Head of School Search

Zachary G. Lehman Named Loomis Chaffee’s Eighth Head of School

The Loomis Chaffee Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Zachary G. Lehman as the eighth head of school. Zack will begin his tenure on the Island in July 2023, succeeding Sheila Culbert who will retire at the end of the 2022–23 academic year following 15 years of service to the school.

Zack’s appointment concludes an eight-month search process. You can read Chair of the Board Duncan MacLean’s ’90, P ’24 announcement below as well as Zack’s first message to the Loomis Chaffee community.


A Message from Duncan A.L. MacLean ’90, P ’24

August 18, 2022

Dear Members of the Loomis Chaffee Community,

With great pleasure, I write to announce the appointment of Zachary G. Lehman as Loomis Chaffee’s eighth head of school. Zack will begin his tenure on the Island on July 1, 2023, succeeding Sheila Culbert, who will retire at the end of this coming academic year after 15 years of outstanding service to the school.

An educational leader who is passionate about the value and transformative nature of a boarding school education, Zack has been head of school at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania — a boarding secondary school with 550 students and 275 employees and a fellow member of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization — for the last 10 years. Approachable and friendly, Zack’s energy and love for what he does are infectious. Personally and professionally, he lives our mission. As noted by one of the Search Committee members, Zack is the embodiment of a commitment to the best self and common good.

During a search process that prioritized the consideration of talented and qualified candidates who represent a diverse range of perspectives, experiences, and identities, Zack impressed the Search Committee with his intellect, curiosity, keen understanding of the boarding school market, and proven ability to successfully lead and manage a complex educational organization. He is well-versed in all aspects of the head of school role — from curricular innovation, faculty development, DEI work, and student wellness initiatives to enrollment management, facility development, and fundraising. While at Hill, he oversaw the creation and launch of a four-year engineering program, expanded course offerings across the curriculum, initiated an experiential mini-term, established a dance program, and modernized all academic facilities, including the construction of a state-of-the-art STEM center. He worked closely with the board and senior team to invest in faculty compensation and professional development, substantially improve faculty retention, and strengthen admission selectivity from 40 percent to 25 percent while increasing enrollment by nearly 10 percent. Raising over $170 million during his decade at Hill, Zack has overseen major campus development, completing the renovation and expansion of Hill’s dining hall, an extensive outdoor athletics complex, and a new faculty housing village. Zack and his team also increased the percentage of students of color from 32 percent to 44 percent, the percentage of faculty of color from 6 percent to 21 percent, and the percentage of female faculty from 38 percent to 56 percent. During this same period, the school opened the Warner Center for Spiritual Life and Equity, updated its anti-discrimination policy, and created a wide range of affinity groups for students and alumni, among many other initiatives.

Zack’s belief in the power of community also impressed the committee. At Hill, Zack greets every student and colleague by name, and he is a familiar presence in the daily life of the school. His level of engagement has enabled him to build trusting relationships with and between community members and to better understand and address the interests and concerns of students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni. He also effectively partners and collaborates with community members, in particular faculty, in ongoing strategic planning and the development of organizational practices.

An alumnus of Phillips Exeter Academy, Zack earned his bachelor’s degree in geography from Dartmouth College and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. After practicing law for a few years in Boston, Zack founded MetroLacrosse, a not-for-profit organization that provided lacrosse and character education programs to youth from underserved urban neighborhoods in Greater Boston. He was the organization’s executive director from 2000 to 2006. Prior to his current position, Zack served as the assistant head of school for advancement at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine, where he also taught filmmaking, coached the boys varsity lacrosse team, worked in the dormitories, and was a student advisor.

The appointment of Zack Lehman concludes an eight-month search process conducted by a search committee chaired by Trustee Bruce Alexander ’61 and aided by the executive search firm Spencer Stuart. Bruce was joined by faculty members Neil Chaudhary ’05, Lance Hall, Courtney Jackson, and Ed Pond, as well as fellow Trustees Katherine Ballard P ’13, ’14, ’17; Neville Bowers ’01; John Bussel ’87, P ’21; Pauline Chen ’82, P ’20, ’20; Rachel Kort ’98; David Rogan ’76, P ’04; and Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan ’87. Faculty member Lynn Petrillo ’86 served as secretary to the committee. On behalf of the Board and our school community, thank you to Bruce and his colleagues for their commitment to the process and their thoughtful approach to recommending Sheila’s successor.

As Bruce recently noted, “Every member of the Search Committee recognized the vital importance of our task to the future of Loomis Chaffee. Using for our guide the input that community members provided through surveys and meetings in the early days of the search, we found in Zack an extraordinarily able and proven leader, and we are excited for the community to get to know him as we have.”

Over the course of the coming weeks and months, we will create opportunities for Zack to get to know Loomis Chaffee and for our community members to get to know Zack. We also will continue to add information about Zack to our Head of School Search webpage. Thank you for your support of this process and the critical input that you provided the Search Committee. Please join me in welcoming Zack, his wife, Amy, and their family to our community.


Duncan A.L. MacLean ’90, P ’24
Chair, Board of Trustees


A Message from Zack Lehman

Zack Lehman

August 18, 2022

Dear Members of the Loomis Chaffee Community:

Suddenly, I am once again a senior in high school on a brisk autumn afternoon in Windsor, Connecticut. I stand covered in mud and grass stains, exuberantly celebrating on the sideline of Pratt Field with my Exeter teammates after narrowly defeating the Pelicans in front of a boisterous home crowd. At the end of the traditional handshake line, the Loomis Chaffee captains surprisingly invite us to join their team for dinner. As we sit together in the dining hall, eating sandwiches and chatting after our heated competition only moments earlier, I say to myself, “This must be a Loomis Chaffee thing.”

Today, that quintessential Loomis Chaffee moment and the school’s generosity of spirit come rushing back. Reflecting upon that afternoon some 30 years later, I am reminded of the strength of community illustrated in that simple but extraordinary gesture of kindness, which came so naturally to those Loomis Chaffee students. I always have gravitated toward compassionate communities, never once imagining that I would have the chance to lead the very school that exemplified that ethos for me early on.

I am profoundly honored to serve as Loomis Chaffee’s eighth head of school, and my family and I are overjoyed to join your community. Throughout these last few months of the search process, we simply have fallen in love with Loomis Chaffee and its distinctive history, mission, program, people, and place. 

  • History: The Founders envisioned a tuition-free school purposefully designed to provide a transformative education to young people regardless of any aspect of their background or identity. That trailblazing and highly inclusive vision for 1874, which remains progressive even today, wholly aligns with my educational philosophy, personal values, and world view. I look forward to partnering with the entire Loomis Chaffee constituency to expand financial aid and accessibility and to ensure that every member of our wonderfully diverse community feels welcomed, seen, heard, valued, and supported.
  • Mission: Through its vast curricular and co-curricular programs, its centers, and the extensive service-learning opportunities available to its students, Loomis Chaffee lives up to its abiding mission “to inspire in its students a commitment to the best self and the common good.” I, too, am devoted to these values and relish the opportunity to champion the school’s continued promise of developing self-assured, independent, and engaged citizens. 
  • Program: Loomis Chaffee expects and achieves the highest level of excellence among its students in academics, athletics, and the arts. As a lifelong learner, educator, athlete, coach, and filmmaker, I could not be more excited to lead a school that both elevates and equally celebrates intellectual curiosity, sports, and creative pursuits.
  • People: It quickly has become clear to me that exceptional people comprise the Loomis Chaffee community. I am overwhelmingly grateful to the Board of Trustees for their confidence in me and to Bruce Alexander ’61 and the members of the Search Committee for their thoughtful and thorough approach to this process. The dedicated alumni and parents who serve on the Board represent well the power of a Loomis Chaffee education. And it was especially valuable to get to know my future colleagues Neil Chaudhary ’05, Lance Hall, Courtney Jackson, Lynn Petrillo ’86, and Ed Pond, who epitomize the warmth, professionalism, pride, and openness which I have now come to expect of Loomis Chaffee’s faculty and staff. For most people, it already would be an amazing privilege to follow in the footsteps of Sheila Culbert, a globally renowned educational leader, for whom I have deep respect; however, for me, it is particularly special because I have known Sheila and her husband, Richard, for many years: Sheila was my dorm parent at Exeter and Richard was my advisor at Dartmouth!
  • Place:  As a geography major, “place” looms large for me. Set in an idyllic New England town, close to some of the nation’s premier colleges and universities, near a terrific group of independent schools for robust athletic competition, and just far enough removed from the hustle and bustle, Loomis Chaffee is perhaps the most perfectly located boarding school in the nation. And for Amy and me, Windsor is near the things that matter most to us: our children and family, lifelong friends, outdoor recreation, and our family’s summer home in western Maine. We are elated to call the Island our home! 

For the last ten years, I have been very fortunate to lead The Hill School community, and I am forever grateful for that experience, one which has prepared me well for this new journey. I also offer my sincere thanks to those of you who have embraced Amy and me so warmly and to everybody who has made this incredible opportunity possible for us. While as a teenager visiting campus for the first time I correctly discerned that being good and kind was “a Loomis Chaffee thing,” I seriously underestimated the community’s unbelievably welcoming culture!  

We look forward to visiting campus periodically during the upcoming year, getting to know students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni, and learning more of what makes Loomis Chaffee such a special place. 

Warmest regards,

Zack Lehman



Bio: Zack Lehman

In August 2022, the Board of Trustees appointed Zachary G. Lehman as Loomis Chaffee’s eighth head of school. He will join the Loomis Chaffee community in July 2023.

Born in New York City, Zack grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy where he excelled academically and played three varsity sports. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in geography at Dartmouth College with cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa recognition. While in college, Zack played football for the Big Green, earning GTE Academic All-America Honors. After discovering a passion for filmmaking, Zack was named a Dartmouth Senior Fellow and produced an animated film that went on to win a Student Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. After college, Zack attended Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude in 1998. He went on to clerk for the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and worked as a litigation associate at Ropes & Gray, LLP, in Boston.

From 2000 to 2006, Zack served as the founding executive director of MetroLacrosse, a groundbreaking not-for-profit community organization that provided lacrosse and character education programs to underserved youth across Greater Boston. In 2006, Zack returned to the boarding school world as the assistant head of school for advancement at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. In that role, he oversaw annual and capital fundraising, communications, and constituent relations; taught filmmaking; coached the varsity boys lacrosse team; and was a dorm affiliate and student advisor. Currently, Zack is The Meigs Family Head of School at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, a position he has held since 2012. Under his leadership, Hill expanded its academic programs and facilities, increased faculty compensation and professional development programs, raised more than $170 million, increased the racial and gender diversity of both the student body and faculty, strengthened admissions selectivity and enrollment, and substantially enhanced the school’s physical plant.

Zack loves serving boarding school communities as head of school and looks forward to the opportunity to advance the mission of the Loomis Chaffee School. Joining him on this journey will be his wife, Amy, who is a graduate of Le Moyne College (B.S., Biology) and Boston University (M.B.A.). Amy is a certified leadership coach and currently serves as special projects coordinator at Hill. The Lehmans have three adult children: Mitch (24) who lives in Fayetteville, West Virginia, and is a professional rock-climbing guide; Griff (22), an engineering student and football player at Dartmouth College; and Avery (19), a rising sophomore at Bates College who is studying visual arts and computer science and is a member of the women's varsity lacrosse team. Last but not least is the family dog, Reuben, who looks forward to getting to know all the Loomis Chaffee students around campus and accompanying Zack to his office in Founders on a regular basis.

Zack and Amy Lehman

Zack and Amy

Mitch, Griff, and Avery Lehman

Mitch, Avery, and Griff Lehman

Lehman family dog, Reuben

Reuben, the Lehman family dog


Grubbs Quad

Search Process

On January 20, 2022, Head of School Sheila Culbert announced that she will be retiring at the conclusion of the 2022–23 academic year. Duncan MacLean ’90, P ’24, chair of the Board of Trustees, followed Sheila’s announcement with a letter to the community thanking Sheila for what will be 15 years of service to Loomis Chaffee when she retires in June 2023. You can read both letters below.

Sheila Culbert’s announcement to the Loomis Chaffee Community.
Duncan MacLean’s letter to the school community.

On February 2, 2022, the Board of Trustees announced the formation of the Head of School Search Committee. The charge of the Search Committee was to recommend to the Board of Trustees the single best candidate to lead the school starting in July 2023. It is the responsibility of the Board to appoint the new head of school.

One of the Search Committee's first tasks was to select a search firm to be its partner in the process of identifying the next head of school. On March 7, 2022, the Board of Trustees announced that it had retained the services of Spencer Stuart, a highly regarded international executive search firm with a strong record in independent school leadership searches. 


The Loomis Chaffee School

Search Committee

Committee Chair
Bruce D. Alexander ’61, Trustee

Committee Members

Katherine Ballard P ’13, ’14, ’17, Trustee

Neville S. Bowers ’01, Trustee

John M. Bussel ’87, P ’21, Trustee

Neil D. Chaudhary ’05, Faculty

Pauline W. Chen ’82, P ’20, Former Trustee

Lance Hall, Administrative Faculty

Courtney Jackson, Faculty

Rachel D. Kort ’98, Trustee

Duncan A.L. MacLean ’90, P’24 Chair of the Board of Trustees (ex officio)

Edward B. Pond, Faculty

David A. Rogan ’76, P ’04, Trustee

Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan ’87, Trustee

Lynn A. Petrillo ’86, Administrative Faculty