Introducing Our Next Head of School

On November 18, 2021, the Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Dr. Raymond Yu as Bertschi’s next head of school

"I am incredibly honored and inspired to serve as your next Head of School. There is so much joy and warmth in the Bertschi village, and I felt deep resonance with the community and its mission. With joy and gratitude, I look forward to learning more about each of you and helping the community continue to thrive!"

- Dr. Raymond Yu

The appointment followed an extensive nationwide search and the unanimous recommendation of the Head of School Search Committee, which began its search in the spring of 2021. While the search attracted a pool of exceptionally talented educational leaders, Dr. Yu stood out for his broad experience in progressive elementary education, his strong track record in effective and creative work with marginalized populations, and his reputation as an empathetic and inspiring community builder.

Raymond comes to Bertschi from The Blake School, a highly regarded progressive independent school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he has been the Director of the Lower School (PK-5) for the past 8 years. At Blake, Raymond is responsible for all aspects of the Lower School, which encompasses two campuses, with a total of 500 students and two separate administrative and faculty teams. Among his achievements, Raymond has spearheaded leading edge curricular changes in a range of areas – including math, literacy, Spanish, and music–and is known for his talent for building and maintaining strong connections with students, teachers and families.

Raymond holds a doctorate in educational leadership, a master's degree in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor's degree in psychology. He has over 30 years of experience in elementary education, serving as a classroom teacher in both public and private schools, as principal of two public elementary schools and in several independent elementary school leadership roles.

With a deep commitment to driving positive change in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Raymond is known for building long-term supportive relationships with marginalized communities, including the Mdewakanton Sioux and local immigrant populations. His proven track record in DEI will be a tremendous asset to Bertschi school as we continue the work of bringing our mission and values alive.

Raymond will join our community on July 1, 2022. Read the full press release here>>

Check back soon to learn more about upcoming opportunities to connect with Raymond in the coming months!

The Bertschi Board of Trustees formed a Search Committee to conduct a nationwide search for the next Bertschi Head of School in the spring of 2021 and conducted a thorough process leading to the decision announced November 18, 2021. Details of that process are below.

Our Head of School Search followed best practices as outlined by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS):

  • We formed a committee made up of representatives from the Board, the Faculty, and the Bertschi Parent Council.
    We hired a well-regarded national search firm.
  • We included our full community in listening sessions to develop the position paper.
  • We followed the guidelines outlined for Head of School search processes for independent schools nationwide.

Our Search Committee is made up of representatives of all aspects of our community and truly represents a cross-section of our school community and Board: seven Trustees, three Teachers and the President of the Bertschi Parent Council.

  • Trustees represent a broad cross section of our Board: they have long-term service on all major Board committees, including Advancement, the Bertschi Fund, the Committee on Trustees (COT), the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC), the Executive Committee, the School Continuation Task Force, and the Facilities Task Force. They are current and alumni parents, and they represent a variety of professions, expertise, and experience.
  • Teachers represent all three divisions at the school: Upper Division, Lower Division and Specialists. One teacher is a current parent, one a parent of younger children and one does not have children.
  • BPC President is a current parent of students in both the Upper and Lower Division.

The recruiting process was extensive.

  • With input from the full community, we wrote a position paper to outline the role, experiences and qualities needed for successful candidacy, and the values of our school to attract the best possible candidates.
  • All members of the Search Committee received 4 hours of Anti-Bias training.
  • We spent 5 months reaching out to talented administrators across the US and spent time looking at a broad list of candidates to get to the 15 candidates who had strong alignment with the qualifications and qualities outlined in our position paper.
  • The Committee deliberated on these 15 candidates and narrowed the field to eight very strong semi-finalists.
  • After interviews with the eight semi-finalists and two separate meetings to deliberate and discuss their track records, materials and interviews, the committee unanimously chose four outstanding finalists (one of whom subsequently withdrew from the process).

As the Committee was charged to do by the Board last spring, the group brought forward three highly qualified Head of School candidates, all with unique experiences, all deeply aligned with our mission and values and with a strong track record at their current schools.

The Search Committee then reviewed and discussed the collective observations, information and feedback gathered through this process and came to the Board with a Recommendation for Hire, which the Board voted to approve. Input to the recommendation included:

  • Two Search Committee interviews (at the semi-finalist and finalist stage), as well as additional conversations with each candidate
  • The Trustee interviews (including zoom meetings for Trustees unable to attend evening sessions)
  • Two Parent Q&A sessions with each candidate
    Faculty and staff drop-ins and Q&A sessions
    Q&A sessions with students
  • One-on-one and team meetings with all Leadership Team members
  • Small group meetings for staff who could not attend other meetings
  • Candidate writing samples, materials, and track records at their current and former schools
  • Reference phone calls and transcripts from all references
  • Letters and emails sent directly to the Search Committee from current and alumni parents
  • The Head of School position paper and the Bertschi Strategic Plan

The Search Committee has collectively spent hundreds of hours on this process. Committee members worked exceedingly hard to ensure this was an objective, inclusive search process–in the middle of a pandemic, and in a very competitive market for national caliber Head of School candidates.

Commu­ni­ca­tions to the Bertschi Community

November 18, 2021: Announcing Bertschi's Next Head of School Read the announcement>>

November 10, 2021: Gratitude from the Head of School Search Committee Read the message here>>

October 14, 2021: It's Time to Meet the Finalists Read the update here>>

September 30, 2021: HOS Search Update Read the update here>>

September 9, 2021: HOS Search Update Read the update here>>

May 26, 2021: HOS Search Update Read the update here>>

March 5, 2021: Search Process Update & Timeline Read the update here>>

February 2, 2021: A New Chapter | Rafael del Castillo will continue DEI work at Rainier Scholars Read the update here>>

January 21, 2021: Letters from Rafael del Castillo (Head of School), Bernadette Bulacan Starin (President, Board of Trustees), and Teri Barnett (incoming Interim Head of School) Read them here>>

Head of School Search Committee

  • Tiffany Kelly-Gray | Co-Chair, Trustee & Parent
  • Dave Morris | Co-Chair, Trustee & Parent
  • Raney Cumbow | Fifth Grade Teacher (Upper Division Rep)
  • Mia Santos Herrmann | Library Specialist, Current Parent
  • Celeste Macapia | Trustee, Current Parent
  • Becca Ochiltree | Trustee, Current Parent
  • Bernadette Bulacan Starin | Trustee (past Board President), Alumni Parent
  • Michael Sung | Bertschi Parent Council President, Current Parent
  • Chris Walker | Trustee, Current Parent
  • Melinda Williams | Trustee (Board President), Current and Alumni Parent
  • Shannon Yergen | First Grade Teacher (Lower Division Rep)