Oak Hill School seeks an enthusiastic and creative strategic thinker, team builder, and superior communicator to continue the positive direction and success we have achieved over the last several years. The ideal candidate understands K-12 schools, demonstrates the ability to contribute to the growth of our high school, and is ready to share their confidence, high-energy leadership, and optimism to lead our unique and dynamic school on this beautiful campus.
The search will conclude by December 2018 and the start date for the new head is July 1, 2019.
About Oak Hill
Oak Hill Mission: It is the mission of Oak Hill School to provide the best Kindergarten through 12th-grade education, creating caring and responsible critical thinkers.
Oak Hill School was founded by prominent local businessman, Ed King. Mr. King’s dream was to have a quality, K-12 independent school for his boys. In 1994, the small school opened on a 72-acre former horse farm amidst the south hills of Eugene.
Over the years, enrollment has ebbed and flowed; however, across the past 5 years, Oak Hill School has seen sustained growth of approximately 76% and our student body now numbers 214. In addition to the original farmhouse, there are 12 buildings that comprise the campus facilities with a new amphitheater/classrooms/theater space on the way.
Along with the dramatic surge in enrollment, recent years have also seen extensive remodeling, the construction of several new buildings, relocation of the administration offices to the center of the campus, and other major upgrades to infrastructure.
Lower school (K-5) currently hosts 100 students; middle school has 55 students; and the high school has 59 students. There are approximately 50 faculty and staff. Our current Board of Trustees numbers 8.
Oak Hill is a member of NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) and NWAIS (Northwest Association of Independent Schools). We are also a valued member of the Oregon Association of Private Schools.
The Oak Hill faculty and staff are strong and stable and morale is high. Approximately 80% of faculty have advanced degrees, including two doctorates. The present head is retiring after an eight-year tenure, in addition to heading three other schools for 35 years.
A dynamic college preparatory curriculum for bright, inquisitive, and curious students surrounded by diverse, thoughtful, and respectful teachers.
A striving for academic excellence, utilizing a range of teaching styles, highlighted by small classes and strong mentoring relationships between students and teachers, that prepare students for their next steps in life, college, and career.
A place where the arts, physical health and fitness, community service, languages, global understanding, and respect for our planet all have value and priority.
A community that supports emotional and social health, where everyone feels valued, challenged and has the courage to pursue their interests.
A complete campus with sufficient facilities for a wide variety of electives and activities before, during, and after regular school hours.
A strong, strategic, and effective board that holds the best fiduciary interests of the school as primary and promotes long-term sustainability.
A sterling reputation in the wider Lane County community and the state of Oregon, highlighted by our outstanding alumni and noted achievements.
Oak Hill School Profile
Head of School: Robert Sarkisian
Lower School Head: Mary Ellen Arbuckle
Upper School Head: Joshua A. Melton, Ph.D.
College Counselor: Alli Minch
School CEEB Code: 380338
Oak Hill School, located on a seventy-two-acre hillside in Eugene, is an independent, nonsectarian, nonprofit, co-educational day school serving students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Founded in 1994 as a college preparatory institution, the school currently has an enrollment of 216 students with 63 in the high school. The student-faculty ratio in the upper school is approximately 3:1. The average high school class has 10 students. Kindergarten through 3rd grade are capped (and filled) at 16 students. 4th and 5th grade are capped at 18 students. As an academic environment that promotes cross-cultural interaction and understanding, the high school includes 15% international students (China, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Russia and Mexico).
Accreditation: National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS) and AdvancED. Admission: Selective process based on previous student records, teacher recommendations, entrance exam and personal interview.
A BEATING HEART: Faculty Quotes About What Makes Oak Hill School Great?
“A strong and palpable sense of community that is characterized by caring and kindness and a resulting vibrant intellectual climate...” --2016 NWAIS Accreditation Visiting Team
“Our small theatre and film department utilizes performance as a way to give back to society by allowing society to view itself and students can experience first hand the value of art. The theatre and film department at Oak Hill strives to offer life-changing projects each year for interested students and audience. All students are valued and welcome to participate. “--Kitsann Means, Drama, Film, and Public Speaking
“I appreciate how Oak Hill values giving all students an exceptional amount of time in music classes. This allows creativity, spontaneity, and relationship building which are at the heart of inspiring children to be lifelong music lovers.” --Vicki Brabham, Lower School Music
“I love Oak Hill School because I can teach the way kids learn. I use differentiation to customize learning, have the ability to teach history and science in the lower school, use hands-on experiential learning, and I get to develop strong bonds with my students because of our small class size.” --Kim Davis, Fifth Grade Teacher
“Oak Hill started the Mandarin Chinese program in September 2008.We are recognized as an exemplary Chinese language program and are the only program in the Eugene/Springfield area teaching Chinese, K-12, including the offering of AP Chinese. We just had our first trip to China this past spring break, and it was very successful!” --Sophie Wang, Mandarin
“Our Visual Arts program reflects the lives and experiences of each individual student and their spirit within. Students learn how to respectfully communicate through the language of Art and Design in a trusting environment where the essence of subjects can be pursued within quality art that is enjoyed by the Oak Hill school community, in professionally judged galleries, and in higher educational exhibit venues in the Eugene-Springfield area.” --Diane Hill, Art
“French is a soft, melodious, and romantic language. It opens the students to a cultural journey (fashion, gastronomy, the arts, architecture, and science) not only from France, but all the Francophone countries from a first-hand perspective in a fun, colorful, and safe environment.”. --Christiane Lamien, French
“Every student at Oak Hill has Physical Education EVERY DAY! I believe we are the only school in the state that can say that. Our philosophy is to teach our students why it is so important to be physically active for a lifetime and to give them the tools to be physically literate and fit for a lifetime. This, along with the connection between physical activity and the ability to perform better academically, puts Oak Hill way ahead of the trend of cutting and reducing Physical Education opportunities. 4th grade on the Oregon Trail.” --Jenny DeLuca, P.E (Fitness, Health and Wellness). and Outdoor Pursuits programs.
“The Natural World Program strives to uncover the mutual interdependence of all natural entities through fun and equitable discussion, bursts of inspiration, and practical applications. Over each students six years in the program, this ecological perspective opens the possibility of becoming a self-directed discipline in awareness; the result of which the mutual interrelation of all things and all events becomes a constant, life-orienting sensation.” --James Luzzi, OHS Naturalist
“My goal is to help students create and build an interest in a beautiful language, culture, and people. I want them to fall in love with the Spanish language and make a personal connection. I want my students to grow as people through a second language.” --Luci Vollstedt, Spanish
“The English department gives students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the works of Shakespeare with our Annual Shakespeare Day, grades 4-12, where students present live action and film adaptations of the plays they’ve read in their classes.” --Dan Lombardi, English & History
“A garden path is able to lead one to all points on the academic compass. The garden is the teacher.” --Buck Arbuckle, Master of the Garden
LOWER SCHOOL SPECIALIST CURRICULUM
In addition to excellent classroom instruction, all lower school students attend PE daily. On a weekly schedule, LS students visit Public Speaking, Art, Music, and Technology. K-2nd attend all three Foreign Language classrooms (Mandarin, French, and Spanish). 3rd-5th graders choose one of the Foreign Languages to focus on for the year. We have a staff naturalist that takes each grade level out every other week.
HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Oak Hill’s curriculum challenges students to become caring and responsible critical thinkers in all their academic classes. The school offers a total of 19 Advanced Placement courses on a rotating basis with 6-8 AP courses offered in a given year. A minimum of 70 hours of community service and leadership development are required for graduation.
Marking System: Grades (A through F) are reported two times a year. Grades are unweighted and Oak Hill does not give the grade of an A+. A student must earn a C- to receive credit for a class. Honor Societies: Membership in the Collis-Quernus chapter of the National Honor Society requires a 3.67 GPA.
Rotating Advanced Placement: English Language and Composition, English Literature, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, Mandarin, French, Calculus BC, Calculus AB, Statistics, U.S. History, European History, U.S. Government, World History, Human Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, Art and Computer Science.
Electives: Visual Art, Fundamentals of Theater, Jazz Band, Intensive Theater, Rock Band, Yearbook, Debate, Topics in Computer Science, Software and Hardware, Sex Education, Life Skills, ACT/SAT/TOEFL Test Prep, Current Events, Comparative Religion, Gardening History through Film and Design Lab.
Sports: Boys and Girls Cross Country (Varsity and Middle), Girls Volleyball (Varsity and Middle), Boys Basketball (Middle), Girls Basketball (JV and Middle), Debate (Varsity) and Track and Field (Varsity).
CLASS OF 2018
There were 14 graduating seniors in the Class of 2018.
Oak Hill School does not rank its students.
Since the school’s founding in 1994, 99% of Oak Hill graduates have been accepted to college.
The graduating class averaged a 1273 on the SAT (CR + M) and a 28 on the ACT.
Ten of our last 40 seniors (25%) have scored over a 1350 SAT (CR + M) or a 31 on the ACT with a high score of 1600 (SAT CR + M).
Our SAT/ACT scores are consistently the highest in Lane County and well above the average for independent schools nationally.
The class of 2018 has been awarded more than $800,000 in college scholarships.
Other Honors for Oak Hill Students
Participation in the National Forensic League’s National Policy Debate Championship Competition 2014-2018
1st Place in the District 4 Championships for Classes 1A-3A in 2017 for Oak Hill Girls Cross Country
3rd Place in the District 4 Championships for Classes 1A-3A in 2017 for Oak Hill Boys Cross Country
OSAA Class 1A-4A State Debate Championship and an Individual Championship in Extemporaneous Speaking in 2016
Participants in the National History Day competition in Washington, DC in 2015-2018
2014 NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medal Winner in Classical Performance
Top 5 finisher in the National Ballroom Dance Competition in 2015-16
Winning play in the 2014 Northwest Ten competition
Student selected as a member of the Eugene Symphony Orchestra (Viola)
Oak Hill students produced a play for the King of Thailand in 2012
Mayor’s Choice Winner at Mayor’s Teen Art Show at Maude Kerns Art Center
Several students perform in the Eugene-Springfield Youth Symphony Orchestra
Artwork displayed annually at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the UO campus
The Oak Hill Class of 2018 Colleges and University Acceptances
Chapman, University of Portland*, Clark University, Oregon State University*, Oregon State Honors College, University of Virginia, University of Colorado, Boulder, Syracuse
UC Santa Clara, University of Washington*, Georgetown*, Lewis & Clark, University of Puget Sound* Whitworth* University of Oregon*, SUNY Buffalo, University of Connecticut
Penn State University*, Northeastern, The Ohio State University, Trinity, University of Florida, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego*
University College, Dublin, University of Oregon, Honors College, Whitman, University of British Columbia, Purdue, Concordia University, Portland State
Linfield, Seattle University, Gonzaga, Willamette University, Southern Oregon University-Theatre Program*, Boston College*, University of Guanajuato*
* indicates matriculation
About the Oak Hill Lower School Program...
In spring of 2003, I hand delivered an application to teach kindergarten and 1st grade at Oak Hill. I walked around campus and knew right away this was the place I wanted to be. I saw happy teachers and excited, engaged children in an amazing natural setting. When I started teaching here in the fall of 2003, Oak Hill had but three lower school teachers and 35 children. We regularly met in the ‘Gather Room’ for shared activities and impromptu talent shows.
The lower school has been steadily growing for ten years now. We‘ve seen new classrooms built and hired additional faculty as we’ve enrolled more students. Over the years we’ve added public speaking, outdoor education, and foreign language classes in French, Spanish, and Mandarin.
However, the real story of Oak Hill School lies in our community and our adventures. Kinders create family museum boxes and share them enthusiastically with the 1st graders, who remember when they were that age. In the fall, 1st graders dig for potatoes in the garden as if digging for gold. They count, weigh, clean, cook, and share their bounty with the 2nd graders who planted them the prior spring. I love watching the 2nd graders walk past my window with Ms. Lynn and Mr. Jim in their beekeeper garb as they go to harvest the honey from the Oak Hill hives. And then the 3rd-grade cartography class marches by with writing tablets as they work to create their treasure maps. The 4th grade is in charge of managing our food waste. Each week they collect the compost from each classroom and feed the earthworms who live in a bin in the garden (and the garden feeds the bees). Every Monday, I hear our 5th graders collecting the paper recycling throughout the whole school and delivering the bins for pick up.
You might see those same 5th graders with pillows and blankets on one of their Read-o-Rama days, trying to meet a collective minutes-read goal set by Ms. Kim. Or you might see 4th-grade, dressed like pioneers, pushing wagons down the hill on our version of the Oregon Trail.
Some years ago, I was with the 2nd grade, gathered at a local restaurant to celebrate a birthday. The children sang Happy Birthday in English. Then one child said, “Let’s sing in Spanish!” and they did. Another student bubbled, “Let’s sing it in French!” The loud restaurant grew quieter as observers noticed something unusual happening.
Another little girl added, “Let’s do it in Mandarin!” and they did. I remember that I heard someone ask, “Where are those children from?” I told her they were all from Oak Hill School. --Mary Ellen Arbuckle Lower School Director
About the Oak Hill Upper School...
The upper school at Oak Hill provides the best academic experience in the Eugene-Springfield area and the entirety of Lane County for students 6th - 12th grade. The robust curriculum balances academic rigor with an engagement in the Arts. Our highly-qualified faculty emphasizes analysis, interpretation and discovery. Their frequent use of small group discussion, multimedia projects, and collaboration within and across classrooms allows for a truly dynamic education.
In this sense, our teachers very much inhabit the mission of Oak Hill School. They seek to empower their students to take on leadership roles. This comes with risks but, as a staff, we know that students gain more when they have an opportunity to learn from both their successes and their failures.
High school students graduate with foreign language and cultural fluency associated with one of three languages (French, Mandarin or Spanish). All students take Arts electives (visual art, theater, music, etc.) and participate daily in physical education. We offer 18 AP courses on a rotating schedule, including more AP courses each year than any other school in our area.
We place high value in providing a spectrum of programs to enhance the experience for each of our students. We look to teach our students to be caring and responsible critical thinkers. Major annual events include a series of one-act plays presented by each upper school grade during our Shakespeare Festival, a multimedia exposition for our many participants in National History Day, and a cross-cultural convention hosted with the UO International Student Program (known for the last 20 years as The Equinox Conference). Upper school students are active too in several campus cultural events including La Posada, Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, Earth Day, and Dia de los Muertos. Middle school students are able to find experiential learning with our Outdoor Pursuits Program.
Our upper school students are very much present out in the world-- jazz and rock band performances, three annual theater performances, athletics (cross country, volleyball, basketball, track and field, and an Oregon-centric version of a triathlon known as “Pole Pedal Paddle”), an annual trip to the Ashland Shakespeare Program, and a State Champion debate team that sends students to Nationals on a regular basis. These are just a few among many academic adventures.
Oak Hill School is a terrific place and a terrific school. The upper school students, faculty, and families are special people that uphold the values of our tight-knit, collaborative community. We hope you’ll come see it for yourself! s--Joshua A. Melton, Ph.D. Upper School Head
Reflections of the Current-Head of School: Robert Sarkisian
When I first arrived at Oak Hill in the spring of 2011, I found it typical of many young schools. There were governance issues, enrollment challenges, financial concerns, and morale was low. Prior to my tenure, there had been seven prior heads and the school had only been in existence for 16 years. Today however, the picture is dramatically changed. Now, there is financial stability, governance is strong and supportive, the enrollment has nearly doubled, facility improvements have occurred at a rapid pace, and staff morale is strong. Oak Hill School is in wonderful shape and we are poised to select a new leader who will take it to even greater heights.
Some of the Remaining Challenges and Opportunities:
Enrollment work still needs to be done, particularly with regards to growing the high school. The high school has doubled in size since 2011, to 63 students, but we would like it to reach 100 students. This is a multi-faceted challenge due to the upper school’s smaller social size, the surrounding area’s socio-economic demographics, and strong public school bias within the Eugene community.
Attrition has been cut to below national averages. Families don’t tend to leave Oak Hill because they are unhappy; most love the school but feel their child needs more classmates in high school. Consequently, even though attrition is extremely low in K-8, it is significantly higher within the high school cohort. Students simply want more peers.
Fundraising and development has been over-reliant on one generous donor and related foundation. Future needs for buildings, enhancing our small endowment, increasing faculty compensation and student aid packages, and keeping pace with campus maintenance and classroom technology will need large donor support, including grants. The Annual Fund is highly successful with 100% board support and over 90% family support. Targets are routinely exceeded, but there is still room and need for growth.
After-school and summer programs are expanding and this growth needs to continue. The China Partner program is being carefully nurtured and built and will need continued work if it is to reach its revenue stream potential.
The faculty, staff, and programming need to be maintained and expanded upon so that Oak Hill School polishes its reputation as the best school in the region.
The Head of School and Board of Trustees need to retain their support of each other so that Oak Hill continues to thrive. Key to the Oak Hill turn-around has been a mutually respectful working relationship between the board chair and school head.
Board of Trustees Goals 2017 - 2022
The Board will support and nurture the head of school as the board’s instrument to achieve its vision. Specific board committee objectives and tasks evolve over time and will be revised and recommitted to at the start of each school year by the incoming Chairs of each respective committee.
Governance: continue forward movement on improving the quality of board operations and governance.
Finance: continue to strengthen the school’s financial sustainability through sound financial management.
Development: work to prioritize and structure our development efforts, providing leadership to increase non-tuition revenue.
Facilities: upgrade buildings, facilities oversight, and reduce present facility constraints; plus continue the evolution of our Master Plan over time.
Executive: support the Head of School in board operations, continuing forward movement to maximize a positive culture for our faculty and staff.
2017-2018 Oak Hill School Board of Trustees: Jesse Elliott, Shalin Sanghvi, Megan McKinnon, Cynthia Morris, Deidre Sandvick, Ingrid Skoog, Nathan Mattox, Terry Niegel (Board Chair)
What does the OHS Community think?
As part of the head search process, Oak Hill parents, faculty, staff, students, and the board of trustees completed a Head Search survey. Results found community-wide alignment with the following most desired characteristics in our next Head of School.
“Team Builder” who attracts and develops talent, delegates effectively, and empowers the teachers, administrators, and others to provide leadership to their respective groups. Also should able to build strong partnerships with the Board.
“Visible Presence/Accessible Counselor” who is approachable, caring, a great listener and who makes a special effort to know and be known by members of the Oak Hill Community.
“Strategic Thinker/Entrepreneur” who sees the big picture and will identify major potential opportunities.
“Effectiveness Expert/Implementer” who sees opportunities to implement all programs more effectively through more careful processes and with greater clarity in roles and policies.
“Fiscal Shepherd” who ensures the School’s long-term sustainability.
“Experienced Teacher and Educational Innovator” who is attuned to new and major trends in education.
About Eugene and The Pacific Northwest...
Eugene, Oregon, is a vibrant university town with a population (including the surrounding areas) of 250,00 - 300,00 people. The University of Oregon is the largest employer and has 25,000 students. The arts are very strong and include a symphony, ballet troupe, numerous art galleries, professional and amateur theater, an opera group, and much more.
Duck sports are nationally recognized, and the Olympic Track and Field Trials are often held in legendary Hayward Field (Eugene is known as TrackTown USA). Legendary former track coach Bill Bowerman and one of his athletes, Phil Knight, started Nike here. Today, ‘Uncle’ Phil maintains a huge presence on campus.
Good restaurants abound, the water is drinkable, nutrition is important, and a healthy regimen of exercise (hiking, cycling, and more) is typical. The Pacific Ocean is an hour away to the west, and the mountains are all over.
The Willamette Valley produces every food group and is known as the grass seed capital of the world. The temperatures are rarely extreme and summers are beautiful, with low humidity. Snow is rare on the valley floor.
Driving, compared to major cities, is easy. The people are easygoing and friendly. And the cost of living is reasonable. The small airport has several airlines and flying in and out is stress-free.
The Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS) encompasses several states, and its offices are in Seattle. They offer an incredibly rich source of expertise and support. Heads attend fall and spring meetings in the Seattle area. There are over 100 schools in the association. The challenges of sharing are more difficult than the east coast where there is a density of schools in close proximity. On the other hand, heads are very available for help and advice, as is the association leadership.
All inquiries will be kept confidential. Candidates must submit the following as an application portfolio:
Cover letter expressing interest in the position.
Resume or C.V.
Statement of Educational Philosophy.
Three or more references including names, titles, contact information for phone or e-mail. References will not be contacted without candidate permission.
We are interested in learning more about each candidate and ask you to share who you are and how you’ve come to apply to be the next great head of Oak Hill School. You may use any format of your choosing; it could be a written piece, video, PowerPoint/Prezi, or something that we cannot even imagine.
Compile all written portfolio content into one document in the order listed above.
Portfolios should be formatted for printing and viewing via Google Docs.
Name your portfolio as follows: “Lastname_Firstname_Candidate PortfolioOHSHS”
If your supplemental materials are in a different format, please attach separately.
If supplemental materials are submitted separately, name file as follows: “Lastname_Firstname_Candidatesupplementalmaterials OHSHS”
A reply e-mail will be sent confirming the receipt of your portfolio.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Application and Interview timeline:
October 15, 2018: Application window closes
October 15-November 15, 2018: Skype interviews conducted
January 2019: Semi-Finalists notified and interviewed
February 2019: Finalists visit Oak Hill School Campus
Salary is competitive with similar independent schools in the region and commensurate with experience. Oak Hill School does not discriminate based on race, color, age, religion, gender, disability, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected status in its hiring or employment practices.
By submitting an application packet, you are agreeing to a criminal background and/or credit check.
Additional Oak Hill School and area information can be obtained via:
We look forward to learning about you and your interest in this position.
Composite Profile of the Ideal Candidate
Oak Hill School is looking for a Head of School with exceptional academic leadership credentials who can meet the challenges cited, inspire others to excel and do their best work. The Search Committee understands that no candidate can or will possess all the qualifications listed below, but it is seeking candidates with a strong and impressive combination of the following experiences and abilities:
A distinguished record of administrative leadership in an independent school, which includes demonstrated success in understanding and managing the school’s financial resources in a fiscally prudent manner.
An understanding of, and commitment to the school’s vision, mission, and community.
The highest standards of integrity, honesty, and professional ethics, combined with an approachable, engaging, and optimistic personality.
A confident, high-energy, outgoing leadership style, along with visible enthusiasm for the school, the students, and the Pacific Northwest.
Superior communication skills and the capacity to promote the mission, achievements, and promise of the school among a variety of audiences. A great and open communicator both within and outside of our community
A natural affinity for marketing and outreach.
Excellent fundraising skills.
The capacity to collaborate effectively with trustees, staff, and teachers. The ability also to navigate cleanly between the Lower School and the Upper School.
K-12 experience with the ability to grow the high school and to be an advocate for the high school. 10. The ability to identify, recruit, develop, and retain talented faculty and staff for the school.
A commitment to the value of diversity and the capacity to develop and nurture an inclusive community for all students, faculty, and staff.
Someone who will put down roots in the Pacific Northwest and grow with us.
Additional Salary Information: Salary is competitive with similar independent schools in the region and commensurate with experience.
About Oak Hill School
Oak Hill School is a small K-12 independent private school located on 72 acres in Eugene, Oregon. The school is known for its commitment to a rigorous academic curriculum.