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Head of School Search

Head of School Search

The Governing Council (GC) is fully committed to finding the best leader for New Life Academy. The GC, along with the Head of School (HOS) Search Committee, have embarked on a national Head of School Search with the objective of identifying the most qualified and most experienced leader for our school.

Communication Archives

Dear New Life Community,

The search for the NLA Head of School is progressing well, and there have been several important developments. First, our search firm, Job Fit Matters (JFM), is executing a robust, multi-channel, national awareness advertising campaign that has made our position visible to a large pool of potential qualified candidates.  Laura Coverstone and Ed Poff have had contact with hundreds of these potential candidates and continue to have additional candidates inquiring about our position.

Some initial screening of the candidates has been done, and they have connected with and are working with a pool of about 24 candidates.  To help us understand where we are, JFM reviewed with the Search Committee a preliminary grid of 5 candidates who they saw as rising to the top from this group for our consideration.  JFM highlighted that this grid is a current snapshot, and may change as we move to the interview stage but gave us confidence in the kind of people who have responded to our position.  This grid is made up of several candidates from across the country as well as a couple of local candidates.

As the search process continues, we would covet your prayers for wisdom and guidance as we begin conversations with these candidates. It is our prayer that God brings New Life Academy an individual who is energized to impact the world for Jesus Christ through their work at our Academy.

Peter Germann
Chair of the HOS Search Committee, Chair of the HSEC

Dear New Life Community,

We would like to share with you an important development in our search for a permanent Head of School to succeed Mr. Clark Gilbert, who is relocating back to California in June 2019.

Bruce Locklear
Dr. Bruce Locklear named Interim Head of School for the 2019-20 School Year.

We are pleased to announce that after careful consideration, Dr. Bruce Locklear has been appointed Interim Head of School for the 2019-20 school year. He comes highly recommended to New Life Academy and has full endorsement of our search firm, JobFitMatters. The NLA Governing Council, NLC Elder Board and NLA Search Committee unanimously voted to bring Bruce Locklear aboard effective July 1, 2019.

Bruce brings more than 20 years of school leadership experience to this role, including Principal, Superintendent and Interim Executive Leader spanning four different Minnesota schools. Under his leadership, school recognitions have included National 21st Century School, National Top School Award by Newsweek, and Principal of the Year (2010). Prior to his leadership roles, he has spent time in the classroom both as a K-12 teacher and a Professor at Southwest State University. In addition to his Doctorate Degree (EdD) in Educational Leadership and his Master’s Degree in Public Administration, he has attended the Bush Leadership Institute at Carlson School of Management and Harvard University’s symposium on Improving America’s High School Experience, equipping him with unique insights on enhancing school climate, culture, and the student experience.

Perhaps most important, Bruce embraces NLA’s vision of creating a vibrant and transformational Christ-centered learning experience that engages and encourages students to discover their passions and realize their full potential. He is a dedicated education leader who is a committed Christian with a wonderful faith story that inspired him to impact children through education.  We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of Bruce’s caliber and experience as our interim Head of School. We are confident that his skills and experience are the right fit for NLA‘s unique needs at this time.

Having an interim will not only better position NLA for our next long-term leader, but will also give us the largest potential pool of excellent candidates and the proper amount of time to conduct a careful and thorough nationwide search. Bruce will officially begin his Interim HOS term on July 1, 2019. He is excited to help transition NLA to our next leader while moving our school forward with the strategic initiatives God has laid on our hearts. Please join us in praying for Dr. Locklear’s transition, as well as the search for a long-term Head of School.

Mike Brocker
Chair of the Governing Council

Peter Germann
Chair of the HOS Search Committee, Chair of the HSEC

A Head of School Search Update meeting was open to our community. During this meeting, we described our Strategic Plan, introduced the Search Committee and Search firm, reviewed the findings of the recent community survey, and presented the Opportunity profile. If you were unable to attend, you can review the presentation here.


The Opportunity Profile and Overview video is available on this page as well. Be sure to share these documents with your network. Someone you know may know someone that would be an ideal candidate for our next Head of School.

Dear New Life Community,

The Search Committee wants to thank you for completing the survey and provide you with a summary of the valuable information we gained from the process.  As you know, we initiated an instrument called theListening Post®in February. We had a very high number of respondents, over 350, which provides a high degree of confidence that the information is representative of the community. Thank you for the time and thoughtful energy you contributed.

Respondents indicated that the top three priorities for investing additional energy in the future of our school are 1) Strengthen the spiritual development of our students, 2)Improve the academic performance of our students, and 3)Improve the internal morale and climate of our school.

Overall, the NLA community felt the criteria for the next Head of School should include 1)Ability to build a team and work collaboratively 2)Capacity to provide decisive leadership, and 3)Ability to recruit and retain high quality staff.  The top personal characteristic needed in the next Head of School was“brings out the best in people”.

This information, along with the interviews the JobfitMatters consultants conducted with many NLA constituents and the Strategic Planning we did last year, will factor in the profile we are developing for our next Head of School. We look forward to sharing the video and Opportunity Profile with you soon. If you have any questions about the survey or the job search we would welcome you to come to a meeting where we will share results, answer questions and pray for the search. This meeting will be held on March 21 @ 5 – 6 pm.

Peter Germann
Chair of the NLA HOS Search Committee

Dear NLA Community,

Please take a moment to view the (1:44 min) below with an update from Peter Germann on the Head of School Search process.

As mentioned in the video, please watch for the survey link coming in a few days and join us in prayer during the search process. This week we are asking that you pray for the search firm, JobfitMatters, as they come on campus to get to know New Life Academy and what is needed in our next leader. Community prayer times are:
  • Tuesday, 6:30 am, Great Room
  • Mom’s in Prayer, Wednesday, 2 pm, Church Conference Room
  • Mom’s in Prayer, Friday, 8:15 am, Church Conference Room
As a reminder, if you have questions regarding the search process, you can address those questions to
God Bless,
Peter Germann
Head of School Search Committee Chair

Dear New Life Academy,

We are pleased to announce that the Search Committee selected Laura Coverstone and Ed Poff of JobfitMatters Executive Search ( based out of Nashville, TN.  JobfitMatters has an impressive record of placing key executives in many Christian organizations and educational institutions, including over 25 Head of School searches for Christian schools, and a high longevity rate for candidates they have placed in office. Their methodology, network, and resources, in addition to their experience in finding administrators for many Christian schools, colleges, and universities, were all determining factors in our selection.

In order to fully understand New Life Academy, Laura and Ed will be visiting our campus in early February, as well as listening to the whole community by using a survey instrument.  We ask that you participate in these opportunities to share what is important to you in our next leader. You will be receiving additional information in the coming weeks.

Please continue to pray for the search process and the next leader of New Life Academy.


Head of School Search Committee

Dear New Life Community,

As we begin to launch the search process for a new Head of School, we are delighted to announce that the following individuals from our community have agreed to serve on the Head of School Search Committee. The committee members represent our parent, alumni and Governing Council (GC) communities and are enthusiastic about serving in this role.

The committee members are:

Peter Germann, Chair
Parent (Nicholas ’02, Julia ’03, Laurel ’07)

Mike Brocker
Parent (Joshua ’14, Danielle ’19, Bethany ’21, Rachel ’23, Zechariah ’25, Ben ’06, Jenni ’06, Matthew ’10, Jonathan ’11) 

Keith Freeburg
Grandparent (Lindsey ’23, Jeremy ’14, Trevor ’13) 

Jim Kirkwood
Parent (Kelly ’03, Kristin ’05) 

Robin Maynard

Parent (Alexandra ’12, Matthew ’19, Jacob ’21) 

Dave Meier

Parent (Aaron ’95, Amanda ’99, Andrew ’05)

Michelle Schumacher
Parent (Lauren ’19, Blake ’23) 

The Goal of the Head of School Search Committee is to conduct the search and at its conclusion, recommend a Head of School candidate to the GC for review and approval.

The Search Committee will keep the NLA community informed about the search process while respecting the confidentiality of the candidates. This webpage has been established as a central place to provide updates, news and frequently asked questions. If you have a question, you can email the search committee at

We invite all parents and students to pray for God’s wisdom to lead us in selecting our new Head of School.


New Life Academy


We are here to educate and energize each student to impact their world for Jesus Christ and to reach their full potential in scholarship, leadership, and service out of love for God and one another.

Dear New Life Community,

New Life Academy and Clark Gilbert wish to inform you of an important decision affecting our community.  Regretfully, Clark has made the difficult decision to return to California at the end of the school year in order to be closer to his family. Changes in Bev Gilbert’s San Diego-based employment responsibilities over this past year have made it much more difficult than they had expected to spend time together in the Twin Cities. While this decision yields some sadness and disappointment, we respect Clark and understand and honor his decision.  Clark will continue to serve as Head of School for the remainder of the school year and intends to continue to enthusiastically pursue our important strategic initiatives. We appreciate the timing of Clark’s decision as it allows us to proactively begin a comprehensive search for a new Head of School.

We thank Clark for his ongoing substantial contributions to NLA–not least of which was his key leadership role in the recent highly successful accreditation effort.  Please join us in wishing him well in his eventual return to San Diego to his family.

Details related to school leadership for the 2019-2020 school year will be communicated by the Governing Council shortly after the Christmas break. Questions may be addressed to 

Please join us in praying for God’s wisdom to guide the Governing Council as they address NLA’s leadership needs for the future.

Peter Germann
Chair of Head of School Support and Evaluation Committee (HSEC)

Read Clark Gilbert’s Letter to the community.



To view the opportunity in detail, click Head of School Opportunity Profile

Frequently Asked Questions: Search Process

Who is leading the search process?

The Governing Council is responsible for selecting the Head of School. To facilitate the search process, the GC has created a Search Committee led by Peter Germann to conduct the search along with JobFit Matters and, at its conclusion, will recommend a Head of School candidate to the GC for review and approval.

What is the role of the Head of School Search Committee?

The Head of School Search Committee is committed to a transparent and inclusive process in selecting our new Head of School. We will balance our goal of keeping the community informed about the search as well as respecting the confidentiality of the candidates.

What is the role of current parents, alumni & students?

Parents, alumni and students as well as teachers and staff will be invited to participate in a school-wide survey enabling you to speak into the process. In addition to active participation in surveys, focus groups and interviews, we invite all parents and students to pray for God’s wisdom to lead us in selecting our new Head of School.

How will the Head of School Search Committee communicate with the NLA community?

How long will the search process take?

Why do we need to go through this extensive process?


The Governing Council and the Head of School Support and Evaluation Committee (HSEC), Chaired by Peter Germann, has formed a Head of School Search Committee. Search Committee members are:

Peter Germann (Chair)
Keith Freeburg
Jim Kirkwood (Chair of GC)
Robin Maynard
Dave Meier
Michelle Schumacher

Questions? Please direct all questions to this email.


The Governing Council  is inviting the entire New Life community to join in prayer for the ongoing HOS search process. The GC, staff and NLA elders are praying regularly on a weekly basis. The following is a list of times and locations for you to participate in prayer for this critical time.

Mom’s in Prayer:

  • Wednesday’s, 2-3 pm, Church Conference Room
  • Friday’s, 8:15 am, Church Conference Room

Monthly Prayer Walks (watch calendar)

Tuesday’s at 6:30 am (Great Room)

Thank you for your commitment to pray as we seek wisdom from the Lord.

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