Columbia Independent School names William C. Rowe as interim head of school

Thursday, May 17, 2012 | 12:21 p.m. CDT; updated 8:05 p.m. CDT, Thursday, May 17, 2012

COLUMBIA — William C. Rowe is the new interim head of school for Columbia Independent School for the upcoming school year.

Rowe will take over for Charles McClain, the current interim head of school, in mid-July.


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"I'm very pleased with his qualifications and I look forward to working with him as the Head of School," John Thompson, Columbia Independent School board chairman, said. "He's well-versed in how an independent school should run, and he'll be very beneficial to the success of Columbia Independent School."

Before Rowe starts at the school on a full-time basis, he will work with McClain to transition and get a better feel for what's going on there, Thompson said.

This past year, Scott Gibson, who was with the school for about three years, resigned, and McClain stepped in to complete the 2011-2012 school year.

Rowe is finishing his job as interim head of school at Solomon Schechter Day School in St. Louis. Before that, he served 11 years as head of school and 20 years as a faculty member at the Thomas Jefferson School in St. Louis.

He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and his master's degree in classics from Washington University.

Thompson said Columbia Independent chose to have an interim head of school rather than a permanent one for the 2012-2013 school year because the timing is out of sync for the normal recruiting process.

Most permanent heads of schools are hired in November through February, not in May, Thompson said. By hiring Rowe as the interim head, Columbia Independent will be able to select someone in the normal cycle of hiring.

"(Rowe) has experience in helping other schools find heads, as well as being a head himself," Thompson said. "We think he will be a tremendous asset through this process."

Columbia Independent has hired a search firm to assist with its hiring. It will begin soliciting candidates in June and plans to make a decision for a permanent head of school for the 2013-2014 school year between November and February.

The search firm is interviewing people at Columbia Independent to get an idea of what the school is like and what it is looking for in a new leader. 

Thompson said the school is excited to have Rowe to help the school get through this period of change.

"At the moment, even though we've transitioned a few administrative positions, we think we've assembled a great team for going forward," Thompson said.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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