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Head of Upper School Candidates to Visit SGS

The search to identify the next Head of Upper School at Saint George’s has been in process since December. The position was posted both locally and nationally as well as contracting with CalWest Educators Placement, a national search firm with roots in the West that is used by independent schools. These efforts resulted in a strong pool of candidates. The HUS Search Committee reviewed over 20 applications, from there we held preliminary interviews with 9 candidates and then 6 semi-finalist interviews to identify four finalists who will have on-campus interviews during March.

The Search Committee is comprised of:
• Jamie Tender, Head of School
• Rick Petrini, Head of Lower School
• Joelle Neiwert, Head of Middle School
• Qingqing Ji, Upper/Middle School Teacher
• Meghan Kilgore, SGS Counselor
• Dan Antonietti, Human Resources Manager
• Susan Leggett, US Parent and SGS Board member

The four finalists are:

Nathan Lill – Nathan is originally from Spokane and has a deep knowledge and respect for Saint George’s School. He currently works at Spokane International Academy as Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Prior to his relocation back to Spokane he worked at Shekou International School as a Principal, responsible for 260 students in Grades 6-10, served as the IB EE Coordinator, instructor for TOK and IB Psychology. He has over 20 years of experience as a teacher, working in both the Advanced Placement and IB. Nathan holds a Washington State Teaching Certification, has training in IB psychology, IB Theory of Knowledge, and IB Extended Essay Coordinator. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English Literature, with a minor in Chinese (Mandarin) and East Asian Studies from Western Washington University, and his M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, Leadership from Concordia University.

John French – John is originally from Wyoming and currently lives in Wisconsin and has worked at The Prairie School since 2012 where he teaches Upper School History, including AP U.S. History. He has also served in several leadership roles including Upper School Dean of Students, Department Chair, and ISACS Accreditation Coordinator. He is completing the NAIS Aspiring Head of School Fellowship this year, served on the Forward 48 Regional Leadership Development Program, ISACS accreditation visiting teams, and is an AP U.S. History reader. John received his B.A. in History and his M.A. in History from University of Wyoming, and his Doctor of Philosophy in History from Marquette University. Prior to teaching in his current school, John was an adjunct instructor at several universities.

Ian Townley – Ian is currently the IB Chemistry and IB Biology teacher, advisor, coach, and K-12 Science Department Chair at Saint George’s. Ian has been at SGS for a total of seven years, first from 2013 – 2017 and then returned in 2020. From 2017 – 2020, he was a Professor of Practice at Tulane University where he managed the Laboratory Preparation Group, supervised the Graduate Teaching Assistant Group and was Coordinator of the Master’s Program. He has experience in the Bio Medical Field and was a manager of the RCMI Cell and Molecular Biology Core at Xavier University in Louisiana. Since 2017, Ian has been Director of Squid Books, LLC serving as Content Manager, working with science writers, editors, and educators. Ian has training in IB Biology and IB Chemistry. He earned his B.A. in Biology at Lewis and Clark University and his Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology at University of California at Santa Barbara.

Holly Ziemer – Holly is currently the Assistant Head of School, Head of Middle and Upper School at Evansville Day School (EDS) in Indiana. In her current role, she manages all facets relating to academic programming and faculty supervision for both divisions. During her time at EDS, she has taught AP Research, AP English Literature and Composition, AP US Government and Politics, AP Comparative Government and Politics, as well as coached and led extra-curricular activities. Holly also has experience teaching in the International Baccalaureate Program, teaching IB Language A HL and Theory of Knowledge. She was accepted to the NAIS Aspiring Head of School Fellowship for 2023-24 Cohort. She holds a Licensed Professional Educator certificate in Indiana. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English (Minor in History) and Juris Doctor (J.D.) Law from Indiana University Bloomington. She earned her Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Indiana.

On Campus Visit Schedule – Each candidate will spend a full day at the school meeting with various groups.
Holly Ziemer – Friday, March 10
John French – Monday, March 13
Nathan Lill – Thursday, March 16
Ian Townley – Wednesday, March 22
(revised date)

We are excited by the interest the position received and our ability to draw a deep pool of qualified candidates. We look forward to bringing our candidates to our beautiful campus and introducing them to the people and qualities that make Saint George’s an outstanding and special place to work and learn.


Jamie Tender
Head of School