(Note: This story has been edited to include information on the financing of Tucker Foehl’s new position not included in the print edition.)
A new administrative position has been created—the assistant head of strategic programs—in order to increase marketing for the school.
And Tucker Foehl, one of the final five candidates in the head of high school search conducted in January, will be filling this position next year. The decision was announced in an email to the parents on March 3.
Headmaster Stephen Repsher said he decided to create this new administrative position in response to concerns presented during the head of high school interviewing process that Country Day is not properly recognized in the Sacramento community.
“A lot of folks think of us as a school for maybe special needs students or some other type of education that is not college preparatory,” Repsher said.
“Some folks in the community don’t know that we are a 14-grade school, and they don’t know that we are an independent school as opposed to a for-profit private school.”
Repsher said that many people also assume that the school is unaffordable and not diverse, even though 36 percent of the student body is from diverse backgrounds and about $1.5 million is awarded in financial aid annually.
So Repsher decided that it was necessary to bring in someone new to make Country Day “better known and appreciated,” since the task would be too much for the current staff.
Repsher said he had been considering bringing in someone for several years but didn’t have the sufficient funds to do so.
In a March 14 letter to the faculty, Repsher said that Foehl’s position will be initially funded by a budget surplus and should ultimately be covered by an increase in enrollment resulting from his work.
“When the search (for a head of high school came up), it reinvigorated my thinking that this could be a possibility, so I had my eyes out for folks that could come through the candidate hopper,” he said.
While teacher Brooke Wells was chosen for the head of high school position, the response to Foehl was so positive that Repsher decided to ask if he was interested.
Foehl, who is currently the academic department head at the Baltimore School of the Arts, accepted the offer.
“When you’re told you’re the runner-up for a position, it’s really nice for them to come back and (offer you a different one),” Foehl said.
And although it is a much different position than head of high school, Foehl said he thinks he’ll do a good job with marketing because he has done similar work at the Baltimore School of the Arts.
“When I arrived (at the Baltimore School of the Arts), there was a real misconception within the community that we didn’t have a strong academic program,” he said. “I was cast with demystifying the notion that we were just an art school and messaging the strength of our academic program.”
Foehl went about this task by expanding the curriculum with new AP courses, recruiting from local schools, meeting with students and parents, and holding information days.
“Baltimore is a big city that feels like a small town—much like Sacramento—and word of mouth goes a long way,” he said. “I think it’s also crucial for people to experience the passion and excitement that exists among the students and faculty at a school firsthand, and that is a clear goal as I think about the vibrant and passionate community of students and teachers at SCDS.”
He also said that he loved everything about Country Day when he visited and was very interested in working here and sending his own children here—his son Matteo will be starting kindergarten next year.
“My first impression was a warm and caring community,” he said.
Foehl added that he hopes to teach a high-school elective, although the logistics of this have not yet been worked out.
He said he’d like to use a course he taught at Yale and at the Calhoun School in New York City called “Race and Ethnicity in the American West.”
Foehl visited the school again on March 10 soon after accepting his new position.