Vistamar School

Interim Head of School
Start Date: July 1, 2024

Co-ed Day School, Grades 9-12, 240 students
737 Hawaii Street, El Segundo, California

About the School

Founded in 2005 by a group of civic-minded parents, Vistamar School is an independent, co-ed high school in El Segundo, California. With a dream of helping the South Bay region of Los Angeles keep pace with its changing population and economic growth (there were no independent high schools in the Beach Cities), the founders set out to offer a high-quality, college preparatory learning environment serving a student body reflective of the diversity of Los Angeles. Today, with one of the most innovative and globally-influenced academic programs among LA independent schools (the school borrowed from the best practices around the globe to build its world-class program), and the most diverse student body of any independent school in the Los Angeles region (the school serves ~52% students of color, between 30- 40% students receive some amount of moderated tuition, and 50+ zip codes are represented), the dream of the Vistamar founders is a reality.

Mission and Core Values

Vistamar School empowers students, preparing them to contribute and excel in higher education and in life, and commits to:

  • A broad and balanced program that challenges and engages students, building their individual skills and inspiring a passion for learning.
  • An intimate atmosphere that fosters initiative, responsibility, knowledge of self and connections to others.
  • Diversity of thought and culture that encourages authentic exchange of perspectives, mutual respect and a mature understanding of the world.
  • In their studies, in their work, and in their communities, Vistamar students will embrace lives of learning, integrity, and purpose.

Vistamar’s philosophy is grounded in five core values. The first is rigorously challenging the status quo. If preconceived notions about what good education looks like went unchallenged, Vistamar would not exist. Vistamar was founded with an unswerving commitment to digging deeper and working harder. The school’s program, student body, and cultural ethos are proof that there is a better way to educate high school students. Our courageous students choose Vistamar because they have the desire to challenge convention.

The second value is rich, intellectual engagement that opens the doors to any college. Scouring the planet to find the best practices in education has been central to Vistamar’s program, and Vistamar sees program design and innovation as an evergreen opportunity. Our faculty and staff revel in their obligation to advance as learners along with our students by bringing them the richest and most engaging educational experience obtainable. And when our students engage in this way, they have the preparation to land at the college or university of their choosing.

The third value is relentlessly embracing diversity of thought and experience. Students learn more in an environment where preconceived notions—born of circumstance and upbringing—are continuously challenged by fellow students who come from different backgrounds. They become enlightened and empathetic. Moreover, a diverse student body significantly enhances the educational experience of all students, opening the way to fuller lives and a more robust society. Vistamar’s diverse community is our greatest source of pride, and the voices of our diverse students are Vistamar’s anchor and the beat of our song.

The fourth value is living a healthy and balanced life. The Vistamar program puts reasonable demands on our students: they are challenged and engaged in their education because they are allowed to be teenagers. Their academic, personal, and college goals are always set high, but our students choose how to meet challenges in ways that suit them—with encouragement from their teachers and advisors to find time for sleep, exercise, healthy nutrition, and leisure along the way.

The fifth value is purposeful engagement in the world beyond our walls. Vistamar’s program, adopted from best educational practices in Europe, Asia, and the United States, is truly globally influenced. Our commitment to global studies is evidenced through student exchanges, travel opportunities, our civic engagement program, and our world language proficiency requirement—all of which are designed to ensure that Vistamar students are prepared to be resourceful in the way they show up as global citizens, and solve real-world situations.

Vistamar lives its values every day, and as a result, parent and student satisfaction scores have broken records for independent schools on more than 30 survey measures, and many LA Heads refer to Vistamar as “the school we all wish we had.”

About the Position

At the conclusion of a successful six-year tenure as Vistamar’s third Head of School, Chris Bright will step down in June 2024. The Board of Trustees has embarked on a national search for an experienced Interim Head of School who will embrace the school’s mission and build on a recently completed strategic plan. While the primary job of the Interim Head will be to prepare the school for the next long-term Head, there are some important focus areas that the Interim will need to address. The Board is committed to moving the school forward during this interim period.

Opportunities: The ideal Interim Head of School will have experience and demonstrated success in some or all of the following:

  • Alignment with Vistamar’s commitment to equity and inclusion
  • Strategic decision-making especially in relation to the recently completed strategic plan
  • Relationship and team building both within and outside the school
  • Community building where students, faculty, and staff feel supported, valued, and safe
  • Financial management and planning, including fundraising
  • Effective verbal and written communications
  • Admissions and marketing, especially in the area of clarifying school identity in the larger community
  • Personnel review and evaluation

Professional and Personal Qualities: The ideal Interim Head of School will demonstrate some or all of the following:

  • Extensive independent school leadership experience, preferably as an Interim
  • A collaborative and where appropriate, transparent leadership style that welcomes feedback, builds trust, and informs decision-making
  • A commitment to being visible and accessible
  • A willingness to understand and embrace the culture of Vistamar
  • A calm presence, sense of humor, and ability to get things done
  • A strong sense of personal accountability and a willingness to hold others accountable as well

How to Apply

Qualified candidates should submit electronically the following documents to Marcus Hurlbut at

  • EC Candidate Summary Sheet 
  • Letter of Interest
  • Current Resume
  • Interim Statement – describe what you feel are the most important components of being a successful Interim Head of School
  • Diversity Statement – describe your specific skills/experiences working with diverse populations, your values related to diversity and inclusion issues, and how you see yourself contributing to achieving equity and enhancing diversity at Vistamar School
  • List of five references

Listing Date: January 9, 2024