Meet our new Head of School Dan Quesnel
Dan and his wife, Ellyn, of fifteen years are the parents of two children who both currently attend FCDS. Their daughter, Emily, is in the 7th grade and their son, Nate, is in the 5th grade.
- Letter from new Head of School
- New Head of School Announcement
- Head of School Search Committee
- Head of School Search Process
|Dan Quesnel, Oakwood's Next Head of School|
- Upper School parents -- Sunday afternoon, February 18, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Tedder Library of Monk Hall
- Lower School parents -- Monday morning, February 19, 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. in Extended Day Room of Monk Hall
- Middle School parents -- Monday afternoon, February 19, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Tedder Library of Monk Hall
December 4, 2017
Dear Oakwood Community:
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Daniel P. Quesnel as Oakwood's next Head of School, effective July 1, 2018. The Search Committee is certain that Dan's commitment to the development of the whole child, approachable and engaging style, and independent school experience will position him to lead Oakwood with excellence into our 23rd year and beyond.
Dan has worked at Forsyth Country Day School (FCDS) in Lewisville, N.C. since 2007. Initially a Middle School teacher, coach, and the school's General Counsel, Dan has served as Middle School Director and General Counsel since 2013. Dan oversees the affairs and budget of the Middle School, which consists of 200 students and 29 faculty and staff members. In the past few years, he has assisted the Head of School with restructuring and revitalizing the school and growing enrollment after a period of decline.
During his 10-years at FCDS, Dan has implemented initiatives focused on academic excellence, global mindedness, and character development. He worked with administrators and department chairs on curricula review and development; designed and implemented STEAM-related electives courses; and worked with the school's academic center to ensure students receive appropriate services and accommodations. Dan created an annual two-week cross-cultural exchange with a school from China, as well as a Middle School trip to Europe. Dan serves as Chair of FCDS's AdvancED/SAIS Reaccreditation Committee and participates as a member of the school's Admissions Committee, Academic Committee, Professional Growth Task Force, and Philanthropy Committee.
As the school's General Counsel, Dan has worked closely with other administrators and the Board of Trustees in various areas of risk management in school operations, as well as employment, financial, and insurance matters. He is an advisor to the Head of School regarding student discipline and also serves as a member of AdvancED/SAIS visiting accreditation committees for other schools.
Prior to Dan's independent school career, he was an Associate at the law firms Wall Esleeck Babcock, LLP in Winston-Salem; Bell, Davis & Pitt, PA in Winston-Salem; and Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman, LLP in Charlotte where he practiced law for independent schools and business clients in corporate, real estate, financing, employment, and employee benefit matters. Dan received his J.D. at Wake Forest University School of Law in 1999 and his B.A. in Political Science at University of North Carolina - Asheville in 1996.
Dan and his wife, Ellyn, of fifteen years are the parents of two children who both currently attend FCDS. Their daughter, Emily, is in the 7th grade and their son, Nate, is in the 5th grade. In accepting this appointment, Dan said, "It was going to take a special opportunity at a truly exceptional school for my family to leave our home at FCDS. In visiting The Oakwood School and meeting the people here, it became quite clear what a special place Oakwood is. I could not be more excited for the chance to lead Oakwood and have my family become part of such a wonderful community."
Dan's unanimous selection by both the Search Committee and The Oakwood School's Board of Trustees was the culmination of a six-month process conducted in partnership with Wickenden Associates, a leading independent school search firm, whose fees were covered by an Oakwood donor. After conducting campus visits and an extensive community-wide survey, Wickenden launched a national search targeting nearly 150 educational leaders across the country regarding Oakwood's Opportunity Statement. Oakwood's strong reputation as a 21st century independent school serving eastern NC generated applications from 47 highly qualified candidates. The Head of School Search Committee pre-screened 18 short-listed candidates, invited nine semi-finalists to interview and tour the school over a long weekend in October, and conducted two 2-day finalist visits in October and November before ultimately reaching a unanimous recommendation to Oakwood's Board of Trustees to name Dan as our next Head of School.
I would like to personally thank The Oakwood School's Search Committee for their excellent work. Their commitment to this process allowed us to select a worthy successor to Rob Peterson, and we owe each of them a sincere thank-you for their time, effort and servant leadership on behalf of the Oakwood community.
Over the course of the next several months, a Welcoming and Transition Committee and our current Head of School, Rob Peterson, will work with Dan to ensure a smooth transition in leadership as he prepares to join us on July 1, 2018. Please join Oakwood's Board of Trustees in welcoming Dan, Ellyn, Emily, and Nate!
The entire Search Committee was mindful of the importance of this decision given the exceptional leadership displayed by Rob Peterson throughout his 10-year tenure with our school. We look forward to Dan's inspiring leadership next year as "we seek to instill in our students the strength of character, the creativity, and the wisdom to make a difference in the world."
President, Board of Trustees
Vice Chair, 2017-2018 Search Committee
2017-18 Board of Trustees:
Randy Fry, President
Patricia Rawls, Treasurer
Laura Hanley Davis
Rob Peterson, Head of School (ex officio)
Eileen Van Houten, Past President (ex officio)
The Oakwood School 2017-2018 Search Committee
Dave Hunt, Chair
Current parent, past Trustee, past Board President (2015-2017)
Randy Fry, Vice Chair
Current parent, Trustee, Board President (December 1, 2017 to present)
Current parent, Trustee
Alumni parent, past Trustee, past Board President (2009-2012), administrator (Director of Advancement)
Advisory Board member, past parent, past Trustee
Current parent, Trustee
Current parent, faculty, administrator (US Division Coordinator)
Current parent, alumni parent, past Trustee
Eileen Van Houten, Search Committee Advisor
Alumni parent, past Trustee, past Board President (2013-2015), 2006-2007 Search Committee Chair