Interim ED Search Committee

Dear Little School Community,

In December, Matt Linden announced that he will be moving on from his role as Executive Director (ED) this summer after leading The Little School for the last three years.  As a school community, we are grateful for his warmth, friendship and stewardship of The Little School’s deeply embedded culture and values, and wish him well in his next endeavor.

Now in its 35th year, the foundation of our school is solid, and made stronger by you - our community of dedicated staff and engaged families. Together, we can ensure that a child’s experience at The Little School remains consistent and that each and every child continues to feel appreciated, respected and celebrated.

Matt is working closely with The Little School’s Board of Trustees to ensure a smooth transition. To that end, the Board has established a Search Committee for an Interim ED. I am writing to you on behalf of this committee to explain how we intend to go about our work.

The Interim ED Search Committee

The Interim ED Search Committee is deeply committed to ensuring that we identify the best possible candidate for The Little School for the 2019-20 academic year. While the Board is ultimately responsible for appointing an Interim ED, the Interim ED Search Committee is working hard to identify a preferred candidate. Members of the Interim ED Search Committee are: Abby Anderson (Board Member); Brittany Cunningham (LS Teacher); Sarita Escobar (LS Teacher); Julie Meyer (Board Member); Ravi Paidipaty (Board Member); Charmaine Pattinson (Board Chair); Beth Reichmuth (LS Teacher); Cathy Schember (Board Member); and Holly Teliska (Board Member).

Intentionally, the committee represents a variety of perspectives and experiences. The teachers on our committee work with students of all ages in our school, have a variety of tenure at The Little School, and reflect the diversity, in all forms, of our school. Other committee members bring management experience, professional recruiting expertise, and direct experience leading search committees at other schools and during The Little School’s last leadership transition.  

The Board also recently hired Janet McGarvey as the Search Consultant to the Search Committee. Janet has an extensive network in education and most recently served as the Founding Executive Director of the California Teacher Development Collaborative, serving over 100 independent schools in The Bay Area and Los Angeles. She previously served as the Director of the West Coast Office of the Independent Education Services recruiting firm, and taught for many years at local schools. Janet is currently leading the Head of School search for North Bridge Academy in Larkspur, CA, and successfully conducted the Interim Head of School search for San Francisco Schoolhouse last year.

The Process

The Interim ED Search Committee began advertising the position shortly after the announcement was made in December and has already received applications. The committee  will conduct first-round interviews with promising candidates and develop a list of final-round candidates to meet with additional members of our community. The committee will recommend one candidate to the Board for consideration. The Board will then vote on the Search Committee’s recommended candidate before the end of the school year.

We anticipate the timeline for selecting an Interim ED will be swift and to move more expeditiously than for a permanent ED due to our immediate need for the next school year. We are open to beginning a dialogue with candidates for the permanent position should they approach us, but our focus for this process is to identify and hire an interim ED in a timely fashion.

Community Involvement and Input

We will invite you to attend a community meeting in the Spring at which we will provide an update on our progress and begin to gather input about the search for a permanent ED. The Board will follow the meeting with a survey of all community members so that those who cannot attend the meeting have an opportunity to voice their opinions. We will keep the community updated during our process as new developments arise. Please expect more opportunities to provide input during the search for a permanent ED once that process begins later this Spring.

Additional Information

The bios of the Interim Search Committee members are listed below. If you have any questions or recommendations of possible candidates for the Interim ED position, we invite you to email us at

The Little School is fortunate to have an engaged and dedicated teacher and parent community that is committed to working together in partnership during this time. On behalf of the members of the Interim ED Search Committee, please know that we take this opportunity for new leadership with great care and consideration and will thoughtfully select a candidate to lead us through our year of transition.


Holly Teliska, Chair, Interim ED Search Committee

Interim ED Search Committee Members:

Abby Anderson

Abby is serving her fifth year on The Little School Board of Trustees and her second year as Vice Chair. She has a daughter in MFAM and two children who are Little School alums and now at MCDS. Abby most recently was the Founder/CEO of AKA Search, a recruiting firm focused on senior executive searches for internet and technology companies.  She previously was SVP Strategy & Operations at Rockwell Group, an architecture and multi-disciplinary design firm and Principal at Waterview Advisors, a media and entertainment venture capital/private equity fund.  Abby received her BA from Dartmouth College and MBA from Harvard Business School.

Brittany Cunningham

Brittany is in her fourth year as a Little School Teacher and currently teaches in the MFPM program. She serves on The Little School Diversity Committee where she has taken on the role of Outreach Coordinator. Prior to joining The Little School, she spent four years as a Head Teacher working with preschool age children in both Reggio Emilia-inspired and emergent curriculum preschools. Brittany holds Early Childhood Education coursework from San Francisco State University.

Sarita Escobar

Sarita has worked in various teaching teams at The Little School for 28 years. Her most recent team has been in the Transitional Kindergarten for the past nine years. Prior to joining The Little School, she taught at the Jewish Community Center Early Childhood Development program. Sarita has studied, and continues to study Early Childhood Education at City College of San Francisco. Sarita has served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco School, where her son attended. She also served as Chair of their Diversity Committee for several years and was a founding member of the Learning Services Committee. When her son graduated and moved to Waldorf High School, Sarita was a member of the Diversity Committee there. Outside of ECE, she has studied traditional Japanese Taiko drumming since 1986, with the nationally acclaimed San Francisco Taiko Dojo. In 1990 she helped found the children’s branch of the San Francisco taiko Dojo where she teaches beginning children’s classes. Sarita is a native San Franciscan.

Julie Meyer

Julie is serving in her second year as the Volunteer Chair on The Little School Board of Trustees.  She has a daughter in MFAM, a son in OTTH, and a Little School graduate who is in kindergarten at San Francisco Day School. Julie most recently worked as a Director at Nest for 5.5 years (, a nonprofit committed to building a new handworker economy that connects global craftspeople, brands, and consumers in a circular and human-centric value chain.  She is serving in her third year on Nest’s Board of Trustees. Julie has ten years of real estate, finance, and transactional experience at Spear Street Capital, a real estate private equity firm located in San Francisco, and Goldman Sachs, NYC and LA offices. Julie received her BS in Economics and BA in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania/Wharton School.

Ravi Paidipaty

Ravi is in his first year on The Little School Board of Trustees. He is the father of three boys: an alum, a three year old in his second year at the school and a one year old. Ravi is a Portfolio Manager at Citadel, a global multistrategy hedge fund. He was previously a Managing Member at Farallon Capital Management. He has a MBA from Harvard Business School with a BA from Yale University.  

Charmaine Pattinson

Charmaine is serving her third year on The Little School Board of Trustees and her second year as President. She has a daughter (Little School alum) who is now at MCDS, a son in TK and an almost 2-year old. Charmaine is the Founder and CEO of Plinkit, an education hub that simplifies child development concepts and pairs them with immediate solutions. She was previously a Global Director at the Clinton Foundation, and designed the organization’s career ladder system. She has also had roles in marketing strategy at Genentech and was a former M&A investment banker. Charmaine has a MBA from Harvard Business School.

Beth Reichmuth

Beth is in her sixth year as a Little School teacher.  She currently teaches in the OTTH and OMWF programs and serves on The Little School Diversity Committee. Beth previously served as a member of The Little School Executive Director Search Committee in 2015-16. Prior to joining The Little School,  Beth taught and cared for young children for eight years.

She holds an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Primary Teacher Montessori Diploma through Association Montessori International. Beth is an instructor of personal safety skills through Kidpower International.  She is author of the children's picture book I'm Jay, Let's Play.

Cathy Schember

Cathy Schember is beginning her fourth year of service on The Little School Board of Trustees.  All four of her children are proud graduates of The Little School (1990-2001). Cathy brings 35 years of experience working with nonprofits in the areas of education, children, energy and climate. Cathy has served in a variety of fundraising capacities over the past decade: as Director of Development and Board Relations at Next Generation, a strategic communications nonprofit dedicated to improving the prospects for children through early childhood development and assessing the economic risk of climate change; as Director of Major Gifts at SASB (Sustainable Accounting Standards Board), and as an independent fundraising consultant. In addition, she has served as program director at Stanford Law School, Harvard Business School and UCLA Medical School.

Cathy also brings leadership experience from local educational institutions. She served as Board President at University High School and The Hamlin School over a period of seven years, leading two distinct boards and overseeing the financial, governance, and development strategies of both schools.  In addition, she has served on seven search teams, including Head of School searches at Hamlin, University High School, and The Little School.

Cathy received her AB from Harvard University.  

Holly Teliska

Holly is serving in her second year as the Development Chair on The Little School's Board of Trustees. Her two daughters recently graduated from The Little School and now attend San Francisco Friends School. Holly most recently served as the Executive Director of close the gap CA, a statewide political campaign that recruits progressive women to run for targeted seats in the California Legislature. She previously served as Policy Advisor and Counsel to the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) in Washington, DC, and has held advisory roles on several political campaigns. Holly received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley Law and graduated with a BA from Colgate University.