Head of School Search

In June 2018, Head of School Karen Hanrahan announced her intention to step down from her role at the end of the school year in 2019. The Board of Directors has embarked on a search for a new Head of School who will continue the legacy set forth by the Sisters of Mercy of providing a rigorous education driven by faith, values, and care for the whole student. 

The Board of Directors has appointed a search committee, led by Penny Stack Alexander '78, and retained EW Partners to consult on the recruitment process. 

Under Karen’s leadership and with a dedicated faculty and staff, our school community has come together to make Mercy a strong and vibrant environment, focusing on the potential for each young woman to grow and develop. We thank Karen for her tireless devotion to Mercy High School and our cherished students as they grow into women of faith and compassion, equipped to make a difference in our world. In the coming year, we will celebrate her time here and her many accomplishments.

We will continue to update this page with information about the search process and opportunities for our community to contribute.

View Search Overview Document

Qualifications

A Mercy Education is rooted in Gospel values, and dedicated to educating young women of all cultural and economic backgrounds for academic excellence, compassionate service, global awareness, and Christian leadership. Committed to educating the whole person, Mercy High School serves a community of around 400 students, and offers outstanding college preparatory programs, rich opportunities for spiritual growth, a wide range of athletic sports, and service learning possibilities.  

Our Head of School is steward of this mission and legacy. The desired candidate is a collaborative, relational, Catholic leader with the following attributes:

• A practicing Catholic in good standing with the Catholic Church and a deep commitment to the importance of Catholic schools in the mission of the Catholic Church;
• At least 5-7 years of current, successful school administration or teaching experience
• Master’s Degree in Education Administration or related discipline;
• Proficient capabilities in finance, technology, communications and presentation skills, fundraising and planned giving, leadership and mentoring, accountability, articulation and ability to champion success.

The full job description is available on the EW Partners website here. Salary and benefits will be competitive, and commensurate with the candidate's experience.

To apply, please submit the requested information through the application portal by September 15, 2018.

Search Committee

Penny Stack Alexander ‘78 - Chair
  - SVP, HR Franklin Templeton Investments
  - Former member Mercy Burlingame Board of Directors

Pauline Borghello, R.S.M.  
  - Former Principal, St. Gabriel School
  - Mercy Burlingame Board of Directors

Dr. Pat Bradley, Ph.D
  - Mercy Burlingame Faculty; Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, Computer Science
 -  Parent of Mercy Burlingame graduates '11, '14, '17

Lauren Conklin
  - Mercy Burlingame Assistant Head of School for Academics

Margie Curran
  - Former Trustee, Charles Armstrong School
  - Parent of Mercy Burlingame students '15, '17, '21

Cindy McDonald Dunleavy ’81
  - CPA, former Controller at Granite Ventures, LLC  
  - Mercy Burlingame Board of Directors, Treasurer

Maureen Huntington 
  - Former Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of San Francisco

Barry Thornton, ED.D.
  - Principal, Junipero Serra High School

Susan Vickers, R.S.M. '61
  - Former V.P. Community Health, Dignity Health

Sr. Regina Ward, RSM
  - Associate Director for Mercy Mission Integration, Mercy Education System of the Americas (MESA)

Communications

Original Email Announcement

June 5, 2018

Dear Mercy Community,

After serving our school community for the last five years, Karen Hanrahan has decided to retire as Head of School in June of 2019 - at the end of the next school year.  

Karen has had a storied career as a Catholic School administrator for over 30 years and is a passionate advocate of all-girl’s education.

Under Karen’s leadership, our WASC accreditation was granted for a full six years and long-range strategic planning, including plans to address long term facility needs is underway. The Class of 2018 is ready to embark on their college journey having received acceptances from Ivy League schools to private, Catholic, State and UC institutions both across the country and internationally. These young women have benefitted from small class sizes and exceptional programs, from academics to the arts and athletics. All areas of Mercy life emphasize 21st century workplace skills like critical thinking, collaboration, and innovation, crucial for success after graduation.  

Under Karen’s leadership and with a dedicated faculty and staff, our school community has come together to make Mercy a strong and vibrant environment, focusing on the potential for each young woman to grow and develop.  An environment in which each girl is known, challenged and quite literally transformed during their four years here. With their dedication, Mercy girls gain the confidence to carry their passions-and their voices-into the world to make a difference in the lives of others.  

The Board of Directors of Mercy High School has developed a thoughtful transition plan and will embark on a search, enlisting the support of additional outside resources to find our new Head of School.  I am confident that there will be many highly qualified candidates who will be interested in this new leadership position, and it is our intention to choose Mercy’s new leader in a thoughtful manner. I shall keep you informed of our progress.

Since Catherine McAuley opened the first house of Mercy in 1827 in Ireland to serve the poor and educate young women, the Sisters of Mercy have continued to fulfill her vision-educating students to be women of faith, compassionate service and justice.  Our students are challenged to grow in faith and use their gifts to make a difference in the lives of others. We thank Karen for her tireless devotion to Mercy High School and our cherished students as they grow into women of faith and compassion equipped to make a difference in our world.  

Sincerely,

Bob Grassilli, Chair of the Board of Directors

Head of School Search Update Email

August 23, 2018

Dear Mercy Community,

In June, the Board of Directors announced the planned retirement of Karen Hanrahan, our Head of School. The Search for a new Head is in full swing, and we would like to update you on the progress. The Board has appointed a Search Committee, led by Penny Stack Alexander '78, and retained EW Partners to consult on the recruitment process.

Please visit our Head of School Search page on the Mercy website to view the Search Committee, candidate qualifications, and communications. We have created an overview document PDF that you may download and forward to any qualified candidates. 

The Head of School is steward of our mission and legacy. The desired candidate is a collaborative, relational, Catholic leader who embodies the skills and qualities essential to effective leadership. The full job description is available on the EW Partners website here.

Important Survey - Head of School Search

October 3, 2018

Dear Mercy Community,

As announced in the June communications regarding Head of School Karen Hanrahan's retirement, the Board of Directors of Mercy High School has brought together a Search Committee representing all the constituencies of the school community to identify qualified candidates for our next Head of School. The Committee has been quite active over the past few months developing a high level project plan, enlisting the support of EW Partners to facilitate the search process, posting the position on external job boards and specific educational and relevant job boards and leveraging their networks to "get the word out" and generate interest for this tremendous opportunity. Please visit the website for more information about the committee and process here: www.mercyhsb.com/about/head-of-school-search

The Board of Directors sincerely appreciates our community's support as Mercy Burlingame moves forward with the search for the next Head of School. We are eager to solicit your insight and feedback as part of this very important process. As such, we invite you to participate in a confidential survey (see link below). This survey is simple to complete, but a very important element of the process and the results will be shared with the search committee.   

Take the Survey Now!

We ask that you complete this by Friday, October 12th.

Thank you,

Penny Stack Alexander '78
Chair, Head of School Search Committee

Mercy At A Glance

Mercy At A Glance Infographic