McVeigh to Move On and Head Holderness School


Brooks School is proud to share that Associate Head of School for Faculty Affairs John McVeigh has been named the next head of Holderness School. McVeigh has worked at Brooks for nearly two decades in a variety of leadership positions.

"For 18 years, John McVeigh has been a beloved member of the Brooks School community for the extraordinary commitment of time, care, and talent he has shared selflessly with students and colleagues in ways that have mattered deeply to the many he has reached," said Head of School John Packard. "As a teacher, coach, dormitory parent, advisor, college counselor, admission officer, and associate head for faculty affairs, his investment in our school has been absolute and unwavering."

McVeigh, whose appointment begins July 1, 2022, expressed his eagerness to take on this new challenge of leading Holderness School.

"I am absolutely thrilled and honored by the opportunity to join the Holderness community and so grateful for the chance to lead a boarding school that is as committed to its students and mission as Brooks has been during my time here," said McVeigh. "Obviously, leaving here will not be easy for me nor for my family — the people of Brooks School have meant so much to us personally and professionally over the last 18 years."

"I am so grateful to Brooks for their willingness to take a chance on an inexperienced science teacher and basketball coach almost two decades ago," he continued. "I've often said that I think John Packard (then, dean of faculty) and Dan Rorke (then, athletic director) saw something in me that I didn't even see in myself, and their belief in me helped me to see that I might really enjoy living and working at a boarding school. I have been beyond lucky to have the chance to work with so many terrific students and colleagues over my time here, and I'll be taking with me a lifetime's worth of great memories from Brooks."

"I'm also glad to have this next year to make the transition, which will give me lots of opportunities to thank the many people throughout the Brooks community who have made this an amazing, meaningful place to live and work since 2003," said McVeigh. "I'm as excited about the opportunity of going to Holderness as I am appreciative for everything that Brooks has done for me and meant to me during my time here."

While his departure from Brooks is still a year away, it is not hard to anticipate the hole that will be felt when he leaves.

"All of us at Brooks know well that our loss will be Holderness School's gain, and we could not be more thrilled for John, Candice, Jack, and Kelly, as they embark on this exciting next step in their lives at an outstanding school certain to feel and draw from their warmth and total immersion in school life," said Packard. "All in the Holderness community will quickly come to see what we at Brooks have long known: John McVeigh is a gifted leader, a person of deep character and integrity, and a compassionate educator committed to all the wonders of boarding school life. On a personal level, I will miss working with a colleague I deeply admire and count as one of the finest people I have known in my life. I look forward to doing all I can to support John's transition over the year ahead, and to drawing from his many strengths as a fellow head of school once his tenure in Plymouth begins next summer. He is going to be an outstanding head of Holderness School."

The full text of Holderness's June 15 announcement is reprinted below with permission.

It is with great joy on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Search Task Force that we announce the appointment of John McVeigh as the 10th Holderness Head of School beginning July 1, 2022. After an incredibly rewarding and validating search that involved nearly 200 deeply talented and qualified candidates from across the country and around the world, we have the utmost confidence that we have found the individual that will best succeed Phil Peck.

John comes to us as a beloved and integral member of the Brooks School community, where over the course of 18 years he has held the positions of Dean of Faculty, Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, Director of College Counseling, Science, Math and Oratory classroom teacher, advisor, and Varsity Boys Basketball Coach. In his current role as Associate Head of School for Faculty Affairs, he has successfully navigated Brooks through the pandemic, substantially expanded hiring and retention of faculty of color, significantly increased professional development funding and opportunities, helped to close one capital campaign and strategically plan another, been awarded an honorary degree by the Class of 2016, and served as the keynote speaker for countless events on behalf of Brooks. Prior to his time at Brooks, John worked as an engineer for Intel after graduating with a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University. He also graduated Magna Cum Laude as a dual major in Biology and Chemistry from Merrimack College, where he was an Academic All-American basketball player and the recipient of a scholarship from the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence.

We are thrilled to benefit from John's extensive knowledge and broad experience, but even more so from his sincere appreciation for and desire to lead Holderness, his depth of understanding of the Holderness culture and community, and his authenticity as an educator and as a human being. It is clear from the recommendations we received and the interviews that we conducted that John has the innate ability to positively impact everyone, student or adult, with whom he comes into contact and, as such, is a clear choice to follow in Phil's stead to uphold the mission, vision, core values, and motto of Holderness.

John will be enthusiastically joined at Holderness by his wife Candice and their children Jack and Kelly. Candice is an educator as well and has taught Health and Wellness at Andover High School for 23 years. When asked for his thoughts about taking on this role, John shared "I am absolutely thrilled and honored by the opportunity to join the Holderness community and so grateful for the chance to lead such a student-centered and mission-driven school. It's been energizing to meet so many students, employees, alumni, and families who have been deeply and positively impacted by the experiences they have had and the relationships they have made over the years – their love for Holderness is as contagious as it is inspiring, and our family can't wait to join you all next summer!"

In a transformational search process that highlighted the deep respect for Holderness School's standing within the independent school world and the recognition of how well-placed we are for continued strength and success in the future, the Search Task Force teamed with and learned from the extensive expertise of Carney, Sandoe and Associates (CS&A). Through a rigorous process of interviewing and surveying hundreds of Holderness constituents, a Holderness Head of School position description was created and sent out across a massive network of educators and thought leaders. This unusually large applicant pool was narrowed down to a core group and presented to the Search Task Force who worked over several months and multiple stages to eventually arrive at three eminently qualified finalists to bring to campus for in-person interviews in late May. John was unanimously selected by the Search Task Force for recommendation to the Board and was subsequently unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees.

The depth and breadth of our candidates was truly impressive, and the thorough, diligent, and genuine search process was an incredible reflection of all members of the Holderness community. We would like to acknowledge the innumerable hours of work done by our excellent CS&A consultants – Deveraux McClatchey, Rice Bryan '91, Becky Sykes and Jessica Wright – our loyal and dedicated Search Task Force members listed below, and all participating members of the Holderness community that enabled us to reach this exciting and rewarding conclusion to our search process. The constant support from the greater Holderness community was equally integral to our success.

We would also like to thank Phil and Robin Peck for their gracious, thoughtful, and honest collaboration in this process and for playing a key role in the final interview days. It was an amazing and fully Holderness team effort from start to finish, and we look forward to this next year of transition and celebration of both Phil and John as we begin this journey together.

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