Sanders appointed Head of Admission and Enrollment

Sanders+is+currently+Director+of+Admission+and+Financial+Assistance+at+Francis+Parker+School+in+San+Diego.+

Printed with permission of Chris Sanders

Sanders is currently Director of Admission and Financial Assistance at Francis Parker School in San Diego.

Davis Marks and Chloe Park

Chris Sanders will take over as Head of Admission and Enrollment beginning in July, according to President Rick Commons. Sanders, who is currently the Director of Admission and Financial Assistance at Francis Parker School in San Diego, will replace Interim Head of Admission and Enrollment Greg Gonzalez. Gonzalez is temporarily filling the role after former Head of Admission and Enrollment Aaron Mieszczanski left the school to join executive search firm Spencer Stuart.

Commons said Sanders made a positive impression on the faculty he met with, displaying both professionalism and a friendly personality.

“In [Sanders’s] conversations with the Admission Team, the Leadership Team and many others, he struck all of us as having both the professional skills and personal qualities necessary for success in this important leadership role,” Commons said. “I think prospective families meeting Mr. Sanders will have the feeling right away that this is a place of excellence, opportunity and belonging. I know Mr. Sanders looks forward to spending time not only with prospective students, but current students as well.” 

Sanders earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his master’s degree from the Wake Forest University School of Business. Prior to entering independent school admission, Chris served as Director of Leadership Opportunities for a non-profit college access program for low-income and first-generation students.

Sanders said he feels honored to join the community and looks forward to admitting the next generation of students. 

“It’s an honor to be welcomed into a community that cherishes excellence and provides a transformational educational experience for all students,” Sanders said. “I am fortunate to join a school that promotes students’ academic and social development, while simultaneously emphasizing one’s responsibility to care for and support others. Harvard-Westlake has a strong foundation, and I look forward to enrolling curious and kind students that bring a diversity of talents and lived experiences.” 

With the appointment of Sanders as Head of Admission and Enrollment, Gonzalez will return to his former role of Director of Financial Aid and History Teacher. Gonzalez said Sanders’ experience at Francis Parker demonstrated his the ability to connect to a school community. 

“At Francis Parker in San Diego, he demonstrated his ability to understand an entire school and build relationships with teachers, students, staff, administration and just to have a very good grasp of connecting to different constituencies. I’ve learned this year more than any other year that the director of admission really needs to be able to connect to the entire school. And I think that’s the kind of thing that we saw he experienced at Francis Parker, which we think will translate very well here.”

The school advertised the position broadly and received applications from across the country, according to Commons. Commons said Sanders stood out among the candidates after he made a compelling presentation demonstrating his skill and preparation.  

“We chose about a dozen candidates to interview by Zoom in November and then invited four finalists to come to HW in December for an all-day interview and visit,” Commons said. “As part of the finalist visit, each candidate made a presentation about the school as if they were presenting to a group of prospective parents. Mr. Sanders somehow made us feel that he was already ingrained in our community, demonstrating impressive preparation, remarkable skill as a presenter and compelling personal authenticity.”

Gonzalez said he looks forward to seeing what Sanders brings to the school community. 

“[The current admission office] was very impressed, not just by his background but by his vision to improve the school,” Gonzalez said. “We felt that in every way, he presents well on paper but also in person he is very dynamic. He’s very passionate and open minded, and we are excited about the gifts that he can bring to Harvard Westlake.”