Charlie’s forty-seven years of independent school experiences are best described by the nineteenth century existential philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” As a consummate learner, Charlie’s strategic, principled-centered approach in serving as head of eight schools lends itself well to Kierkegaard’s philosophy. His involvement with a wide variety of educational institutions as a head of school and as an association board member, accreditation team chair, and consultant, have given Charlie a solid understanding of organizational frameworks, design, and functional analysis. His innate ability to see the big picture, understand schools’ missions, and focus on its operational subsystems provides Charlie with an advantage working with a multitude of very different organizations.
Throughout his career, Charlie has relied on his ability to apply his extensive knowledge in guiding mission- driven organizations, diagnosing issues and problems, and matching the right leadership and solutions with the institution. When confronted with major problems and issues facing schools, Charlie depends on an interactive approach to gather information and data in order to gain support.
Also, Charlie’s experiences with leading-edge programs and technology have accomplished a variety of goals in helping schools meet their potentials. Starting with a transformational initiative of his own in 1996 at Cincinnati County Day School, Charlie spearheaded the first ever implementation in the United States of a Microsoft/Toshiba, 5th-12th grade, Anytime Anywhere Laptop Program. As Microsoft’s pioneer school, he traveled the world giving presentations. In addition, his extensive experiences with regional and state associations in the Midwest, Florida, and NAIS, especially with regard to evaluation, accreditation and strategic planning, established him as an independent school leader early on in his career.
Recent interim head positions have afforded Charlie the opportunities to work closely with founders, build boards, mentor administrators and teacher leaders, and recruit students in the international world. Using his unique experiences, Charlie successfully created both a middle division and an international high school from scratch, requiring quality, college prep programs, and a demanding AP curriculum. However, most noteworthy has been Charlie’s success in reaching out across cultural boundaries to international agents, parents, and students in developing schools’ recruitment and retention programs.
Charlie graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1970 where he earned his BA in History/Government and later a M.ED in Administration along with a Superintendent’s Certificated in New York. In 1984, he received his ED.D in Leadership at the University of Delaware. After serving eleven very different educational institutions in his career, Charlie’s wide range of experiences from startups to established schools, traditional to progressive, small to large, religious to country day, and elementary to secondary including an international boarding school, has provided him with a breadth and depth of knowledge and gained him distinction among his peers.
Charlie is married to Gail Houston Clark, a veteran educator now serving as the Upper School Director at the Rossman School in St. Louis; they have three grown children and ten grandchildren.