I am pleased to announce that the next President of the American College of Sofia will be Richard (Dick) Ewing. Dr. Ewing will assume the presidency on July 1, 2015 upon the retirement of our current President. Dr. Paul Johnson gave the Board of Trustees notice during the last school year that he intended to retire on June 30, 2015, after a 40 year career in education in the US and abroad. Paul has shared that he and his wife, Teresa Monicken, consider their time at ACS and in Bulgaria one the most rewarding experiences they’ve ever had.
The Board of Trustees organized a search committee made up of five trustees. I agreed to chair the search process. We hired a well-known search firm (Search Associates) and announced the position as part of an international search. We reviewed 19 applications from candidates who met our criteria, reduced the list to six and then interviewed three we felt were the strongest. Of the three, we decided to send two candidates to the College and each made a visit to the campus in May.
After extensive discussion about the qualifications of each finalist, a careful review of professional references, and consideration of the feedback from the College, the search committee reached a unanimous and strong conclusion that Dick Ewing was the best fit for the emerging needs and current issues at the College. The Board approved our recommendation and I completed contract negotiations with Dr. Ewing in June.
Dick Ewing knows quality education. He holds degrees from Yale University, the University of Virginia, and a doctorate from Harvard University. Professionally, he has served for over 30 years as the Head of School for one of the most highly regarded independent schools in the Washington D.C. area, and he has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for several other schools. Dick has held leadership positions in various national education associations, presented at a number of conferences, and co-authored a chapter on diversity and inclusion for a publication on change management. As the son of a diplomat, Dick attended an international school in Burma and began his teaching career as a teaching fellow at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. His references are glowing, his student-focused commitment to education is well established, and his enthusiasm for joining the American College community is contagious. Dick is a former world champion rower and still goes sculling when he can on the Potomac River. He and his wife, Jane, are the parents of two grown children.
With a year's notice, the presidential transition should be quite smooth. Dr. Ewing will use the next year to work with Paul, the senior staff at the College, and the Board of Trustees to become fully aware of operational issues and strategic intentions as we enter a new phase of development at the College. Dick will participate in the meeting of the trustees scheduled for November in Washington and he will join the President on his annual faculty recruitment trip in February. We expect Dr. Ewing will be introduced to the ACS community next May during the College graduation ceremony.
Change is never easy, especially change in leadership. Paul Johnson has provided terrific leadership for the College and will continue to do so for another school year. But, we are confident that Dick Ewing will assume his role with confidence and continue to guide the development of the College during these complex times in Bulgaria, Europe, and the world.
Roger Whitaker, Ph.D.
Chair, Board of Trustees
American College of Sofia, and
Professor, The George Washington University