2024-25 WCDS Head of School

Dear Wheeling Country Day School Community:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce the unanimous decision of the Board to appoint Jessica Broski-Birch as Wheeling Country Day School’s next Head of School, effective, July 1, 2024.

We believe Jessica will be a highly competent and confident steward of Wheeling Country Day School. Her intelligence, belief in progressive education, exceptional interpersonal skills and collaborative leadership style are a strong fit for us. Jessica genuinely believes in the emotional and academic growth of children as individuals and has demonstrated a commitment to upholding the potential of every student in more traditional school systems. She is excited to bring this passion to WCDS, where that value is integral to our core mission and everyday school experience.

Beginning in August of 2023, the Search Committee, chaired by Scott Harden, began working with RG175 which specializes in searches for independent schools. Our consultant, Rebecca Upham, has 40 years of experience including head of school for 17 years. With her guidance, and structured input by parents, faculty, administration, and the Board, the search committee drafted a position statement describing our mission and values, the unique characteristics of our school and culture, the challenges we face, and what attributes we desired in a new head. This position profile was used to search for and vet candidates. In addition, each candidate completed a skill survey.

Rebecca interviewed 60 candidates and presented nine candidates to the committee for review. The committee narrowed a strong pool of diverse candidates to seven who were invited for a round of comprehensive virtual interviews. Three finalists visited our campuses for three-day interviews including interactions in social settings, meetings with our current

Head of School, Elizabeth Hofreuter, parents, faculty, staff, and critically with students at all grade levels.

The unique culture, pedagogy, and operation of WCDS created by Liz over the past fifteen years lead us to ask, who best can preserve, sustain, and build on that foundation?  We were fortunate to have three excellent finalists. From the three, the Search Committee unanimously recommended Jessica to the Board as the best fit for WCDS.

Jessica brings experience teaching in elementary and middle school. Her love and concern for students was apparent in her interactions with our students during her visit to both campuses.

She has a passion to improve students’ experiences and a desire to create a family environment in her school. In her current position as Principal at Bridge Street Middle School, she built a collaborative team that became a model within the public school system.

Jessica’s dynamic and engaging personality make her an effective communicator who will be the Chief Storyteller for WCDS. Jessica is an innovator and under her leadership a number of new programs were developed including a comprehensive and community-based social-emotional program, a student-led career exploratory program, small group personalized learning courses focused on independent academic growth, a nationally recognized robotics team, an archery team, and a student-run marketplace.

Jessica was drawn to Wheeling Country Day because of our innovative, progressive teaching methods and our core value of fearless learning. In her application Jessica said, “Whether tackling complex projects or exploring solution-oriented ideas, the air of Wheeling Country Day is charged with the energy of individuals driven by a caring attitude and a professed love for what they do. These are two components that must be cornerstones of nurturing our youth where school is not merely a workplace of staff and students, but a family where collaboration is a shared journey.”

Wheeling is a unique area with distinct challenges. As a longtime resident who is involved in the community, Jessica appreciates our assets but understands our challenges. Her communication and relationship building skills will make her effective at forging partnerships with businesses and donors.

Jessica’s appointment marks an exciting but emotional moment in Wheeling Country Day School’s history. She will succeed Elizabeth Hofreuter, who has served WCDS for fifteen highly successful years. Following in Liz’s footsteps is no easy task. Liz’s impact on Country Day and the Wheeling community is immeasurable and her legacy is enduring. Her unwavering leadership, passion, and love for Country Day has led us to this exciting new chapter.

We wish her well on her new journey.

The selection of the Head of School is one of the greatest responsibilities of the Board, and it was not taken lightly. The Board would like to extend our gratitude to the entire WCDS community for all the ways students, faculty, staff, and families participated in this process over the past several months. We owe our deepest thanks to the members of the search committee for their tireless commitment: Scott Harden, chair, Lisa Allen, Natalie Bartner,

Dr. Amy Jean Chao, Joyce Jefferson, and Brian Joseph. We are delighted with the outcome, and look forward to welcoming Jessica to the WCDS family. The board is confident that with her skills, drive, and dynamic personality she will lead WCDS to a bright future. We are also confident that each of you will extend a warm welcome to Jessica and provide help and guidance during this time of transition.

In the weeks ahead, we will work to form transition plans with Jessica. We know she is excited to meet our community and begin working with us. Upon her acceptance, Jessica shared the following sentiments, “I am honored and thrilled to step into the role of Head of School in such an esteemed institution. I am committed to upholding the line of excellence that has been laid and am dedicated to preserving and enhancing the pillars of culture and innovation. With the support of the Wheeling Country Day faculty and staff, the Board, students, families and community, I am confident that we will uphold the integrity of the present and shape the future.”

Warm regards,

Lisa Allen

Chair, Board of Trustees