Main Menu

Explore More

Head of School Search

Dear Members of the Fuqua School Community:

As you know, John Melton will be leaving Fuqua School at the end of July 2020. We are pleased to announce that The Rural Education Foundation Board of Trustees has established the Head of School Search Committee to lead the search process and advise the Board on the hiring of the next Head of School. We have gathered a group of individuals who love Fuqua School, its mission, core values, its unique approach to teaching and are dedicated to the long term success of the school.

The Search Committee includes the following members:
John Gantt, Search Committee Chair (Board of Trustees, Alum ’84, Parent ’11,’13)
K. Shawn Haney (Board of Trustees, Treasurer, Parent ’17,’19 ’20)
Darrell Hodges (Board of Trustees, Parent ’24)
Diane Stubbins (Faculty, Parent ’18)
Kathy Seiler (Board of Trustees, Alum ’92, Parent ’25, ‘30)
Blake Tucker (Board of Trustees, Alum ‘2000, Parent ’28,’31)
Erin Whaley (Board of Trustees Chair, Parent ’23,’25)

We have already been busy, and we are grateful for your support in this process and your advocacy of our school. As a community, we have every reason to be excited and optimistic about Fuqua's future, and know that as we begin our search for a new Head of School, Fuqua will be a very attractive opportunity for the next Head of School.

The Search Committee has researched and interviewed several search firms and recently engaged the services of The Southern Teachers Agency to help steer the search and recruitment process. Southern Teachers provides us with the capabilities to conduct a national search and to also source candidates from our own community and region. We are fortunate to have Mr. Jamie Estes from Southern Teachers as our primary Search Consultant. Jamie has assisted or led over 90 successful retained searches for administrative vacancies, and we know that we will benefit from his experience and connections.

The Search Committee is committed to involving our full Fuqua School Community as much as possible in the process. We will have both formal and informal mechanisms to solicit feedback and input from parents, faculty, students, staff and other community stakeholders. This feedback will help inform the qualities and characteristics that we will seek in our new Head of School.

Over the coming months, the Search Committee has three main priorities:

1. We will develop a Head of School Position Description that will be used to market our school to prospective candidates and provide information on how to apply for the position. In addition, we will develop a three-year Performance Objectives Plan which will allow the future Head of School to better understand not only the position, but the metrics to measure our progress. Once finalized, the Position Description will be posted on Fuqua School’s website and shared regionally and nationally by Southern Teachers. Southern Teachers will be visiting Fuqua on September 19th for a tour and planning meeting.

2. We will work with Southern Teachers to identify and recruit qualified candidates. We want to develop the strongest possible pool of applicants for the position so that we can find the best fit for our school and our community. Everyone in our Fuqua community can play a role by referring potential candidates for the next leader of our great school to Mr. Jamie Estes at

3. We will prioritize, interview and vet candidates until we find our next Head of School. We hope to have a final candidate identified in the spring of 2020.

As we continue this journey, we will periodically update you about our progress. We encourage your participation and feedback, and we appreciate the support of our community as we find the next Head of School for Fuqua School.

John Gantt Chair of the Fuqua School – Head of School – Search Committee Board of Trustees, The Rural Education Foundation


The history of teacher agencies in America is surprisingly interesting. The first agency was established in Boston in 1846. By the end of the nineteenth century there were dozens around the country. In the first three decades of the 20th century, the growing ubiquity of compulsory public education produced hundreds of placement firms. Among the leaders was Southern Teachers Agency, originally located in Columbia, SC.

William Jones, Southern Teachers’ founder, was instrumental in assembling a regional association of southern agencies and then the National Association of Teachers' Agencies in 1915. With the help of his nephew, Henry Forbes, Southern Teachers expanded to include branch offices in Chattanooga, Richmond, Memphis, and Louisville.

The Great Depression took a heavy toll on the teacher-placement industry, but Southern Teachers survived. In particular, the Richmond office enjoyed many years led by Susan Forbes Guess (Henry’s daughter) and her husband, Doug. When Mr. Guess died, Bob and Virginia Goodman, both career educators, bought the agency in 1981. Their son Carey assumed leadership in 1997 and moved the office to its current location in Charlottesville in 2000.

Over five generations in two families, Southern Teachers has proudly served schools and educators. Though we've made changes in operations, we’ve diligently preserved the personal service that has always defined Southern Teachers.


Jamie Estes
Director of Search Services


Jamie joined Southern Teachers in 2007. He currently serves as Director of Search Services and is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has assisted or led over 90 successful retained searches for administrative vacancies. He has placed over 200 administrators and teachers in southern independent schools. He has networked and built relationships with hundreds of administrators and aspiring administrators in independent schools around the United States. He holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Union Institute and University, a degree in English from Washington & Lee. He is a former Head of Upper School and English teacher at Rocky Mount Academy in eastern North Carolina.

Search Committee Update

The search for our next Head of School is well underway, and the HOS Search Committee seeks your input during this search and hiring process.  Please fill out this brief survey so the committee can gather feedback from Fuqua families, faculty and staff, alumni, and friends.  The committee and the REF Board of Trustees look forward to hearing from you, so please complete the survey no later than October 15.

Please direct any potential applicants to the Southern Teachers Agency.  

Please check this page for periodic updates from the Head of School Search Committee.