Dear New Horizon Trustees, Faculty, Staff, and Families,
New Horizon School, Irvine has been a part of my life for a quarter of a century! I was one of a dozen founding members who gathered in 1997 to begin formulating the idea of a New Horizon in Orange County. From the school’s inaugural day on September 10, 2001 when I brought my daughter to preschool, to serving on the Board that same year, teaching 1st grade in 2002 and then 4th grade in 2003, and being appointed Head of School in 2004, my love and dedication to New Horizon have only deepened. With gratitude and nostalgia, I am writing to share with you my decision to retire at the end of June, 2024 marking my 20th year as Head of School.
The timing seems ideal. I have always believed that the best schools are those that embrace change, and this is a wonderful time for New Horizon School, Irvine to begin its next successful chapter. Our school is in top notch shape, masha Allah! Our enrollment is strong, our finances are sound, and we have done the groundwork in preparation for our Strategic Plan to define our focus in the coming years. The quality of our school’s faculty, staff, and leadership team has never been stronger, and I consider myself blessed to have worked alongside these skilled, talented, and devoted individuals. In addition, our Board continues to work diligently to ensure the long-term sustainability of our school and its excellent reputation. From every angle, New Horizon is poised for exciting growth and transformation, insha Allah.
For me, too, change feels good and right. Over the last two decades, I have been able to witness the incredible support of the community, the quality of the families and students enrolled, the growth from one campus to two, the transformational generosity among believers in our mission, and the wave after wave of bright children who graduate, enter universities, and grow into impressive young men and women! What a privilege it has been to serve the community over the last two decades!
The true testament of our efforts is evidenced by the exceptional graduates who matriculate into high schools then universities, and continue to be leaders as they excel in their education and service to the greater community – education and service they began as young children in our school. By the Grace of God, I am proud of all we have achieved together, and I will always be grateful to you, the Board, my colleagues, our current and alumni students and families, and our founders for giving me the opportunity. I can honestly say that I have loved the work I have done because I love our school, students, faculty and staff, and the community we have built together!
Although I am announcing my departure now, know that I will continue to serve you, your children, and our school to the utmost of my ability and strength through June 2024 and allow the school’s search committee the time to undertake a comprehensive national search for my replacement. In addition, I promise to make the transition to my successor seamless.
I trust you know that, wherever my life leads, I will joyfully carry with me the values of New Horizon School, Irvine, as well as the many lessons I learned at this extraordinary place. I end this letter with my sincere gratitude to you and to the Board for your careful, intentional, and considerate leadership and partnership over the last two decades. It has been, and continues to be “the best job in the world!”
Dr. Dina Eletreby
Head of School
Dear Members of the New Horizon School Community,
It is with deep admiration and appreciation that we reflect on the exemplary career of Dr. Dina Eletreby, who has served New Horizon School, Irvine for over two decades. As the longest-standing Head of any CAIS or Islamic School in Orange County, Dr. Eletreby has been instrumental in transforming our school from one campus of just over 100 students from PS-6th grade to two campuses serving almost 400 students from PS-8th grade. Her leadership has been marked by numerous accomplishments and unmatched vision, dedication, and imagination.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I convey our immense gratitude to Dr. Eletreby for her outstanding service to New Horizon School, Irvine. We accept her decision to retire as Head of School and wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement.
The Board of Trustees is committed to finding a visionary leader who, like Dr. Eletreby, embraces our school’s mission and values and will lead us through the opportunities and challenges ahead. We are confident that the position of Head of School will attract many talented leaders.
To that end, we have retained the services of Resource Group 175 (RG175), a well-respected education consulting firm, to launch an international search and oversee a year-long effort to identify our next Head of School. We have also appointed a Head of School Search Committee composed of board trustees who will work closely with the entire school community during this process. We are committed to finding a leader who can build on the momentum that Dr. Eletreby has created and take our school to new heights.
We are fortunate that the timing of Dr. Eletreby’s retirement announcement will enable us to begin the search process thoughtfully and deliberately. We look forward to sharing regular updates with you throughout this process.
New Horizon is an exceptional community, made up of outstanding faculty and staff, and a supportive parent body. We want to reassure our community that the important work of our school will continue without interruption. Please join us in celebrating Dr. Eletreby’s unwavering commitment and decades of service. Her leadership and contributions have left a lasting impact that will continue to inspire and benefit generations of students to come.
The Board of Trustees and Dr. Eletreby deeply appreciate your vital role in this process. Your unwavering partnership and commitment to our school make it possible to look forward to New Horizon’s future with enthusiasm and confidence. Together, we will ensure that our school continues to thrive and provide an exceptional education that is rooted in Islamic values for our beloved students.
Dina Seif, MD
Chair, Board of Trustees
Assalamu Alaykum Dear New Horizon School Community,
Following Head of School Dr. Dina Eletreby’s announcement to retire after the 2023-24 school year, I am writing to assure our community that the Board is taking the task of finding the next Head of School very seriously. After interviewing several search firms that specialize in head of school searches, we are pleased to share that our search partner is Resource Group 175 (RG175), a nationally recognized search firm. More importantly, the individual who will be overseeing the search process and advising the Search Committee is Doreen Oleson from RG175, a proven leader in Head of School searches. Doreen, who spent 25 years as the Head of Saint Mark’s School, an Episcopal day school in Southern California and has served as president of the governing board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, is very familiar with New Horizon and Dina’s 20-year tenure as Head of a CAIS School.
We are also pleased to announce that Caitlyn Hobbs, Trustee and Alumni parent, will Chair the Head of School Search Committee. The Search Committee brings diverse experience, varied skills, and broad community representation to the process, assuring we find the right candidate for New Horizon School, Irvine. We will strive to run a process that provides many opportunities for many viewpoints to be heard.
Joining Caitlyn on the Search Committee are the following:
The search committee will review candidate resumes, interview promising candidates, speak to references, select finalists, and recommend the next Head of School for the Board to hire. As a reminder, the search committee’s job is to make the final recommendation to the board. The final decision and responsibility to appoint the next Head of School rests solely with the Board of Trustees.
The search process will also include opportunities for the community to have a voice. Doreen will be at New Horizon School, Irvine on May 31st and June 1st, 2023, to gather input from all constituents about the school and the characteristics the community hopes to find in the next Head of School. Community members will be interviewed and surveyed, and from these discussions with our entire community, she will develop a job description to be circulated nationally. Later, community members will have the opportunity to meet with the finalists when they come to campus and provide feedback on the finalists to the search committee. The Board expects the Head of School search process to take several months and to conclude by Winter 2023 with the announcement of the next Head of School, who will begin effective July 1, 2024.
Search consultant surveys and interviews school community with a two-day site visit; Write, edit, secure approval, publication, and circulation of Job Description and Posting;
Candidate recruitment begins with preliminary interviews of prospects by Search Consultant; Initial review of candidate dossiers by New Horizon School’s Search Committee; Semifinalists selected
Interviews of Semifinalists, followed by Finalist visits
Announce Head of School selection
July 1, 2024
Head of School assumes responsibility
The search committee plans to update community members throughout the process via email, and there will be information, updates, and frequently asked questions about the Head of School Search on the New Horizon School, Irvine website.
We are also thankful for our entire administration, faculty, and staff for continuing to positively and meaningfully impact the school and school community. New Horizon School, Irvine looks forward to finding its next Head of School to build upon the decades of leadership by Dr. Dina Eletreby. Thank you to the Head of School Search Committee for taking on this significant responsibility.
Dr. Dina Seif
Chair, Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees has engaged Resource Group 175 (RG175), a consulting firm that specializes in independent school transitions, to lead the community through a comprehensive and inclusive search process. RG175 will be represented by Doreen Oleson, Ed.D. and, as an initial step, will be on campus to interview community members and to learn as much as possible about what makes New Horizon School, Irvine special. In addition, she and her colleagues at RG175 will work to attract a great candidate pool for our search.
Doreen is a Senior Search Consultant and has been with RG175 since she retired after twenty-five years in 2015 as Head of School from Saint Mark’s School, an Episcopal Parish Day School in Altadena, CA. Prior to her appointment in 1990 as Head, she was Assistant Vice-President at Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA and prior to her university work, she taught in the public schools in Hawaii and California. She also served as the president of the governing board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES), was trustee of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), was president of the California Association of Independent Schools’ board of directors (CAIS), served on the National Commission on Accreditation, and chaired the Commission on Schools for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
She now resides in Las Vegas, NV with her husband, Don Oleson, a retired missile defense engineer, and is “Mom” to two boys and two girls (all grown up now) and is “Granny” to seven grandchildren, ages 6 through 25.
Dr. Oleson is currently the CAIS representative to the Accrediting Commission for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. She also mentors aspiring school leaders and new heads of schools and belongs to organizations and boards which support education and community service learning.
In addition, if you have any questions or comments, please contact her at 626-676-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Dina Eletreby will complete twenty-two years of service to New Horizon School, Irvine at the end of the 2023–2024 school year. New Horizon is in the best position in its history with a growing enrollment, financial stability, and a dedicated administration, faculty, and staff. New Horizon is in a prime position to recruit its next Head of School and for that individual to build upon Dina’s success as New Horizon enters its next strategic phase. We are thankful for Dina’s leadership excellence and considerable contributions to establishing New Horizon as the premier independent Islamic school serving PS-8th grade.
One of the Board’s most important responsibilities is to hire, support, and evaluate the performance of the Head of School. The Search Committee will present the finalists and their recommendations to the Board of Trustees to make the final decision regarding the next Head of School.
The search committee will work closely with Doreen Oleson from RG175 to review candidate resumes, interview promising candidates, speak to references, select finalists, and recommend the next Head of School for the Board to hire.
The Head of School, in partnership with the Board of Trustees, upholds the mission of the school and sets the school’s long-term strategic plan. The Head is the Chief Executive Officer of the school and is responsible for hiring, supervising, evaluating, and dismissing all administrators, faculty, and staff members. Further, the Head of School manages the academic program, curriculum, admissions and enrollment, employees, facilities, financial health, fundraising, community relations, and the day-to-day operations of New Horizon School, Irvine. They also foster professionalism, collegiality, and ethical conduct among all constituents.
May/June 2023 — Consultant conducts interviews and surveys community members
June–October 2023 — Candidate recruitment begins, and the Head of School Search Committee conducts interviews
October–December 2023 — Finalists interviews and campus visits
January 2024 — Announce Head of School selection
July 1, 2024 — New Head of School assumes responsibility
Dr. Dina Eletreby will continue in her current role as Head of School throughout the 2023–2024 school year. The Board and community will have opportunities to celebrate the success of New Horizon School, Irvine under her leadership and recognize her significant and lasting contributions to the school community. Dr. Eletreby will continue to be a lifetime supporter of New Horizon and, even in retirement, will be available to the new incoming Head to provide support as needed for a smooth transition.
The school community will be kept informed throughout the process. The Search Committee will send out periodic emails, as well as include updates on the New Horizon School, Irvine website. Doreen Oleson will be visiting New Horizon School, Irvine on May 31st and June 1st, 2023, to gather input from all constituents about the school and the characteristics the community hopes to find in the next Head of School.
Please reach out to our consultant from RG175, Doreen Oleson.