Prairie Announces New Head of School

Dear Prairie School Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Search Committee, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Nathaniel W. Coffman as our next Head of School, effectiveJuly 1, 2014.  Nat comes to us from York Country Day School, in York Pennsylvania where he has been Head of School since 2007.  Prior to York Country Day he worked at the Bishop School in La Jolla, California and The Latin School of Chicago.

This appointment is the culmination of an extensive and thorough search, reviewing many candidates from schools throughout the U.S. and abroad.  We are gratified that we were able to attract such a high caliber group of individuals, which is a reflection of both the stature and reputation of The Prairie School among the independent school community nationwide. The Search Committee reached a unanimous decision to appoint Nat after completing its due diligence in considering several highly qualified candidates, citing his vision, passion, experience, fresh thinking and inspirational leadership style.  Importantly, input from the faculty, administration and students who were actively involved in the process was an important part of the final choice.

Nat brings an impressive level of educational leadership to The Prairie School. He earned his doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Non-Profit Administration from Notre Dame, Magna Cum Laude, and his Bachelor of Arts at Claremont McKenna College.  He is a Midwesterner at heart having spent his primary school years at the Latin School of Chicago and is excited to be closer to his family who live on the north side of Chicago.

His successes at York include significantly increasing enrollment and fundraising, refining the school’s mission statement and developing a comprehensive strategic plan.  He led a successful re-accreditation, implemented new faculty evaluation and professional development programs and led a pre and lower school critical thinking initiative.  Nat introduced a number of new programs into the curriculum including engineering, humanities, service days, learning symposiums and multi-age projects to name a few.

In considering the opportunity to become Prairie’s Head of School Nat said: “I share your commitment to academic excellence and the whole child. As the new Head of School I would work hard to ensure that the faculty and staff have the resources, time and passion to engage and inspire every student. Together we can help all our students develop their best selves and contribute to both the school community and our world. The Prairie School has a long history of success and it would be an honor to build on that legacy as the next Head of School.”  

We are also pleased to welcome his wife Laura, and their two children, Matthew currently a freshman and Claire, currently seventh grader to the Prairie family.


Imogene P. Johnson, Chair, Board of Trustees