Clairbourn School Announces New Head of School

Published : Monday, February 26, 2018 | 1:30 PM

Board of Trustees announce to Clairbourn's staff the appointment of Dr. Amy Patzlaff as the new Head of School.

Dear Clairbourn Community:

After an extensive nationwide Head of School search, it is my honor to announce that the Board of Trustees has selected Dr. Amy Patzlaff to become our next Head of School, effective July 1, 2018.

Dr. Patzlaff was chosen from a national pool of impressive candidates after a very thorough search process. This unanimous appointment was the result of united and enthusiastic support from the Head Search Committee. In Dr. Patzlaff, we have found a passionate, enthusiastic, and dynamic leader to build upon the thirty-nine years of Dr. Nafie’s inspiring headship.

Dr. Amy Patzlaff - Newly appointed Head of School, starting July of 2018.

We are grateful for Dr. Patzlaff’s longstanding and continued commitment to Clairbourn, and for her willingness to work closely with the Board, the administration and staff to guarantee a seamless transition for our community. Thanks to Dr. Patzlaff’s steadfast service to Clairbourn over the past 24 years, we are able to offer her the opportunity to assume her new role from a position of great strength and positive momentum.

Dr. Patzlaff has been an experienced educator for 24 years. She has eight years of experience teaching at the elementary level as well as serving as Department Chair. She served as Middle School Director for twelve years. She has served as Assistant Head of School since 2014, and recently as Head of School in the absence of Dr. Nafie. She has a strong background in curriculum development and academic principles, as well as understanding the importance of fund raising and sound budgeting.

Dr. Patzlaff has a Doctorate of Education in organizational leadership, a Master of Science in leadership and management, a Master of Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in education and history. As well as participating in Clairbourn’s accreditation process, she has served on accreditation teams evaluating other independent schools, which speaks to her understanding of the needs of an independent school education. She has conducted original research to determine factors influencing enrollment decisions.

In selecting Dr. Patzlaff as our next Head of School, we were impressed by her desire to advance the school’s mission and were impressed by her goals for the future. She has said that her goal is to “honor the traditions of excellence and values of Clairbourn while leading the school into a new era of growth.”

The Board of Trustees extends deep appreciation to the Search Committee, whose commitment to and enthusiasm for our School are compelling and contagious; we owe them a debt of gratitude. In addition, we thank the many members of our community — faculty, parents, and alumni — who participated in this process. That involvement made a world of difference and was an outstanding testament to our strong and vibrant community.

As the search process now officially and happily concludes, the most important work remains. Over the next many months, and during the first year of Dr. Patzlaff’s tenure, the Board will have much to do to ensure a smooth leadership transition and a warm welcome to Dr. Patzlaff’s new role as Head of School. We are in the process of putting together a Transition Committee who will lead the effort to assist Dr. Patzlaff as she guides the school into its next chapter.

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Amy Patzlaff to perpetuating Dr. Nafie’s legacy and to embracing the exciting work still ahead as we continue to meet the needs of our students today, while also ensuring they will enter the world well prepared to serve and lead throughout their lives. The Board of Trustees is looking forward to making changes that will move us forward, while preserving the traditions and culture that we all love.

Margaret Breazeal
Chair, Board of Trustees


Clairbourn School, 8400 Huntington Drive, San Gabriel, (626) 286-3108 or visit








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