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Elizabeth Zurlinden to Be Next Head of Rossman School

By: Rossman School Board of Trustees

October 4, 2017

The Rossman School Board of Trustees is very pleased to announce its unanimous selection of Elizabeth Zurlinden as the next head of school following Pat Shipley’s retirement at the conclusion of the current school year.

Embodying Rossman’s culture and core values, Elizabeth is extraordinarily well prepared to lead our school into its second century. Currently serving as Rossman’s Lower School director, Elizabeth is set to take on the challenge of balancing our strong traditions with the need for continuous innovation in our educational program. With a foundation of strong educational experience, Elizabeth’s strength as a leader is augmented by her background in marketing and business.

Her innate ability to connect with people, her compassionate sensitivity, her profound love for Rossman and its students, and her goal of “fierce protection of childhood” will serve Elizabeth well in her new role. In combination with her tremendous work ethic, deep educational knowledge and unending desire to learn, Elizabeth’s skills, characteristics and attributes are an exceptional match with the qualities that define the role of Head of School at Rossman.

This announcement marks the culmination of a six-month long nationwide search process led by a dedicated Search Committee and assisted by search firm Educator’s Collaborative. An initial field of 44 candidates was narrowed down to 19 well-qualified applicants. From this pool, the Search Committee selected eight semi-finalists for in-person interviews.

After interviews, extensive reference checks and much debate, the Committee identified three finalists who were invited to Rossman for two-day “immersion” visits. Before, during, and after each candidate’s visit, the Committee collected information from interviews, background checks, personal interactions, surveys of parents, faculty and trustees, and in-depth psychological testing of each finalist. Weighing all available information, the Search Committee unanimously recommended to the Board of Trustees Elizabeth Zurlinden as the next head of Rossman School.

Elizabeth’s new role will become effective July 1, 2018. Until that time, the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees will be working closely with both Elizabeth and Pat Shipley planning this important transition.

“Rossman School is a remarkable community of teachers, staff and families, all dedicated to treasuring childhood and pursuing excellence of mind and heart,” says Elizabeth. “Our school has a rich tradition of educating bright, thoughtful leaders and it’s exciting to look to the future as together we build on this legacy.”

As the Board’s focus turns from selection to leadership transition, we realize Rossman’s incredible good fortune for 14 years of continuity in wisdom, inspiration and leadership under Pat Shipley. Please join the Board of Trustees in celebrating Pat Shipley’s remarkable successes during her final year at Rossman while congratulating Elizabeth and welcoming her into her new role. 

Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills.​ Request a free Rossman School brochure here

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