Nick Egan of The Healdsburg School wins Nonprofit Leadership Award

Nick Egan, head of school, The Healdsburg School, Healdsburg


Nick Egan of The Healdsburg School has won one of North Bay Business Journal’s Nonprofit Leadership Awards.

Describe your organization:

The Healdsburg School is in its 11th year as a private independent school focused on inspiring compassionate leaders through academic excellence. The school engages its students in a rigorous, articulated and integrated academic curriculum that emphasizes language arts, writing, mathematics, social studies, science and technology, and the fine and performing arts. The school also focuses on social responsibility where students are actively engaged in group and individual service learning projects with local, national, and international impacts.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My career in independent schools has included time as a sixth-grade lead teacher, a history department chairman and administrative roles, providing me first-hand knowledge of the various interconnected layers of a school.

A dedicated educator, I recognize the vital importance of student growth, both academically as well as socially and emotionally. To this end, I have successfully helped design and implement in-depth social and emotional learning curriculum that integrates emotional awareness, healthy relationships and ethical decision-making. I am also the recipient of a lifetime Sara D. Barter Fellowship from Johns Hopkins University for my achievement in working with academically talented students.

Additionally, I have created and taught an innovative world religions program emphasizing critical thinking through studying foundational beliefs and practices of the world’s major religious traditions. My doctoral work in Asian studies, as well as my experience leading cultural and educational tours for children and adults to destinations including Bhutan, Mongolia and Nepal.

What is your role in the organization?:

As head of school, I am responsible for all staff and faculty oversight, fundraising, marketing and enrollment, and guiding the vision of the school.

What achievement are you most proud of?:

I am most proud of growing our enrollment from 160 students to close to 200 while increasing our reputation for academic excellence and social and emotional learning.

What is your biggest challenge today?:

Ensuring that our students are fully prepared for the future by giving them the critical-thinking skills necessary to solve as yet unidentified problems.

What is the next major project either underway or on the horizon?:

I am currently working on procuring a new campus for the Healdsburg School. A site that will be easily accessible to our community, but that has rich green space.

What product or service helps you do your job more effectively?:

Tea. Without caffeine, I think I would be about half as effective!

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?:

I believe that more and more educational institutions will rely on well-thought-out distributive leadership models in order to more fully empower teachers, students and parents.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Elon Musk

Current reading: “A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages and Why It’s Everyone’s Business” by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden.

Most want to meet: Seth Godin

Stress-relievers: Meditation, working out, reading, talking with my wife and scotch.

Favorite hobbies: Hiking, travel and martial arts.

Social media you most use: Linkedin

Buzzwords from your industry you hate the most: “Design thinking.” Because, honestly, that’s just “thinking.”

Typical day at the office: Emails with faculty and parents, student interactions and face-to-face meetings.

Best place to work outside of the office: The campus garden.

Words that best describe you: Calm, driven and bold.