking, excellent judgment, and care for students have ensured that when he departs Fay in June 2024, the School will be in excellent shape and ready for its next leader.
    A number of months ago, a small group of trustees began the process of selecting a search firm to help us conduct the process of identifying candidates and then selecting Fay’s next Head of School. After interviewing a number of candidates, the trustees selected Perrett-Laver (PL) to lead a worldwide search. PL has an outstanding reputation for its work in leadership searches. PL’s international footprint, coupled with its deep understanding of junior boarding schools through extensive work globally, made the firm our top choice. 
    Following the selection of PL, a Search Advisory Committee was formed to provide PL with information about Fay and the Head of School role. Following today’s announcement, the public phase of this search for Fay’s new Head of School will begin, and a formal Head of School Search Committee will be established. In my role as President of Fay’s Board of Trustees, I will lead this search until my term ends on June 30, 2023. At that time, Ann Laquerre, the next President of the Board, will assume the leadership of this search, and I will remain as co-chair.
    Aside from providing oversight and support for the Head of School, a primary responsibility of the Board of Trustees is to hire the next Head of School. Therefore, Fay’s Search Committee will be composed primarily of trustees, along with other stakeholder leaders in our community. By gender, race, and affiliation, Fay’s Board represents a diverse cross-section of individuals in our community, including alumni, current and former parents, and a current Head of a secondary school. I assure you that the team selecting Fay’s next Head of School will reflect a breadth of experiences and perspectives.
    Lucy Hayes, Partner and Global Head of Practice, Schools and Educational Organizations at Perrett-Laver, will be visiting Fay later this week to tour the campus and to conduct one-on-one meetings with a number of community members. This vital component of the search process ensures that we will have input from a range of voices in our community to help shape the position description for our Head of School candidates. Lucy will not have the opportunity to meet with everyone, but we value your thoughts and opinions; you can complete a survey until May 19. We plan to launch the position profile in late May and have finalist candidates visit campus by mid-September 2023. 
    Rob Gustavson will continue in his role through June 2024. Rob and the Board are looking forward to a full and productive year, and we will have plenty of time to extend our best wishes to Rob and his family.
    In closing, this is a bittersweet moment for me. I arrived at Fay as a fifth grade student 50 years ago; my two older brothers, my children, and eight members of my extended family have attended Fay School. My affiliation with and affection for this great place will never subside, and my deep appreciation for, admiration of, and friendship with Rob Gustavson, his wife Carol, and their children Willa, Jack, and Henry, will not subside, either. It has been a great run!
    My thanks to you all for your continued interest in Fay School, and may you keep us close in your good thoughts as we recruit our next Head of School.
    Best wishes,
    Jim Shay ‘78, P ‘15 ‘17
    President of the Board of Trustees
The Head of School Search Committee
James P. Shay '78, P '15, '17
Search Co-Chair
President, Board of Trustees

Jim has been a member of Fay’s Board of Trustees since 2010 and has led the Board as President since 2014. As one of thirteen family members who have attended Fay, he has longstanding and strong connections to the School. He was President of the Fay Alumni Council from 2004 – 2007 and has served as Co-Chair of the Annual Fund. Jim earned his bachelor's degree from Boston College. He will retire as President and Trustee in June 2023, and was elected Trustee Emeritus beginning July 2023.

Ann M. Laquerre P '16
Search Co-Chair
Vice President, Board of Trustees

Ann joined the Board in 2016 and currently serves as Vice-President of the Board. She has served on the Facilities and Executive Committees, and Chair of the Committee on Trustees. Prior to joining the Board, she was an executive officer of Fay’s Parents’ Association. Ann was the owner and Executive Director of Happy Hollow School in Framingham from 2008-2021. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in microbiology, and a juris doctorate. Ann was elected President of the Board beginning July 2023.

Melissa DeMarco Bois P '19, '20, '22, '23
Treasurer, Board of Trustees

Melissa was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2016 and has served as Board Treasurer. She has also served on the Advancement, Finance, and Executive Committees, and was appointed Chair of the Committee on Trustees beginning July 2023. Prior to joining the Board, Melissa was President of the Fay School Parents’ Association. She has worked in regional sales positions at Gillette, and Proctor and Gamble. Melissa holds a B.A. in Economics and Sociology from Wheaton College.

Dr. Alex D. Curtis

Alex joined the Board of Trustees in 2020 and serves on the Committee of Trustees and the Facilities Committee. He was elected Vice President of the Board beginning July 2023. Alex has led Choate Rosemary Hall as Head of School since 2011. As Head of School, he is currently leading the “Inspire the Next” capital campaign, which is close to reaching its $300 million target; he established the Department of Equity and Inclusion; overseen significant growth in admission applications; and supported extensive technology initiatives. He also serves as co-Chair of the Board of TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) and Chair of the Board of CAIS (Connecticut Association of Independent Schools). Alex is a graduate of Swarthmore College, earned his doctorate from Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archaeology, and was Head of School at Morristown Beard School, NJ from 2004 to 2011.

David W. Harris '58

David has been a trustee of Fay School since 1972. He has held the offices of Treasurer and Vice-President, and he led the Board as President from 1989 to 1997. He is currently a member of the Investment and Advancement Committees. His father, Henry U. Harris, Sr., served on the Board from 1927 until 1966 and was President from 1938 to 1966. David has more than 40 years of experience in the financial service industry. He is the retired President of Source Capital Group, Inc. where he was responsible for the development of investment banking opportunities, recruitment, and oversight of the insurance business. He is now the Chief Investment Officer for Halcyon Energy. David holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a Vietnam veteran. 

Helen Lin P '20

Helen was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2021 and is Chair of the Advancement Committee. She also serves on the Marketing and Executive Committees. Helen has been instrumental in strengthening connections among Fay families and supporting the work of the Advancement Office in Asia. She was born in Taiwan, grew up mostly in California, and graduated from Sophia University in Tokyo. Helen speaks four languages fluently. She currently resides in Boston and serves on the Board of the Friends of Dana Farber Cancer Institute. 

Beth Whitney P '26, '29
Associate Head of School
Director of Enrollment Management

Beth joined Fay in 2010 as Director of Admission. In 2021, she was appointed Associate Head of School and Director of Enrollment Management. Beth has worked in education for more than 25 years. She was on the English faculty at Choate Rosemary Hall and has also served as an advisor and coach. Her previous admissions experience included Middlebury College, Yale University, and Choate Rosemary Hall. She received her B.A. from Middlebury College and her M.Ed. from Stanford University, and she is CAEP-certified by the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals. 

Dr. Paul Abeln
Director of Alumni and International Relations
former English Department Chair

Paul joined Fay School in 2012 as English Department Chair. In this role he was responsible for developing the curriculum for the School’s English, Language Arts, and ELP programs from Kindergarten through grade nine. He has traveled with Fay’s service and academic programs to the Dominican Republic, China, and Korea. In 2020, Paul was appointed Director of Alumni and International Relations. In this position, he has broadened his work with Fay students, alumni, and families, especially the school’s international population. Paul holds a B.A. from Villanova University, and M.A. and Ph.D. from Washington University.

Gilbert Zawaira P '26, '29
Secretary, Fay Parents' Association

As a current Fay School parent, Gilbert has been an active member of the Parents’ Association and serves as Secretary of the Parents’ Association Board. He is a member of the Fay Admission Network (FAN). Gilbert has over eighteen years of experience in Contract and Procurement management. He currently works for the Dimock Center which is recognized nationally as a model for the delivery of comprehensive health and human services to Boston’s underserved neighborhoods.

Our Search Partner

Fay School has partnered with the search firm Perrett-Laver to lead a worldwide search for our next Head of School. Perrett-Laver has an outstanding reputation for its work in leadership searches, a deep understanding of junior boarding schools through its extensive work globally, and an international reach. Learn more >>
About Lucy Hayes: Lucy is a Partner and Head of the Global Schools Practice at Perrett Laver. She has 16 years of professional executive search experience with the firm, and she established the Global Schools Practice for our business. Lucy now works exclusively with top tier schools around the world on senior leadership appointments, advising clients across North America, Asia Pacific, Australia, and Europe. As one of Perrett Laver’s senior partners, Lucy sits on the firm’s Executive Management Board. She holds a BA in Modern History from the University of Oxford.
Fay School is an independent, co-educational school in Southborough, Massachusetts, serving students in Kindergarten through grade nine. Fay offers a broad and balanced program that provides a foundation for a meaningful life. The boarding program, an option in grades 7-9, is an integral part of school life, uniting students from across the United States and more than 20 countries in a lively, diverse, and truly multicultural community.
main number 508-490-8250
admission 508-490-8201