About half of Skip Kotkins’ work at CS&A is leading senior executive searches; the other half consists of governance consulting, which includes designing and leading board retreats, helping schools create their strategic plans, board training, and special governance projects. The two halves of his work improve each other, as Skip likes to say that he works at the intersection of leadership and strategy.
Skip has led countless searches and worked with schools in more than two dozen states and internationally in places as diverse as Vietnam, Jordan, Korea, Mexico City, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, and more. He is pleased to say that he has done work with the largest (two searches for Punahou School, HI) and some of the smallest schools in the country, as well as Montessori and Waldorf, coeducational and single gender, boarding and day schools, schools serving gifted learners, and schools serving a neurodiverse population. While Skip has worked with Catholic, Episcopal, and other religious schools, he has a particular expertise working with Jewish day schools. Representative recent projects include the President search for a large Catholic boy's school in the south; a large modern Orthodox Jewish School in the Southeast; the head of a day/boarding school in Hawaii; a gifted school in the midwest; and two pluralistic Jewish day schools in Arizona, and Montessori schools in Minnesota, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii. Representative consulting projects include: work over two years that led to the successful unification of governance for The St. Paul’s Schools (MD); strategic plans for both Buckley School (NY) and St. Bernard’s School (NY); four projects including the strategic plan for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the largest accrediting organization in our industry; and strategic plans for two different Catholic schools in Louisville, KY.
Prior to coming to CS&A, Skip spent a career leading a consumer products company and serving on corporate boards. He was both an Economic Advisor and a Branch Board director in the Federal Reserve System, and he advised the U.S. Government on international trade for 17 years. He considers himself a “non-profit board junkie” having served on dozens of them, and chaired eight, including rare extended terms as a board member and officer of both NWAIS and NAIS. He helped write NAIS’ “Principles of Good Practice” and has been a contributor to NAIS’ “Trustee Handbook” and its “Head Search Handbook.” His business background helps him identify with school board members and vice versa and he often helps schools refine their mission statements and how they market themselves (a topic where he presented to a packed audience at a recent NAIS Annual Conference). On that note, Skip has presented on a variety of topics at both NAIS and regional conferences, and written articles for NAIS’ Independent School Magazine. He is also very proud that he was the Chair of the 105-member Seattle Chamber of Commerce board when NAIS last held its Annual Conference in Seattle.
Education & Interests
Skip is a graduate (and former Board Chair) of Lakeside School (WA). He earned a bachelors degree from Williams College and he has an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is an avid snow skier and avid (but lousy) golfer. He was a crew coach for both Williams College and Wellesley College. He and his wife, Jackie, enjoy visiting their daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren in NYC, and they are thrilled that their son, daughter-in-law, grandson, and new granddaughter live nearby in Seattle.