Head of School-Elect Appointed by Board of Trustees: Rob Hereford

Board of Trustees Chair Rachael Gambel announced on October 7, 2020 the appointment of Rob Hereford as Metairie Park Country Day School’s 10th Head of School. Mr. Hereford’s tenure will begin on July 1, 2021, the 93rd year of the School. He will succeed Interim Head of School Ian Craig.

“The job of the Search Committee was to find a Head of School who could lead Country Day with a vision for the future while maintaining a firm grasp on our history, traditions, and culture,” said Search Committee Chair Odom Heebe. "After careful consideration, we believe that Rob’s educational experience, strong moral compass, and warm, approachable nature are what Country Day needs. We are thrilled Rob will be joining us.”

A dedicated leader and educator with experience at four excellent independent schools, Mr. Hereford has had broad and meaningful engagement in independent school life and has a deep understanding of New Orleans culture. He has been the Head of School at Laguna Blanca, a PreK-12 school in Santa Barbara, California since 2014. However, his professional journey began at Houston’s Episcopal High School where he was a history teacher, basketball coach, and Associate Academic Dean from 1992-2003. In 2003, he left Episcopal to become the Upper School Principal at Metairie Park Country Day School, where he remained until 2006. From 2006-2014, he was the Upper School Head at Fort Worth Country Day School.

"Rob’s intimate understanding of teaching and learning, ability to lead through crisis, and thoughtful, steady demeanor make him an optimal fit to return to Metairie Park Country Day as Head of School," said Board Chair Rachael Gambel. "Those characteristics coupled with his known reputation for a collaborative work environment, make him a Head of School that will connect and engage with trustees and students, parents and faculty." Over Mr. Hereford's last six years at Laguna Blanca, he has been particularly successful in enhancing academic programs through changes to student schedules, addressing faculty salaries, helping launch new entrepreneurship and science research programs, and through partnerships with local public elementary schools.

Mr. Hereford holds a B.A. in history from Vanderbilt University and an M.A. in history from the University of Georgia. He was a Klingenstein Fellow in 2002 earning an M.A. in Private School Leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University. Over the years, he has participated in numerous professional development workshops and led many accreditation visits. Just like the students and faculty he oversees, he continues to grow, evolve, and learn, believing strongly in a collaborative growth mindset.

“I am thrilled and honored to be returning to Country Day to partner with the talented and devoted trustees, faculty, and staff to build upon over 90 years of educational excellence,” shared Mr. Hereford. “Country Day’s continued dedication to its mission of ‘building strength of intellect and strength of character’ in an environment filled with joy was obvious in every facet of my visit to campus, and the community’s balance of innovation and respect for tradition provide an incredible foundation for our work together. Amanda and I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and making many new ones as we come home to Country Day.”

Mr. Hereford was born and raised in Selma, Alabama where his experiences growing up in the aftermath of the Voting Rights March afforded him deep understanding and commitment to the multi-faceted work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. His wife, Amanda, attended Texas A&M where she played softball. Since, she has taught lower school science at Country Day as well as 7th-grade and 9th-grade science at various schools. They have three children, an adult son in Austin and two sons ages 12 and 10. They both love to cook, entertain, and enjoy campus life together.
 
 

Head of School Search

About the Search Process:
In February, the Board of Trustees selected Board Ad Hoc Odom Heebe ‘85 to oversee the formal Head of School search process. Odom was assisted by Wendy McCarthy Beron ‘79, Rachael Tullis Gambel ’87, Lauren Gehman, Nancy Harvey Hales ’65, Robbie Saer, and Jake Weinstock ’09. After reviewing proposals from a number of firms, Odom and his team engaged the firm of Carney Sandoe & Associates, a nationally recognized search firm specializing in independent schools since 1977.

A deliberate, thoughtful, and thorough Head of School search and selection process began that included nearly 100 applicants. These applicants were diverse in regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnic origin and the search consultants vetted these applicants based on the Position Statement and their knowledge of Country Day. The consultants then narrowed the applicant pool down to 16 candidates. Eight were female and eight were male and two were people of color. The Search Committee then spent many hours narrowing this group down to six semi-finalists after thorough interviews, dossier review, discussion, and voting. After two days of face-to-face interviews with semi-finalists via Zoom, the Search Committee selected four finalists to move forward before selecting Rob Hereford as Country Day’s next Head of School.
300 Park Road, Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 837-5204
Established in 1929, Metairie Park Country Day School is a coed private school for New Orleans area students in early childhood through Grade 12. From the elementary grades through upper school, the care and cultivation of each child comes to life in our exciting academic program, creative arts, and competitive athletic offerings.

Notice of Non-DiscriminationBased on receipt of federal financial assistance through a Paycheck Protection Program loan administered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under the CAREs Act, the School acknowledges its obligation to prohibit discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, citizenship status, genetic information, handicap or disability in admissions, access, employment, tuition assistance, educational policies, or other school-administered student and employee programs and activities.  Questions regarding the School’s compliance with the application and administration of the School’s nondiscrimination policies should be directed Mike McGuire, Athletic Director (Title IX), mike_mcguire@mpcds.com, 504-849-3190, 300 Park Road, Metairie, LA 70005; Jen Sciortino, Director of Academic Excellence (Section 504), jen_sciortino@mpcds.com, 504-838-3304, 300 Park Road, Metairie, LA 70005; Bonnie LaGraize, Chief Financial Officer (Title IX and Section 504), bonnie_lagraize@mpcds.com, 504-849-3106, 300 Park Road, Metairie, LA 70005, or to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) or to the SBA.  Please refer to the School’s SBA Non-Discrimination Compliance Policy on the School’s website for information on how to file complaints with OCR or the SBA.

This notice will remain in effect until the School has satisfied and paid off the SBA Paycheck Protection Loan.