Head of School Search


The Nichols School Board of Trustees and Head of School Search Committee announced today in a letter to the school community that the Board has unanimously accepted the Search Committee’s recommendation to appoint Christopher Burner as Nichols School’s 13th Head of School.

Burner currently serves as the Head of Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio, a role he has held for ten years. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Franklin and Marshall College, and he holds a Master of Education from Harvard University and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College.

“Chris has a deep commitment to academic excellence, to students in an independent school environment, and the mission of the school, which drives his activities and decisions,” wrote Nichols School Chair of the Board of Trustees Jeff Meyer and Nichols School Trustee and Chair of the Head of School Search Committee Kate Roach. “His experience as a teacher, coach and dormitory advisor permits Chris to relate to the duties of the faculty, as well as the life of a student.”

"I am thrilled to become Nichols’ next Head of School. We are excited to move to Buffalo and join the great Nichols community,” said Burner. “I look forward to the opportunity to move the school forward, strengthen it fiscally, and work collaboratively with students, faculty, alumni and parents. Most importantly, I want to help fulfill the school’s mission of preparing each student for the work of life and encouraging them to discover their true potential.”

Burner will succeed Nichols School’s current Head of School Bill Clough on July 1, 2019. Clough announced last spring that the 2018-19 school year would be his last at Nichols.

The Head of School search process began in May when the Board of Trustees hired George Conway of Independent Educational Services (IES) and his associate Peter Gillin of Diversified Search to serve as consultants. In total, they reviewed more than 70 candidates for the position. After multiple interviews and on-campus visits by three finalists, Burner emerged as the Search Committee's first choice. Ultimately, the Board determined that Burner’s “experience, training, leadership style, skill set and dedication to education made him the best candidate for Nichols’ 13th Head of School.”

“We are confident that Chris’ forward-thinking and innovative approach to learning will make him an effective Head of School and a worthy successor to Bill,” said Meyer and Roach.


Recent Communications

Head of School Announcement from Kate Roach and Jeff Meyer on Oct. 1, 2018
Search Update from Kate Roach and Jeff Meyer on Sept. 4, 2018
Announcement from Head of School Search Committee Chair Kate Roach on July 10, 2018
Announcement from Head of School Bill Clough on May 21, 2018
Statement from Board Chair Jeff Meyer on May 21, 2018


Search Committee and Advisory Committee Information

Search Committee Members
Advisory Committee Members


Position Information

Nichols School Head of School Position Description

Contact Information

George Conway
President, IES Consulting




Our aim is to train minds, bodies and hearts for the work of life, and to carry into all we do the highest ideals of character and service.

Fast facts
Average Class Size: 14
Student/Teacher Ratio: 8:1
Acres: 30
Founded: 1892
Average Enrollment: 555
Boy/Girl Ratio: 50% / 50%
Endowment: $30 million
AP Classes: 20

Pursuit of Excellence
At Nichols, inspired teachers and students are committed to a quality standard of learning and achievement in all aspects of school life.

Integrity of Character
Our community strives to cultivate each student's sense of responsibility, compassion, honesty, and self-discipline, producing confident and ethical young people.

Tradition and Change
Grounded in the wisdom of the past, we stimulate adaptive and innovative abilities to prepare our students for the future.

Rigor and Balance
Our challenging expectations and structured environment bring out potential. Each student is encouraged to find the balance among academic, artistic, athletic and extra-curricular involvements.

Diverse Community
Nichols School reflects the region's neighborhoods and the wider world, building mutual respect and understanding. In our daily school life, we strive to be a caring community for each individual.