Diana Nichols, chair of Harker’s Board of Trustees, announced Wednesday that Brian Yager was elected as the new head of the school, filling the vacancy of current head, Chris Nikoloff, who accepted a position as headmaster of The American School in Switzerland. Yager will start July 1.
Nikoloff has served as Harker’s head of school for 11 years, after six years as middle school head and assistant head. “I have been deeply honored to steward this truly one-of-a-kind institution at a critical time in its impressive history,” said Nikoloff. “While I know that this is the right move for my family at this time, and I am excited by the new challenges and opportunities ahead of me, I remain a steadfast champion of Harker’s mission.”
Of Nikoloff, Nichols stated, “He has been a well-respected leader and a personal friend, and he has worked hard to guide the school over the last 11 years. The school is flourishing, and we wish him the very best.”
Harker’s search for a new head began last year and, with the help of a national search firm, included surveys to parents and alumni, and on-campus interviews with all potential candidates. The board was pleased to find such a well-suited and highly qualified candidate in Yager, and unanimously elected him to the position of permanent head.
“We were very fortunate to find Mr. Yager,” Nichols said. “He has been in education for 26 years and he has experience working with students in pre-K though 12, thus bringing that full range of grade level experience to us.”
Nichols went on to note that Yager has held many educational positions, serving as a teacher, department chair and head of upper school. For more than 15 years, he worked in various capacities for the Cate School in Carpinteria, including director of residential life, annual fund director, lacrosse, water polo and soccer coach, and founder of the summer program. For the last seven years, he has been the head of school at the Keystone School in San Antonio, Texas, a well-respected school of about 500 students. “His educational vision aligns with Harker’s, and he has a personality that will fit in very well with our community,” she added.
Yager and his wife, Megan, have three children, one of whom will be joining Harker next year as a sophomore.
Yager has a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, with emphases in administration and planning, and technology in education. He was a Klingenstein Summer Fellow (https://www.profellow.com/fellowship/klingenstein-summer-institute/) at Columbia University and graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in quantitative economics and a B.S. with honors and distinction in applied earth sciences.
“We believe the entire community will be impressed with Mr. Yager, and delighted at what he will bring to the Harker community,” Nichols added.