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September 4, 2020

Dear Forsyth Community,

I came to Forsyth School in June 2018, eager to be a catalyst for change and lead the community into a new era. I am proud of all that we have accomplished these past two years―in particular, our reaccreditation, the new Eyas Program, and the beginning of a new strategic plan. I hope I was also able to bring some calm and healing after the turbulence of the previous years.

I know there is much more work to be done before the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion become realities for everyone in this school community. Forsyth needs and deserves a Head of School who can lead the charge into a new and complex era of economic, medical, and cultural challenges. Over the last few months, I have come to realize that I am no longer the right person for that role, and I have therefore decided to end my tenure at Forsyth at the end of the 2020/21 academic year.

Much of this decision is personal. It takes a lot of energy to run a school like Forsyth, and even more than usual during a global pandemic. At my age and after more than 40 years in education, my energy is flagging. Simultaneously, my wish to be near my family and share in my grandchildren’s childhoods has become irresistible. With my oldest grandchild closing in on his 10th birthday, I cannot let that window of opportunity close. Therefore, I have asked Kelly Richert and the Board of Trustees to excuse me from my responsibilities as of June 30, 2021. I am confident that Forsyth will find a new Head of School ready to lead the community into a future shaped by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

I want to commend our wonderfully talented and caring faculty, staff, and administration for making my joyous and challenging Forsyth experience possible. I will always treasure my time as a member of this school community. The rapid pivot to Distance and Hybrid Learning models in 2020 is another enormous achievement for which all are to be commended.

I want to thank Kelly Richert, current Board President; Eric Gilbert, past Board President; and the entire Board of Trustees for their help and support. They genuinely have Forsyth’s best interests at the forefront of every discussion and decision. I have offered to assist the Board in the upcoming transition process. In the meantime, I will give this job my full attention. 

I wish each of you and this fine school all the best in the coming years.

Warm regards,

Dan Hildebrand
Head of School

September 4, 2020

Dear Forsyth Community,

I write this letter with a heavy heart in response to Dan Hildebrand's resignation from Forsyth School, effective June 30, 2021. When the Board of Trustees hired Dan as Head of School in advance of the 2018/19 school year, we were excited by his strategic vision and understanding of this school community's strengths and challenges. Dan led Forsyth through the re-accreditation process, the strategic design process, and the launch of our new Eyas Program. Since the temporary campus closure in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dan's consideration of every aspect of our community's health and safety led to the development of our innovative and creative models for On-Campus, Hybrid, and Distance Learning. This year marks my sixth on the Board, and I am so proud of how far we have come.

The Board of Trustees honors Dan's request to retire. We respect his desire to be more physically present for his family, including his young grandchildren. We recognize the difficulties of leading a school community during these challenging times, and we realize that the time has come for Forsyth to find a new Head of School for the 2021/22 school year and beyond.

The Executive Committee has asked Jon Giokas (Elizabeth, Grade 4) to lead the Head Search Committee, and I am pleased to announce that he has eagerly accepted the role. As the primary screening group for the position, the Head Search Committee will narrow the field of candidates; gather feedback from the faculty, staff, and parents; and aggregate the data with findings from the interviews to make a final hiring recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Jon will provide more information about the Search Committee in the coming weeks.

The Board of Trustees has also hired The Education Group as our consultants for this process. Katherine Stuart, Laura Fuller, and Linda Talton comprise the team of professionals who will conduct our national search. They will collect input from the Board, faculty, staff, and parents to develop an engaging position statement to attract the best and brightest candidates.

I ask our entire school community for patience and understanding as we dive into and navigate this process during the ongoing global pandemic. We will share more information in the coming weeks as we solidify our timeline.

Finally, I want to thank Dan for leading us well and seeing our community through this incredibly memorable school year.


Kelly Richert
Board President


6235 Wydown Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63105
314.726.4542 |