In response to Lancaster Mennonite School Superintendent J. Richard Thomas’ announcement that he will retire in December, 2016, the school’s Superintendent Search Committee spent the month of March garnering input from stakeholders and constituents, leading to the development of a position profile that defines what the school will be seeking in a new superintendent.

Throughout the month, the Search Committee conducted an online survey, group listening sessions and interviews. A survey emailed to 4,757 constituents yielded 404 completed surveys that provided clear direction for developing the position profile. The survey data was supplemented by nine separate listening sessions involving 52 faculty and staff members as well as individual face-to-face meetings at which the search committee heard from board members, school administrators and parent advisory councils (site councils) for each campus.

Although the school serves students from many faith backgrounds, the vast majority of respondents indicated that the new superintendent should demonstrate a clear commitment to Anabaptist Christian faith and practice. Incorporating this and other characteristics deemed important by the school community, the committee formulated a profile of the ideal candidate for presentation to the school board.

Once the final draft of the position profile is approved, the profile will be published and advertisements for the position will begin to appear. The committee, along with the school board, is currently updating a job description, an information sheet that describes the scope of the school system for potential applicants, a job application, a website page and a list of media in which the position will be advertised. Suggestions for candidates may be emailed to

Andrew Dula, chairperson of the superintendent search committee, expressed thanks to the school community for its involvement in the process thus far. “It was gratifying to hear from so many people who care deeply about the school and to feel a general consensus about the kind of person needed to lead LMS into its preferred future.”

The board and search committee request the continued prayers of the school community during this time of discernment and transition.

The search committee is composed of members of the Executive and Quarterly boards, representatives of area church conferences and representatives of various constituent groups that support the mission of Lancaster Mennonite School. The members are: Christine Baer ’10, alumna; Kathy Rutt Beiler ’85, Lancaster Campus Site Council and LMS Quarterly Board; Jon Carlson, Locust Grove Campus Site Council, parent of LM students, spouse of LM teacher; Dan Hess ’66, former LMS board member and parent of alumni; Chad Hurst ’91, LMS Executive Board member and parent of LM students; Cindy Mast, LMS Executive Board, spouse of an alumnus and parent of alumni; Elaine Moyer, Senior Director of Mennonite Education Agency and consultant; Nelson Okanya, LMS Quarterly Board and parent of LM students; and Alejandro Ulloa, LMS faculty. Diane Umble, Ph.D., chair of the LMS Executive Board, is an ex officio member.