Heilicher Announces Head of School

Dan Ahlstrom, Amos & Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School

The Board of Trustees of the Amos & Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School (Heilicher) is pleased to announce that Dr. Dan Ahlstrom has been hired as Head of School beginning July 1, 2022.

The Board’s unanimous decision to approve Dr. Ahlstrom’s hire was based on the strong recommendation of the Head of School Search Committee, co-chaired by Heilicher parents Michele Kaplan Clinard and Esther Goldberg-Davis. With the guidance of Independent Thinking consultant Jane Armstrong, the Search Committee vetted a number of applicants for the Head of School role, and Dr. Ahlstrom’s candidacy quickly rose to the top.

Dr. Ahlstrom comes to this role as a seasoned leader of independent schools, including Jewish day schools. He has served as a Head of School since 2014. His first appointment as a Head followed a four-year tenure as Assistant Head of School for Tucson Hebrew Academy, a K-8 community Jewish Day School in Tucson, AZ.

Dr. Ahlstrom then became Head of School for Beth Yeshurun Day School (BYDS), an infant-Grade 5, community Jewish Day School in Houston, TX. When Hurricane Harvey hit in August 2017, the BYDS campus was destroyed. Dr. Ahlstrom saw the school through a multi-million dollar campaign to rebuild the campus and established an endowment.

In 2020, Dr. Ahlstrom became Head of School for The Montessori School of San Antonio, TX, rebuilding the school’s enrollment and program following the spring shut down of on-campus learning due to COVID.

Dr. Ahlstrom began his professional life as a Kindergarten teacher at a public school in Sacramento, CA. He then joined the faculty at Sacramento Country Day School, an independent PK-12 school. During his time there, Dr. Ahlstrom served as the Director of Co-Curriculum, a Department Head, and a music teacher.

Dr. Ahlstrom received his undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Music, from Case Western Reserve University. He earned a Master of Arts in Music from the University of Utah, and a Doctor of Education in Leadership, Policy, and Administration from Pepperdine University.

Dr. Ahlstrom shared, “After I met with Board members, clergy, donors, and faculty, and then was interviewed by the students themselves, I knew Heilicher was the right fit. I am grateful for the opportunity to be Heilicher’s next Head of School and look forward to getting to know everyone very soon. When I read the ten core values, I knew Heilicher offered an educational experience that any parent would want for their child. The measure of a good school is that it educates. The measure of a great school is that it inspires. Heilicher has set a vision for its students that will inspire for a lifetime.”

Robyn Schein, Board President, added, “Dr. Ahlstrom has the support and confidence of the entire Board of Trustees. We are so pleased that he will be assuming this role and providing the leadership to build an even stronger, more vibrant school.”

Members of the Heilicher Head of School Search Committee included: Michele Kaplan Clinard, Co-Chair
Esther Goldberg-Davis, Co-Chair
Robyn Schein, President, Heilicher Board of Directors

Mark Appelbaum, Sarah Gollust, Rose Horovitz, Benjie Kaplan, Elena Levitt, Becka Steinberg, Michael Zis

The Board will recognize outgoing Acting Head of School, Maia Poling, at Heilicher’s Annual Meeting: Thursday, June 2, 6:30 p.m.

Published by Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools