Suitor's departure from the school became effective on June 30, according to a press release, and was "the result of a mutual agreement based on professional, personal and institutional goals."
"It was a mutual decision. Both the board of trustees and I decided it was a good point in the school's history for me to step away," said Suitor in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "I was there for five years and we got a lot of things done in five years. We've done a good job of increasing the school's exposure in the community, but now is the time for new leadership to come in and bring the school forward to its next step."
Suitor said he arrived at the decision after evaluating both himself and the school.
"For me it was more of where we've come over the past five years and what the next stages of the school's development was going to be," said Suitor.
Steven Dear, who had been serving as the chairman of the school's board of trustees for the past two years, will take over as an interim headmaster for a one year period, while a search process is mounted to recruit a new permanent head of school. Gerrit Kouwenhoven, who had already been a member of the board of trustees, will take over as the new board chairman.
Kouwenhoven said that Suitor's resignation came
"We understood when the resignation came [in]," said Kouwenhoven. "We were aware that there were concerns he was wrestling with and his decision to submit his resignation, though it was a surprise, we were not unmindful of the challenges he saw laid before him."
Suitor's tenure began in 2007 following the retirement of David Wilson, who co-founded the school with his wife Rene in 1975 and also served as its headmaster. Under Suitor's leadership, Long Trail School became Vermont's first International Baccalaureate World School. During his tenure, the population of the school's international students increased and LTS also began the process of establishing a sister school in China. Suitor also created closer relationships between the school and the community and worked effectively with the Vermont Independent School Association in various educational policy discussions, according to the release.
Suitor and his family moved into a home near - and purchased by - the school in April. He has until August to vacate the premises, according to Kouwenhoven.
With Dear now taking over the reins as the new headmaster, he indicated that he has a couple of immediate goals.
"My focus is going to be here internally working with the school," said Dear. "My plans are first going to [be to] meet with all of the employees to get to know their goals. My plan is also to meet with the parents ... and better understand the things that they would like to see."
With Long Trail graduating the largest class in its 37-year history this past year, Dear said there will be new students coming in and he wanted to take the time to get to know them and their families.
According to the board's statement, Dear was asked by the board to serve as the interim headmaster because of his management and leaderships skills.
Dear has agreed to serve as the interim headmaster for the next year. The search process for a new head of school will begin in the near future, according to the release.
Although he said he would consider serving in the position longer if asked by the board, Dear said that he also has a business - Global Leadership Consulting, which he began in 2004 - which has currently has been put on hold to allow him to serve as the interim headmaster.