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Head of School Search

Matt Walsh Named 10th Head of School

Dear Glenelg Country School Community,
 
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Matt Walsh as Glenelg Country School’s 10th Head of School, effective July 1, 2021. After a comprehensive search and careful consideration, the Board has unanimously selected Matt to succeed Greg Ventre, who is retiring on June 30, 2021 after 14 years of dedicated service to GCS.
 
Matt’s experience and expertise as an independent school head make him an excellent choice for the job. In addition, his intelligence, integrity, energy, transparent communication style, thoughtful and collaborative nature, and warm and caring demeanor make Matt a great fit for our GCS community and Dragon family. During Matt’s recent campus visit, the Board was impressed with how he interacted with administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni, and the feedback we received from the GCS community members with whom he met was overwhelmingly positive. The Board is certain that Matt is the right person to lead GCS going forward.  
 
Matt has spent 30 years as an independent school educator, holding positions as a teacher, coach, associate academic dean, division head, and head. Matt is currently the President and Head of School at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. Pulaski Academy is very similar to GCS in that it is a co-ed Pre-K-12 independent school with approximately 1250 students from age 2½ to grade 12, 190 employees, and an $18 million budget. During Matt's nine-year tenure at Pulaski Academy, the school achieved several consecutive years of operating surpluses, secured a $2 million dollar merit scholarship endowment from the Malone Family Foundation, established a cash reserve, and raised significant capital funds for the enhancement of its athletics facilities. Utilizing the research from Yale's Center for Emotional Intelligence, Matt led the school in revamping its social emotional learning program. Under his leadership, Pulaski Academy expanded its fine and performing arts program across all three divisions, constructed a new student commons, and developed a strategic marketing plan. Prior to joining Pulaski Academy, Matt was Headmaster at LaGrange Academy, a co-ed K-12 independent school with 200 students and 31 employees in LaGrange, Georgia. 
 
Matt is a graduate of Georgetown University with a BS in French, Minor in English and holds a MA from Middlebury College in Spanish Language and Literature. He is fluent in Spanish and French and an avid reader of political history, biography, and social psychology.   
 
Matt and his wife Janet have three children. Their older daughter, Ashling, attends Middlebury College while their younger daughter, Ayla, and son, John, currently attend Pulaski Academy’s Middle School. They look forward to making their home at the Head of School house on the GCS campus and having Ayla and John become GCS students in our Upper and Middle Schools.
 
Plans are now underway to ensure a smooth leadership transition from Greg to Matt. Matt is excited to learn more about our beloved school and diverse community over the next several months and start as Head of School on July 1. The Board is confident that when you get to know Matt, you will see in him what we see—a caring, competent, and collaborative Head of School who will lead GCS successfully into the future while preserving the best of its past. 
 
Please join me in thanking Greg for his many years of devoted leadership and warmly welcoming Matt and his family to GCS!
 
Sincerely,
Bradley Smith, P ’12, ‘14
Chair, Board of Trustees
Dear GCS Community,
 
What an amazing past few weeks it has been engaging with the Glenelg Country School Community during the Head of School search! I am very honored to embark on this journey with you, and my wife (Janet) and I and our three children (Ayla, rising 9th; John, rising 8th; and Ashling, college freshman) are so excited to be joining this special place.
 
I want to thank the Board of Trustees and all of the parents, administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni who participated in the process. Conducting a Head Search during COVID posed unique challenges which the trustees and the GCS Team handled with creativity, professionalism, and purpose. I also want to express my appreciation to Greg Ventre for all he has done to advance and strengthen Glenelg Country School over the past 14 years, a tenure which far surpasses the national average for independent school heads. Knowing both the joys and challenges of being a Head of School, I want to thank Greg and his late wife, Maddy, for giving so much for so long to the School.
 
From the beginning, I was drawn to GCS by the warmth, diversity, and inclusivity of its culture and by its unique setting and sense of place. My conversations with the School further revealed their importance and how they reinforce and intersect with one another to create an unusually strong community and a truly unique environment for learning. The love that people have for Glenelg came shining through in all of the meetings, and every group talked about how it’s the people who make GCS what it is. I was particularly struck by how many students, parents, trustees, and alumni highlighted how they have been inspired by the GCS Team. Taking notes, I recorded some of the student and alumni comments: “they know who you are; you can be yourself here; they have time for you; you will be valued and heard; they noticed when I didn’t get it; they have high aspirations for you and propel you to be better; they challenge you and teach you how to think.” It doesn’t get any better than that.
 
I recall one of the Board members saying that on the day that Kingdon Gould decided to drive down a country lane framed by beautiful white oak trees simply because he was intrigued by where it might lead, he set an enduring example for the GCS Community by “having the curiosity and courage to go down an unfamiliar path.” May these words continue to echo for all of us as we work to sustain GCS’ unique culture and traditions while charting new territory to explore together. My family and I can’t wait to be on campus, and I am looking forward to getting to know all of you in the months ahead. Go Dragons!
 
With enthusiasm and gratitude,
Matt Walsh
On August 31, 2020, Greg Ventre announced that he will retire as GCS Head of School (HOS) effective June 30, 2021. On behalf of the GCS community, the Board of Trustees thanks Greg for his 14 years of dedicated leadership and wishes him a happy and healthy retirement.

Soon after Greg’s announcement, the Board initiated a search for GCS’s next HOS and hired Resource Group 175 (RG175) to assist with the process. To engage GCS community members in the search process and gather their input about GCS’s future leadership, a community-wide survey was sent out and almost 400 responses were received. In addition, approximately 72 interviews were conducted with representatives of GCS constituent groups, including parents, students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees. 

A Position Statement was written based on the community’s input and is being used to actively recruit and vet candidates. The Board’s plan is to have the next GCS HOS hired and in place on July 1, 2021 to ensure a smooth transition to the 2021-2022 school year. 

This webpage contains search-related information and will be periodically updated as the search process progresses. I am confident that with the GCS community’s support and RG175’s help, the Board will select a new HOS that will lead GCS successfully into the future while preserving the best of its past.

Sincerely,
Bradley H. Smith, P ’12, ’14
Chair, GCS Board of Trustees
Glenelg Country School welcomes and encourages applications from diverse candidates. Glenelg Country School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, national origin (including English Language Learners), age, or disability in the administration of its education policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic or other school-administered programs, and the hiring and employment of faculty and staff.
An independent school serving students from age 2 through grade 12 in Howard County, Maryland.