Principal Search

ESI believes that the next PEA principal must address climate change as a core component of an Exeter education, on the Exeter campus and within the Exeter community.  To that end, we have sent the following letter to the Principal Search Committee; we encourage you to endorse it and/or send your own letter ( to the Search Committee. Sample search committee letters written by fellow Exonians are available for review, inspiration and assistance in writing your own.

Dear Ms. Davis and Mr. Hutton:

August 24, 2014

Environmental Stewardship Initiative for Exeter

The selection of a new leader for Phillips Exeter Academy is as critical a choice for the future of the institution, the students, staff, faculty, local community and alumni/ae as there has ever been. As members of the Environmental Sustainability Initiative for Exeter, we urge the Principal Search Committee to select, and the Trustees to approve, a new principal for Exeter who is committed to bold action in response to one of the greatest challenges of our age: the economic, environmental and societal disruption caused by global climate change.

Exeter’s 15th principal instructor must recognize the urgency of this crisis and have an affirmative vision for placing the institution and the entire Exeter community at the vanguard of local, national, and global leadership devising and implementing effective solutions. As Exeter’s credo is to create leaders with both knowledge and goodness to “form the noblest character, and lay the surest foundation of usefulness to mankind,” it follows that Exeter should pay heed to the clarion call to action and integrate the profound consequences of global climate disruption into its highest educational and operational priorities.

Exeter’s next leader has a unique opportunity and responsibility to challenge the Academy community, its sister institutions, and national educational leadership to move with fierce determination to help restore climate stability. S/he can build on the sustainable practices and initiatives achieved to date on campus and increase the depth and breadth of institutional commitment, innovation, and financial investment that the crisis demands. This work should be an obligation shared broadly and met collaboratively with the entire Exeter community.

Specifically, we recommend that the next principal have a track record of leading institutional and curricular change, deep and profound grounding in issues of climate change mitigation and adaptation, clean energy, and/or environmental stewardship, as well as a passion for tapping the talent and expertise of its committed community.

We implore your committee to ensure that this selection of a new principal honors the Exeter tradition of intellectual ambition, courage, and ethical leadership that has earned the Academy its national and international reputation. A new principal with vision, courage and commitment will help the Academy and our community make the difficult choices ahead.

As proud alumni/ae, we are deeply hopeful that Exeter will mobilize and respond to this existential threat and approach it as an opportunity for learning and leadership. We stand prepared to collaborate with the committee and the next principal to achieve a sustainable future.

Respectfully yours,
Leadership Team, Environmental Stewardship Initiative for Exeter

Granville W. Burgess ’65 Susan S. Kaplan ’79 Lawrence J. Silverman ’63
Christophe G. Courchesne ’98 Justin J. Landowne ’14 Joe Symons ’63
Eben P. James ’80 Sophie S. Robinson ‘07 Conrad L. Willeman ’64


Click to Endorse the Search Committee Letter and sign up to our mailing list.