An Independent School • Grades 5-12

Lakeside School: Head of School Search

The 2021-2022 school year will be Head of School Bernie Noe’s 23rd and final year at Lakeside School.

This webpage contains information about the search for Lakeside’s next inspirational head of school. Updates will be posted throughout the search process and the transition to the new head.

Feb. 24, 2021

Head of school position description

The head of school search committee and Spencer Stuart are pleased to present the head of school position description, the document that describes Lakeside as it is today and lays out hopes for the new head.

We invite you to view — and share — the position description for the next head of Lakeside School.

Read more about how community feedback and Lakeside’s values inform the position description and search process.

Head of school search committee

  • Bert Valdman, P’17 ’20 ’26, committee chair
  • Caryn Abrey
  • Joanna Lin Black P’21 ’23
  • Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau P’20
  • Tim Panos ’85, P’22 ’24 ’24 
  • Carey Crutcher Smith ’77, P’11 ’14
  • Ed Taylor

Learn more about committee members and the role of the committee.

Questions, advice, and nominations can be emailed to


Jan. 22, 2021

Share your thoughts as the search begins for Lakeside’s next head of school

Feb. 1: The survey is now closed. Thank you for your feedback.

All members of the Lakeside School community are invited to share their ideas and feedback on Lakeside and our next head of school.

Feedback from this survey — along with information from meetings with representatives from the faculty, staff, and administrators; students; parents and guardians; alumni; and trustees — will inform the position description and guide the work of the search committee. Individual responses are anonymous and will be aggregated by our search consultants at Spencer Stuart.

The survey will be open through Feb. 1 at 2 p.m.


Jan. 21, 2021

Search committee members announced

Lakeside School is pleased to announce the members of the head of school search committee.

  • Bert Valdman, P’17 ’20 ’26, committee chair
  • Caryn Abrey
  • Joanna Lin Black P’21 ’23
  • Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau P’20
  • Tim Panos ’85, P’22 ’24 ’24 
  • Carey Crutcher Smith ’77, P’11 ’14
  • Ed Taylor

The seven members are drawn from across the Lakeside community and encompass current and former trustees, alumni, parents of current students, parents of alumni, faculty, and experts in education. “The members bring a diversity of perspectives and opinions to the process as well as a demonstrated commitment to Lakeside’s mission and values,” shared search committee chair Bert Valdman. Find more information on the search committee’s role and each of the committee members in this news article.  



Jan. 5, 2021

At the beginning of this school year, I went for a socially distanced walk around the track with Lakeside Board Chair Carey Crutcher Smith ’77 and shared that next year would be my 23rd and final year at Lakeside School. It has been one of the great privileges of my life to serve as head of school. It is now time to move on to new adventures: playing a role in the many changes to come in the world of independent school education, being a loving and present grandparent, and running in road races hopefully into my 80s!

I have to say, 22 years have gone by in a flash. When Killian and I arrived in June 1999, our daughters were rising 3rd and 5th graders. They are married now, and our youngest daughter had a baby five weeks ago and our oldest is due in February. Killian and I loved watching our daughters go through Lakeside and having their friends over to the house. We loved it all: Middle School basketball on Saturday mornings, the first dance in 7th grade, the amazing education in both divisions, and the lifelong friendships our daughters formed while at Lakeside.

My tenure at Lakeside has been an extremely rewarding one. Our Board of Trustees has been incredibly supportive of me, taking an entrepreneurial approach to education and committing wholeheartedly to the school. It has truly been an honor to work with them. And my administrative colleagues, past and present, are some of the most talented administrators in the independent school world; eight have become heads of other schools. Their creative and courageous work has made Lakeside a great school and opened its doors to many new students.

It has also been a tremendous privilege to work with so many talented and committed faculty and staff members, individuals dedicated to excellence in teaching and excellence in every office of the school. Our students are fortunate to be taught by faculty and staff who care so deeply about them, who want all that is good for them, and who hold them to high standards of intellectual and ethical excellence. The faculty at Lakeside never rest on their laurels. They change and refine their teaching every year, and Lakeside students could not get a more thoughtful, caring, or innovative education anywhere.

Unquestionably, my greatest joy at Lakeside has been working with our diverse student body. I taught seniors for 18 years, advised nearly every year, and got to know literally thousands of our students. Running into students and alumni on the street and catching up on what they are doing now brings so much richness to my life. So, if you see me around Seattle in the next couple of decades, please do say hello.

I am grateful to parents and guardians for all of the support given to me over the past 22 years. Many of the deep friendships Killian and I have formed in Seattle are with parents of Lakeside students. It has been a true privilege to be in partnership with all of you in the education of your children, and I enjoy knowing so many of you and running into you in Seattle and even around the world. 

And, it is not over yet. There is much to do in the next 18 months. We will be working to get the students back on campus for in-person learning, launching our transition to competencies and mindsets, and deciding on changes to make in the school based on what we have learned in the COVID-19 era. It will be an exciting and dynamic period. I also plan to spend a lot of time in my final year watching our students in action at games, performances, in class, and in the hallways.

My gratitude for all of you — trustees, fellow administrators, faculty and staff, students, and parents and guardians — goes beyond words. 

I look forward to seeing you all at events soon.

Bernie Noe
Head of School, Lakeside School

I write today to share that our friend and colleague Bernie Noe has let us know that the next school year, his 23rd, will be his final year serving as head of school at Lakeside. I know I speak on behalf of us all when I express gratitude for the passion, dedication, and brilliance Bernie has brought to our institution and to the field of education.

In his time at Lakeside, Bernie has transformed almost every aspect of our school, and his legacy will continue to shape Lakeside for decades to come. Under his leadership, the focus of a Lakeside education has broadened from academic excellence to encompass student ethics, engagement in service — both locally and globally — and commitment to making Lakeside and our greater communities equitable and inclusive. He encouraged students, and all of us, to look beyond ourselves and live joyful lives of meaning and service in the world.

Bernie has strengthened a tradition of progress and innovation at Lakeside and fostered a culture of boldness. In the last 22 years, Lakeside has made critical investments in people, technology, facilities, and, mostly importantly, ideas. Bernie’s global orientation led to a shift from a Eurocentric curriculum toward global and multicultural perspectives. He has overseen multiple reviews and redesigns of the school’s curriculum, including Lakeside’s current re-envisioning, an initiative that embraces the competencies and mindsets that students need to develop in preparation for their future educational goals and their personal and professional lives.

Our community has become increasingly diverse under his leadership. Bernie spearheaded diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives including the Mission Focus, the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, and, most recently, Our Work Together: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, and Respect. During his tenure, we’ve increased the number of students who access financial aid from 16% to 33%, with an average aid grant of 80% of tuition and fees. Our student body has become much more racially and ethnically diverse: Today 65% of Lakeside students identify as people of color compared to 28% in 2000. And students come to Lakeside from around the region: Our current student body is composed of students from 250 different schools.

Working alongside dedicated colleagues, Bernie launched new programs — including Summer School Programs, Global Service Learning, and the Lakeside Lecture Series — and has grown and revamped others, such as the student and family support program, Lakeside Athletics, the music program, the Lakeside Educational Enrichment Program (LEEP), the technology program, and faculty and staff professional development.

And critically, Bernie raised the funds to realize these innovations and programs, particularly in the Living Our Mission campaign, which raised $135.6 million. Today, our endowment of $212 million continues to fund these programs and many others. 

While Bernie has brought many changes to Lakeside, he has also shared his ideas, talents, and passion with peers and independent schools across the country. He was a motivating force in launching Global Online Academy, a nationally recognized innovative nonprofit that reimagines learning to empower students and educators to thrive in a globally networked society. A proponent of new models of education, Bernie helped launch the micro-school movement in this country and founded The Downtown School: A Lakeside School. And for many years, he has served in various capacities with the National Association of Independent Schools, including his current service as chair of the NAIS Board of Trustees.

In many ways, it seems impossible to imagine Lakeside without Bernie at the helm. But it is his commitment to progress — also held by former Lakeside heads like Robert Adams, Dexter K. Strong, Dan Ayrault, and Terry Macaluso — that will guide us through this upcoming transition.

When Bernie shared his decision this past fall, I knew the board would have ample opportunity to conduct an inclusive and deliberate worldwide search for a new head of school and manage a smooth transition in leadership. Over the past few years, the board has been actively engaged in succession planning and preparing for Bernie’s eventual departure. We are now engaged in a period of reflection, vision, and imagination, as we consider Lakeside’s history and look forward to its future.

The search for a new head of school will be led by trustee Bert Valdman, immediate past chair of the board, and a committee made up of members drawn from across our community. To guide us through the search process, we have retained the executive search firm Spencer Stuart, which is deeply experienced in supporting independent schools and colleges in discovering the leaders who are right for them. There will be opportunities for all members of our community — faculty and staff, students, families, and alumni — to take part in the selection process by providing input and feedback during the next few months. You will receive more information on the search process and timeline in the coming weeks.

In this moment, I invite you to join me in reflecting on and appreciating the enormous dedication and profound influence of Bernie Noe on Lakeside over the past 22 years.

Bernie, thank you for your brilliance, passion, and commitment — for making Lakeside the school it is today. All of us look forward to thanking you and celebrating your work, from now through the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

Carey Crutcher Smith ’77, P'11 '14
Board of Trustees, Chair
Lakeside School