Head of School at Le Jardin Academy in USA
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Head of School
Le Jardin Academy (USA)

Appointed - Earl T. Kim
Feb 9, 2019
Apr 15, 2019


Dear Colleagues:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Le Jardin Academy in Hawaii and the school’s Search Committee, it is our pleasure to announce that Earl T. Kim
has been appointed Head of School, commencing August 1, 2019.
The position was originally to be filled for the summer of 2020. With Earl Kim being available ahead of this schedule, the Board of Trustees determined that the earlier appointment should be made while also agreeing with the current Head of School, DJ Condon, to serve as consultant in shaping the best possible transition to new leadership for Le Jardin Academy. In its community announcement Board Chair Dean Spagnoli expressed his appreciation for the “four transformative years under DJ Condon” and his “leadership and selfless commitment to the school”.

Earl T. Kim brings a wealth of experience to the headship of Le Jardin Academy. Born and raised in Hawaii, his path as teacher, Principal, and Superintendent took Earl to the mainland where he served for a combined 12 years as Superintendent in large suburban school districts in New Jersey and Connecticut. Between these roles Earl returned to Hawaii as Head of School of the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama. These experiences in public and independent education, combined with his academic preparation - an M.A. in Public Affairs from Princeton and a B.A. in History from Cornell - promise to be a strong foundation for continued transformative leadership at LJA. In addition to these accomplishments, Earl has made numerous  contributions on boards and in educational organizations, and has served for four years as a Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. 
Chair of the Search Committee, Paul Marx, also commenting in the school’s internal announcement,  sees LJA “in good hands”, confident that “Earl has the strategic leadership and community understanding that will further elevate LJA”.

The Le Jardin Academy Board of Trustees, the Search Committee, and Search Associates would like to thank all candidates who expressed an interest in the position, and everyone who supported the search process.

Gunther Brandt
Senior Consultant
Search Associates









Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii

seeks a



Effective July 2020



Le Jardin Academy is a nurturing learning community with nearly 800 students from Preschool to Grade 12. Students learn to value the diverse perspectives of other people and cultures to lead balanced, healthy lives and to appreciate the arts within a rigorous academic environment. We believe that extraordinary teachers and dynamic learning experiences empower students’ unique talents and create academic success, thus providing a rewarding childhood. The goal is to develop knowledgeable, responsible, and caring young people of character. An LJA education prepares students to create a more peaceful and sustainable world through understanding, stewardship, and respect.

Mission Statement:

Globally oriented with a strong sense of community, Le Jardin Academy equips students to achieve individual excellence, develop sound character, and positively impact the world.


 As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, Le Jardin Academy develops confident, knowledgeable, responsible, and caring young people who are empowered to become impactful future leaders in the world. We believe in educating the whole child academically, physically, socially, and emotionally through constructivist approaches, self-directed inquiry, and individualized instruction. Students focus on learning of concepts and skills through inquiry into local and global issues of today. This approach enhances student engagement and promotes lifelong learning.

LJA provides a continuum of education, consisting of three programs: Primary Years Program, Middle Years Program, and Diploma Program. These programs are united by the International Baccalaureate (IB) philosophy, approaches to learning and approaches to teaching. The IB framework encourages achievement and challenges students to excel academically, as well as personally.


 From Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12, students enjoy broad exposure to visual and performing arts as an integral part of the curriculum.

PK to Grade 5 students experience Art and Music with specialists. Middle and High School offerings also include Visual Arts, Chorus, Drama, and Band.

Each year, students are honored with various art awards both locally and nationally. In 2018, two students were the winners of the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Award. National medalists represent less than 1% of the 330,000 submissions.


 Interscholastic athletics are an integral part of the educational process at LJA. Our aim is to develop a competitive athletic program highlighting values such as sportsmanship and life- long healthy habits.

Le Jardin Academy is a member of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA).

LJA sponsors 53 intermediate, junior varsity, and varsity teams representing 10 different ILH sports. Students also have the opportunity to participate in Pac-5 or combined school teams. Students in Grades 4-6 can participate in Christian Schools Athletic League (CSAL) volleyball and basketball.


 It is a requirement of the Diploma program curriculum that every student learns at least one additional language. Learning another language not only opens your eyes to an entire new culture, but it also reveals new insights about you  and your own culture.

Students study a foreign language as follows:

PK to JK: French and Mandarin

K to Grade 1: Choice of French or Mandarin

Grade 2 to Grade 12: Choice of French, Spanish, Japanese, or Mandarin Chinese

Student Life:

We believe that school is much more than just a place of study - it’s also a community where students will develop self-image and self-esteem,  set goals, and cultivate talents. Because student interest drives clubs and activities, extracurricular life at LJA is rich and diverse. Whether you want to explore a talent, serve the community, bolster your academic profile, or just meet new friends, there is something for everyone and everyone has something to offer.

We offer more than 40 different opportunities beyond the classroom that allow students to explore specific interests and give back to the community. From student ambassadors to outdoor exploring with the Wild Kids Hawaii, there is an extracurricular activity that appeals to everyone. If we do not offer a club or activity that interests a student, we encourage that a new one be created.

Some of the club and extracurricular activities we offer at LJA include: Student Council, Reading Club, LEGO Creations, Geography Club, Model United Nations (MUN), Girls on the Run, Polynesian Club, Wild Kids Leadership Academy, Yearbook, and much more!


Le Jardin Academy’s history began in 1961 when Madame Henriette D. Neal, a native of France, opened Le Jardin d’Enfants (the Garden of Children) as a one-room preschool in Kailua with merely 12 students. The following year, a Kindergarten class was added, and then a new grade nearly every year, so by 1968, LJA provided primary education to over 100 students from Pre- Kindergarten through Grade 6. Madame Neal served as the school’s Director and Board President until her passing in 1973.

In 1975, James M. Taylor, became LJA’s new Headmaster. At the time of Mr. Taylor’s appointment, LJA had grown in size to 195 students, which called for the school to expand to leased facilities at three contiguous churches on Kailua Road: St. John’s Lutheran, Kailua United Methodist, and Kailua Baptist. During the 1977-78 school year, Le Jardin added a 7th grade which was followed by an 8th grade class the next year.

Steven E. Switzer, a preeminent figure amongst independent schools across the country, was appointed Headmaster of LJA in July 1985. In 1992, LJA merged with The Windward Preparatory School, and enrollment reached 462 students. In the fall of 1998, Adrian G. Allan became LJA’s fifth permanent Headmaster. In an effort to unify Le Jardin’s three separate campuses, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation generously gifted a 24-acre parcel of land on Kapa’a Quarry Road to LJA. Development of the new location commenced in 1999, and included five buildings housing Kindergarten through 8th grade, an Administration building, a resource center, and specialty rooms.

LJA opened its new campus for the 1999 school year. Other major improvements that occurred throughout the year included the construction of a basketball court, swimming pool, locker rooms, and playground, the installation of a computer room, and landscaping the beautiful new campus. In 2000, LJA’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to start a high school and raised over $3,000,000 for this purpose. In August of 2002, LJA opened its high school with 50 students in grade 9.

By the 2005-06 school year, LJA’s student body increased to 750 students, and in June of that year, LJA proudly graduated its first 47 students.

LJA began work on the next phase of its expansion in February 2007. Enhancements included the construction of 18 new classrooms, a Middle and High School library, and a 500-seat gymnasium. During this time of incredible physical development, LJA was also in the process of developing its program by adopting the International Baccalaureate methodology of teaching and assessment. In December 2009, LJA was authorized in the Primary Years Program, followed by the Middle Years Program in January 2010, and finally the Diploma Program in March 2011. LJA became the first school in the State of Hawaii, and one of only 12 schools in the United States, to be authorized for the entire International Baccalaureate continuum, and to offer all three programs to all students from PK to 12th grade.


Le Jardin Academy, founded in 1961, is an IB Continuum School in Hawaii offering the Primary Years Program (PYP), the Middle Years Program (MYP), and the Diploma Program (DP) to

800 students from Preschool to Grade 12. LJA seeks a Head of School who will be an inspiring, dynamic, and collaborative leader within the framework of the school’s mission and strategic plan.


The Head of School reports to the Board of Trustees and serves as the school-wide leader, working with the leadership team and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of policies, practices, and programs. In particular, the Head of School will have the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Is a learning leader, advocates and supports effective teaching and learning
  • Directs the implementation of the strategic plan
  • Collaborates on core aspects of academic planning on a school-wide basis
  • Leads recruitment, retention, development, and appraisal
  • Provides for student safety, well-being, and the implementation of conduct expectations
  • Manages the budget with a view to sound stewardship of fiscal resources
  • Supports a school culture of high expectations while promoting a collaborative and caring atmosphere
  • Works closely with administrators, cultivates a cohesive team that continually strives for and models excellence
  • Directs major aspects of the school’s campus master facilities plan
  • Supports and promotes the school’s institutional advancement through effective marketing and fundraising
  • Is a visible leader in the school’s community and wider market, able to build a network of partnerships
  • Supports operations, department heads, using current strategic plan


  • Demonstrated experience as an educational leader in a senior position
  • Advanced degree in education/educational leadership
  • Experience in fiscal management and stewardship
  • Excellent communicator, written and oral


  • Experience as an educational leader in an independent community school
  • Highly capable in staff recruitment and retention
  • Proven ability in supporting a positive teaching and learning environment
  • Ability to work harmoniously and effectively with all stakeholders: Board, administration, faculty, students, parents, alumni, and friends of the school
  • Ability to promote the school in a highly competitive market by articulating the school’s brand and identity
  • I.B. experience, all levels


  • Deeply values relationships
  • Integrity, values-driven, modeling ethical behavior
  • Inspiring, dynamic, and charismatic
  • Collaborative and inclusive leader
  • Good listener, sees strength in diversity of opinions
  • Resolute and resilient about tough decisions
  • Clear and persuasive communicator: drives a system of communication
  • Appreciates and builds cultural openness and diversity
  • Fair, visible, and confident- encouraging and supportive with students
  • Enjoys participation in the life of the school and community
  • Builds relationships with students


The compensation package will be competitive and commensurate with the candidate’s experience and qualifications.


 The Board of Directors has appointed Search Associates as its partner in its search for a Head of School, with Dr. Gunther Brandt serving as the lead consultant. The deadline for applications for the position is APRIL 15, 2019. Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the requested materials listed below as early as possible as the  Search Committee  reserves the  right to close the selection process at any time if the right candidate is identified.

The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received. Finalists  will be  selected by the Search Committee and at least three finalists will be identified. Finalist candidates together with their spouse (if applicable) will be invited to Hawaii to meet with the Board of Directors,  visit the school and meet with faculty, non-teaching staff, parents, students and administrators.

The new Head of School will be selected at the conclusion of the site visit, final interviews, and reference checks. The new Head of School will assume his/her professional responsibilities in  July 2020.

Candidates should send the information listed below as a single pdf file attached to an email:

  • A letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the Head of School position at the Le Jardin Academy.
  • A statement describing your management and educational philosophy, not to exceed two pages.
  • A current résumé not to exceed two pages.
  • A one-page list of references with current addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
  • A maximum of four letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) that may already be in your possession.

Total document size should be kept to less than four (4) MB if possible. Applications should be sent to: gbrandt@searchassociates.com and bmutsch@searchassociates.com .

Dr. Gunther Brandt Tel: 757-234-9744 USA – Eastern Standard Time Zone

Skype: gbwilliamsburg Email: gbrandt@searchassociates.com

 Dr. Brent Mutsch                    Tel: 970-368-6879 USA – Mountain Time Zone

 Skype – brentmutsch              Email: bmutsch@searchassociates.com

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Bill Turner’s international teaching career has taken him to Sudan, Italy, Qatar and the UAE as well as his home country of England. His very first teaching position was in rural Sudan.