About Bush

Head of School Transition

The Bush School’s Head of School Percy L. Abram announced to the community on Friday, April 26, 2024 that the 2024-2025 school year will be his last at Bush. Percy started at Bush in 2014. 

Percy’s tenure has been defined by substantial accomplishments that have moved the school forward and toward its centennial celebration year and beyond.

In his letter, Percy remarked, “I am proud of the work we have done together over the last decade and the progress that the school has made on many of its stated priorities. My eleventh and final year at Bush will be busy, and I am eager to continue our work before my tenure ends in June 2025.”

Percy has brought fresh ideas, initiatives, and a culture of dynamic learning to The Bush School during his tenure. The school is in a position of strength and poised for continued growth and success into its second century.

“On behalf of the Board,” Lisa Carroll writes, “I want to express deep appreciation to Percy for his outstanding leadership, his many talents, and the countless contributions he has made to our school since his arrival in 2014.”
 
Please read below the full letters announcing the transition to the community from Percy and Board of Trustees President Lisa Carroll.
 
This site will serve as a resource as we move through this transition. 

Contact us: We invite you to share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us at headofschoolsearch@bush.edu.

Search Partner

After careful consideration, we have selected the search firm, Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A), to facilitate our search. Karen Neitzel and Jennifer Wong Christensen are the senior consultants who will partner with us. Karen and Jennifer are familiar with The Bush School community, having recently facilitated our Middle School Director and Upper School Director searches. In partnership with the Board, they are committed to following a thoughtful, inclusive, and transparent search process. 

Search Committee

We are delighted to announce our search committee members, co-chaired by Trustees Karim Lessard ’89, P ’22 and ’28 and Julie Okerstrom P ’22 and ’25.

Search committee members from The Bush School’s faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees:
 
  • Wesley Burns, Trustee and P ’34 and ‘37
  • Jessica Rosen, Trustee and P ’24, ’28 and ‘33
  • Quentin Streets, Trustee and P ’30 and ‘32
  • Sharon Hurt, Assistant Head of School for Advancement
  • Julie Barber, Lower School Dean of Academics and P ‘31
  • Mike Jackson, Middle School Faculty and P ’20 and ‘22
  • Christine Miller, Upper School Faculty and Math Department Chair, Acting Upper School Dean of Academics and P ’26 and ‘29

Communication

List of 4 items.

  • Thursday, May 23: Head of School Search Committee Update

    Dear Bush School Community,
    As you know, the search for our next Head of School officially began last week with a campus visit from Karen Neitzel and Jennifer Wong Christensen from the search firm Carney, Sandoe & Associates. Karen and Jennifer engaged with students, faculty, staff, parents and guardians, alumni, and Trustees in small group sessions over the course of their visit. Thank you to those who participated and provided valuable insight to assist us in creating the Position Description which will be used to recruit top candidates from throughout the country or world.
    To gather additional input, we have also distributed a community survey and you are invited to respond by clicking here. Please do so by this Friday, May 24 at 5:00 p.m.
    We are delighted to announce our search committee members, co-chaired by Trustees Karim Lessard ’89, P ’22 and ’28 and Julie Okerstrom P ’22 and ’25. Karim runs 7 Simple Machines, a technology firm and incubator that has spun off companies in HR, healthcare, and financial services. Karim started volunteering for Bush as an assistant track coach and was the leader of the final Seacliste trip to France.  He developed an interest in volunteering for schools and spent nine years on the board at Seattle Country Day School with an emphasis on DEI and Finance then later went on to start the SCDS Alumni Association. Julie has been an active volunteer in many capacities at Bush and joined the Board in 2021. She currently serves as the Chair of the Development Committee and Co-Chair for the Center Campus and Middle School Campaign. Julie previously served on the board of Epiphany School, where she chaired the Development Committee, served on the Executive Committee and was a member of the search committee for Epiphany’s current Head of School.
    We are honored to serve alongside the following search committee members from The Bush School’s faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees:
    • Wesley Burns, Trustee and P ’34 and ‘37
    • Jessica Rosen, Trustee and P ’24, ’28 and ‘33
    • Quentin Streets, Trustee and P ’30 and ‘32
    • Sharon Hurt, Assistant Head of School for Advancement
    • Julie Barber, Lower School Dean of Academics and P ‘31
    • Mike Jackson, Middle School Faculty and P ’20 and ‘22
    • Christine Miller, Upper School Faculty and Math Department Chair, Acting Upper School Dean of Academics and P ’26 and ‘29
    We believe this group of individuals will represent the views of our community while keeping the interests of the school as a whole at the forefront. In addition to a deep understanding of our school’s culture and mission, the committee possesses a diverse set of skills and experiences to assist in the process of interviewing and evaluating candidates, as well as a shared passion for The Bush School. We thank them for their time and commitment to this important work.
    The search committee is responsible for ensuring a thorough process, vetting potential candidates, and making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for the final hiring decision. We are committed to being inclusive and as transparent as possible about the process itself while also respecting and upholding the confidentiality of all candidates. You will hear from us again in the coming weeks once the Position Description is finalized. Continuing updates can be found on the school website. We also invite you to share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us at headofschoolsearch@bush.edu.
    Thank you for your engagement and support during this exciting time for The Bush School.
    Warm regards,
     
    Karim Lessard & Julie Okerstrom
    Search Committee Co-Chairs
  • Tuesday, May 14: Head of School Transition Update

    Dear Bush Parents and Guardians, 

    Thank you for your support as we begin planning for our Head of School transition. Since I was last in touch in late April, the Executive Committee has been hard at work to launch the search process. I’m pleased to share an update with you. 

    First, many thanks to Trustees Karim Lessard ’89, P ’22 and ’28 and Julie Okerstrom P ’22 and ’25 for agreeing to co-chair the search committee. The committee is still in formation, and we hope to announce its members soon.

    After careful consideration, we have selected the search firm, Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A), to facilitate our search. Karen Neitzel and Jennifer Wong Christensen are the senior consultants who will partner with us. Karen and Jennifer are familiar with The Bush School community, having recently facilitated our Middle School Director and Upper School Director searches. In partnership with the Board, they are committed to following a thoughtful, inclusive, and transparent search process. 

    As a first step, Karen and Jennifer will engage our community during a campus visit this Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17. 


    Carney Sandoe’s visit questions will center around three primary themes:
    1. What do you value and appreciate about the school? Why did you choose The Bush School? 
    2. What is the work ahead for Bush? What are the priorities, opportunities, and challenges?
    3. What are the qualities and characteristics you hope the next Head possesses?
     
    They have also created a community survey to gather information, and you are invited to respond by clicking here. Please do so by Friday, May 24 at 5:00 p.m.

    The information that is gathered during this visit and from survey responses will help in the creation of the Position Description (PD) which is an informational recruiting document for candidates. The PD will highlight community priorities, opportunities, and challenges ahead for The Bush School, as well as the desired experiences and qualities of our next Head of School. This will be a global search, and we are confident that the opportunity will attract a talented group of candidates.
    Continuing updates can be found on the Head of School Transition page on the school website. We invite you to share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us at headofschoolsearch@bush.edu.
     
    With warm regards,
     
    Lisa Carroll
    President of the Board
  • Friday, April 26: Important Message from the Head of School

    Dear Bush Community, 

    I remember walking onto the Bush campus for the first time in 2013, impressed by its beauty, vibrancy, and above all the kindness of the people who called this amazing community home. Being on campus, walking among Japanese Elm trees, incredible artwork, and buildings brimming with energy and inspiration filled me with a sense of calm, hope, and optimism. I have seen that same hope and optimism in the eyes of Kindergartners as they go about their day, as well as Seniors as they gather, plan, and prepare for the journey ahead. 

    It is that hope and optimism that has made Bush such an incredible place to work over the past ten years. So, it is with bittersweet emotions that I write to inform you that the 2024-2025 school year will be my last at The Bush School. Every day, over the past ten years I have felt profoundly fortunate to serve and lead a school as uniquely excellent as Bush. This is a community that welcomed my family, embraced my children, Claudia ‘21 and Carlos ‘24, through their educational journey, and supported a vision for The Bush School that honored its history and legacy in Seattle while still innovating and educating students to lead in the future.

    I believe that I have the best job in Seattle. I have the opportunity to work with a committed, creative, and caring faculty that see the infinite potential in each child, and work tirelessly to help them realize it. I have learned and been supported by a devoted staff and a peerless administrative team who are indispensable collaborators in this work. I am able to engage with funny, kind, curious, and ambitious students who support their peers, think critically about local and global issues, and are determined and destined to blaze their own trails in the world. I have been a part of a parent community that cares deeply about Bush and works to ensure that the school will always endeavor to be the best version of itself. Lastly, I have partnered with the Bush Board of Trustees to build a vision for the school’s future that has positioned the school to lead boldly into the next century.

    I am proud of the work we have done together over the last decade and the progress that the school has made on many of its stated priorities. My eleventh and final year at Bush will be busy, and I am eager to continue our work before my tenure ends in June 2025. In fact, the school is poised to begin a strategic planning process in the fall, to reveal our exciting work on new brand messaging and visual identity that will better position the school in the Seattle educational market, and to start a self-study process in preparation for our upcoming accreditation visit. These processes will provide a clear articulation of a path forward for my successor when they join the community.

    Now is the appropriate time for Nina and me to set our sights on pastures that are not greener, but much closer to family. I want to thank this community for welcoming a California kid and his family to the Pacific Northwest and making him feel at home. This city and this community have left an indelible imprint on us, and I will carry with me the fond memories, deep laughter, and enduring relationships that formed my new family here. I will leave with a deep sense of gratitude, hope, and optimism for the future of The Bush School. 

    As always, it’s a great day to be a Blazer.
     
    Warmly,
     
    Percy L. Abram, Ph.D.
    Head of School
  • Friday, April 26: Important Message from the President of the Board

    Dear Bush School Community,
     
    This is a letter that no Board President ever wishes to write, but earlier this week Percy informed the Board of Trustees that the 2024-2025 school year, his eleventh as Head of School, will be his last year at The Bush School.
    On behalf of the Board, I want to express deep appreciation to Percy for his outstanding leadership, his many talents, and the countless contributions he has made to our school since his arrival in 2014.
     
    Under Percy’s leadership, he helped the School execute on several key strategic priorities including:
    • growing enrollment by 25%;
    • increasing the school’s percentage of students of color to 48%;
    • increasing faculty salaries to the 75th percentile of national norms;
    • facilitating the purchase of the Methow Campus;
    • implementing the Cascades program;
    • shepherding the school community through the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • completing a successful capital campaign, the proceeds of which were used to construct the Upper School South building;
    • overseeing the seismic retrofit and restoration of Gracemont Alumni Hall;
    • implementing the Blazer Bus program; and
    • ushering in an epic Centennial celebration.
    On a personal note, Percy’s tenure at Bush has closely aligned with mine, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have known and worked closely with him over the last ten years. Percy will be missed for many things: his passion for Bush, his tirelessness, a calm demeanor, accessibility, his sense of humor, and his beautiful letters to the community, just to name a few.
     
    It is now the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to hire and support the next Head of School, and the process is already underway.
     
    The Executive Committee, comprised of myself, Vice President/President-Elect Salone Habibuddin, Secretary Karim Lessard ’89, and Co-Treasurers Atul Bali and Amy Fernandes, will oversee the formation of a Head of School search committee, as well as the selection of a search firm to guide us in this critically important work. Bush is well-positioned to attract strong candidates from across the country, and the search committee will follow a comprehensive, thoughtful, and transparent process allowing for meaningful engagement across the School’s many constituencies. As the process advances, I will be updating you. Going forward, the school’s website will be the source of all information related to the head of school transition.
     
    Any leadership transition period can be both exciting and unsettling, and there is a tendency to focus on the impending departure versus the longstanding commitment. But just as the Centennial year has provided us with an opportunity to reflect upon our past and envision our future, so too will a change in the school’s leadership.

    Percy’s final year will be a busy one, and I respectfully ask for your full support. The Board, in partnership with a strong Senior Leadership Team, talented faculty and staff, and many engaged parents and guardians, will accomplish a lot. We’ll also pause to honor Percy, celebrate his many contributions to Bush, and enjoy our remaining time together.

    Until then, please join me in thanking Percy for his many years of service to The Bush School, and for putting us in a strong position to manage the transition ahead.

    With warm regards,
    Lisa Carroll
    President, The Bush School Board of Trustees
The Bush School is an independent, coeducational day school located in Seattle, WA enrolling 715 students in grades K–12. The mission of The Bush School is to spark in students of diverse backgrounds and talents a passion for learning, accomplishment, and contribution to their communities.

3400 East Harrison Street, Seattle WA 98112    (206) 322-7978
The Bush School does not discriminate in matters of employment, recruitment, admissions, or administration of any of its programs on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. In addition, The Bush School does not discriminate in matters of employment on the basis of age or marital status.
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