Deerfield Associates

Executive Search, Inc.

Our endorsements

“When The Browning School sought assistance in its search for a new Chief Advancement Officer, my colleagues at other independent schools enthusiastically recommended Doug Cooney and Deerfield Associates. It did not take me long to recognize the reasons for such endorsements, as Doug and his team immediately distinguished themselves with their commitment to learning our school’s culture and specific needs, building a pool of talented and mission-appropriate candidates, and communicating regularly about the contours and cadences of the search. Doug understands the many different needs that vie for space in independent school advancement offices, and demonstrated real skill and imagination in presenting candidates whose talents and interests would align with the particular opportunities at our school. He also expressed a level of interpersonal care and concern that humanizes the search process for all involved, which is so important for institutions founded on relationships. I was delighted to work with and learn from Doug, and would recommend him and Deerfield Associates without reservation.”

John M. Botti
Head of School
The Browning School
New York, New YorkRead the full endorsement

“June 2019

I would like to thank Deerfield Associates, in particular Mr. Doug Cooney for being a friend and advisor of sorts to me in my professional development. I was very fortunate to have met Doug a handful of years ago through a mutual friend.

From our first conversation, which I believe was one of introduction of how I might be able to introduce Doug to other relationship builders/fundraisers turned to a mutually beneficial relationship in which he has helped me grow in my career through providing advice and wisdom. Thanks to Doug for staying in touch over the years and truly getting to know me not just as a professional, but a person.

Doug and his team were able to provide me and my family with a life-long career opportunity. To return to a secondary school institution, The Taft School, with a mission and core values I espouse to develop the “whole student” by being guided by honesty, respect & kindness, high achievement and serving others. This opportunity came about solely from Doug knowing who I am as a person and professional, and at the same time understanding Taft’s needs within its Alumni & Development Office and fuller community.

In the advancement profession I’ve met many of Doug’s colleagues within the executive search industry. Doug is someone who truly wants to make the “right fit” for his clients (school and candidate). Doug’s ability to be successful, I believe, comes from his passion and love of making great educational institutions even greater. Doug is a sincere and honest person who wants to do the right thing. Deerfield Associates thank you for assisting me, as well as many others across the United States and world in discovering our professional home.”

Lawrence Crimmins
Director of Development
The Taft School
Read the full endorsement

There are recruiters and then there are recruiters. I’ve been fortunate to work with several excellent firms however Doug Cooney and Deerfield Associates stand above and beyond the others. Doug and his team (Greg Ladd) met with me to discuss opportunities, briefed me with the goal of finding the right fit for their clients and for me. They are the only recruiters who mailed me brochures and other information on the institution so that interviews could be more focused. As a result, I was prepared for my interviews. Doug and Deerfield are a win win on matching the right person with the right institution. Their highly personalized and knowledgeable approach shows that they are dedicated to finding the best candidate for the hiring institution and the right fit for the candidate of choice.

Laura Heffron
Senior Director of Advancement
The Elisabeth Morrow SchoolRead the full endorsement

August 2019

I first met Doug Cooney 15 years ago, (when I was working at Deerfield Academy), at a coffee shop on Main Street in Northampton (Doug’s hometown).

Doug reached out to me back then and said that he would like to meet to get to know each other in general interest. When I shared that I was not looking for a new job, Doug replied “You are exactly the kind of professional who I like to meet – well in advance of a possible job/career move”.

Since then, working with Doug has been a seamless experience (twice!). Thanks to his commitment to the schools/higher education he represents in each search, paired with his tireless commitment to finding the right fit for candidates, I have had two ‘dream-come-true’ job opportunities realized. In 2004 Doug recruited and placed me in the advancement office at Milton Academy, and in 2019 in the advancement office at Bowdoin College.

Doug and Deerfield Associates are professional, thorough, work with deep integrity, and dedicated to success on all sides. Add to that a terrific sense humor as needed, and you have is your go-to search team. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Doug, continue to be impressed by his Deerfield Associates team, and I highly recommend their work.

All the best,

Kimberly F. Kubik
Leadership Gifts Officer
Bowdoin CollegeRead the full endorsement

“Working with Doug Cooney and his team from Deerfield Associates has been an amazing experience. Doug is an experienced professional who truly understands the executive search world, as well as being very well versed in all things related to higher education (advancement, enrollment, and finance). I have worked with search firms before. However, Deerfield Associates truly goes above and beyond. They do more than just get to know their applicants, they truly care about putting the right people in the right environment so that both parties thrive. Doug and his team are very responsive, often working early in the morning or well into the evening – the level of dedication that the team has to their craft is inspiring. Working with Doug and the team at Deerfield Associates was a rewarding experience, and deep down, they turn a stressful process into an enjoyable experience.

Doug: thank you again for your confidence in me – I hope our paths continue to cross, and please if you ever need a reference for an enrollment job, or something that I may be able to help with please contact me.

All the best!”

Corry Unis
Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management
Fairfield University
Fairfield, ConnecticutRead the full endorsement

“Working with Deerfield Associates, as a new Head of School, on finding a new Head of Advancement was a fantastic experience. Doug guided me personally on finding the perfect fit for our school in this vitally important role. Your relentless dedication to turning every stone and digging deep into every conversation was the secret to the success we were able to achieve with this search. I am still filled with excitement about Ann joining our team, as is everyone at Emma! I am incredibly grateful to Doug for the endless hours, e-mails and calls that we had to get to this point. It was all worth it! I really believe we have found an exceptional Advancement leader and perfect fit in Ann – truly could not be happier. THANK YOU!”

Jenny Rao
Head of School
Emma Willard School
Troy, New YorkRead the full endorsement


Fifteen years and seven successful searches later…. I suppose that alone speaks to our confidence in your work, your professionalism, and the value you bring to the search process. The superior quality and level of those we have hired (Controller, Assoc. Dir of Leadership Gifts, Director of Annual Giving, Assoc. VP for Development, etc.) as a result of your efforts has truly been “priceless.” Personally, it is always a pleasure! Thanks to you and your team for this latest round of exceptional talent!

With best regards,”

Tamara D. Spoerri
Vice President for Human Resources
Bowdoin College
Brunswick, MaineRead the full endorsement

“Dear Doug,

As I get ready to officially begin my tenure as Director of Development at Westover, I wanted to take a moment to thank you both again for your thoughtful communications, insightful guidance, and wonderful sense of humor throughout the search process.

Working with Deerfield Associates has been a highly rewarding professional experience. I have very much appreciated your deep understanding of independent schools, your commitment to your clients, the thorough approach to the search process and above all, your passion and sincerity! I appreciate too that you Doug took the time to meet with me twice in-person during the search process.

It has been a pleasure getting to know you and I look forward to staying in touch!”

Edlira Curis
Director of Development
Westover School
Middlebury, CTRead the full endorsement

“Thank you, Doug!

I couldn’t have asked for a more smoothly-run, professional process. And to think that three months ago Mount Holyoke College wasn’t even on my radar!!

Now I’m looking forward to it avidly. Thank you for all that you and your search firm have done to encourage me to explore this wonderful opportunity!”

Fred Baumgarten
Director of Foundation Relations and Sponsored Research
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MassachusettsRead the full endorsement

“We reached out to Deerfield Associates because we were told by another search firm: “We are happy to do your search, but if you want the best in the business, why don’t you call Doug Cooney?” We took that consultant’s advice and went with Deerfield Associates for two searches; our Executive Director of Advancement search and our Annual Fund Director search. I could not have been more pleased with the way the searches were handled. First, the proactive way Doug and his colleagues proactively reached out to a national cross section of candidates was most impressive. Second, they prioritized getting the right match; and finally the recommendations and reference checks were spot on and very helpful. All of you (Greg included) did a superb job working with us and making two great hires possible. In particular, your follow up, attention to detail, and communication was truly exemplary. They were an outstanding team and a pleasure to work with.”

Phil Peck
Head of School
Holderness School
Plymouth, NHRead the full endorsement

“Nightingale has enlisted Doug Cooney and Deerfield Associates for both our CFO and Director of Institutional Advancement search. In both cases Doug presented a deep pool and he thought long and hard about which candidates would serve our school’s particular need at a given moment. If there is a rock to be turned he will find it. He also supported our school by keeping us on track in our search. A Head of School is pulled in many directions at any one given time. Doug understands this as well as any consultant I know. He is tireless in his efforts and is immensely respectful of the candidates he recruits, and the school that he supports. I was proud to have him representing Nightingale.”

Paul A. Burke
Head of School
The Nightingale-Bamford School
20 E. 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128Read the full endorsement

“Deerfield Associates, Doug Cooney, their team, did a thorough job of getting to know Vermont Academy. Doug arrived on campus and found ways to get a cross-section of VA life, speaking with administrators, students, and faculty. The pool of candidates we received from Deerfield Associates had variety and was very strong. Their work interviewing the candidates and some of their references enabled us to have a comprehensive e-file before we even started interviewing ourselves. The timeline and process that we worked with were supported by and, in many ways, defined by Deerfield Associates as they helped us along to keep momentum. I would give Deerfield Associates my highest recommendation for their expertise, organization, and leadership of hiring processes for administrators.”

Dr. Jennifer L. Zaccara
Head of Vermont AcademyRead the full endorsement


I hope the start of the academic year is going well for you.

I wanted to thank you once again for your professionalism, time, effort, interest and support over the past few years. As always, I valued your help in getting Meredith VanDuyne (Director of Advancement) from Minnesota to us here at Flint Hill School in Virginia a year ago.

We also deeply appreciated your willingness to brainstorm with Anne Peterson (CFO), Meredith and myself as we thought through the creation of a new role here at Flint Hill this time for a Director of Signature Programs. I thought that it was once again a thorough and strategic search knowing full well that the title and aspects of the position seemed out of the ordinary. You were always there as a partner and a valuable member of our ‘leadership team’.

And then, your ability to step in and help make a difference in helping us find and recruit Leslie Hutchins to come to as the Director of Development was equally impressive. Again, it gave proof of the incredible job that you and Deerfield Associates do every day.

Again, thank you for everything that you do. You provide far more than a search agency; you are supportive, caring, thoughtful, and a reflective educator in your own right. It comes through in the type of people you and your team talks to and engages with throughout this process. For that, we will be forever grateful.

If you ever have a client who is looking to talk to a reference, please don’t hesitate to send them our way! They would only hear wonderful compliments about you and your entire team.

Best wishes!”

John Thomas
Flint Hill School
Oakton, VARead the full endorsement

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Deerfield Associates. As a candidate, you understand that the client is the school, but it’s so refreshing to work with a firm who takes the time to learn about your needs and interests in a way that supports a great outcome for both the school and candidate. Throughout the process, Doug offered coaching – which was terrific since I’m not a candidate very often! His sense of humor, directness, caring, and industry knowledge made it a pleasure to work with him and his team. He was clearly deeply committed to his client. Because of the time Doug must have taken to really get to know the school I felt sure I understood the hopes and dreams of the school and its leadership – an ideal position to be in when starting a new job. As I make the move from Minnesota to Virginia I am very excited to have worked with Deerfield Associates on this great professional opportunity. If I’m in the position to hire a search firm, they would be at the top of my list.”

Meredith Cook VanDuyne
Director of Institutional Advancement
Flint Hill School
Oakton, VARead the full endorsement

“Working with Doug and Deerfield Associates was tremendously rewarding to find our new Chief Financial Officer, not just for the outcome but perhaps even more, for the process. To say that Doug is attentive to detail is an understatement and it gently pushes schools to do the same. Most important, he truly extends himself to the people involved in the search process and the benefits to the school as a result of his efforts are tangible. First, he gets to know the school inside out and as part of that, he gets to know all of the key stake holders. On the candidate side, the process can be unnerving and Doug kept them engaged throughout and feeling positively about us so that by the time we were ready to choose, we were fortunate to have a number of strong finalists. Our candidate of choice was in higher education in the mid-west, a truly national search. Now a few months out, we are thrilled with the partnership that has already emerged with the successful candidate and feel that Deerfield Associates is a resource to which we will return when the need arises.”

Molly King
Head of School
Greenwich Academy
Greenwich, ConnecticutRead the full endorsement

“Having interviewed a number of top national search firms, Milton Academy selected and hired Doug Cooney, Principal of Deerfield Associates to conduct a search for a new Chief Advancement Officer. Excellent references from prior clients, as well as Doug’s thoughtful and disciplined approach affected our choice. Doug’s firm prides itself on seeking out new talent, professionals who are not necessarily engaged in a job search. Deerfield Associates’ reputation is providing excellent candidates and conducting a professional and discrete recruitment process.

Doug and his team developed a deep pool of highly qualified and experienced advancement professionals in a timely manner. Doug was most accessible and brought a balanced approach to the search process. I relied on Doug and always felt at the helm of the search. We met and interviewed qualified candidates from around the country and from a variety of well-known institutions including colleges, universities and independent schools. Milton identified and hired the right candidate in Lisa Winick, an accomplished professional at an independent school outside New England. I later learned that for nearly a decade, Doug had known and cultivated Lisa Winick as a candidate.

Doug’s search firm reaches far and wide, and among educational institutions, it enjoys respect. Doug presented himself as a talent agent who seeks out the best candidates and the right fit for the school. I am happy with the outcome of our search and can enthusiastically recommend Deerfield Associates.”


Todd B. Bland
Head of School
Milton AcademyRead the full endorsement

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Lauren C. Fredette as King’s incoming Director of Development. As Director of Development, Lauren will lead our efforts connected to fundraising, alumni affairs, and many of our institutional events. I want to thank the many administrators, trustees, and parents who were involved in the interview process. I also want to thank Doug Cooney, of Deerfield Associates, whom we hired as a consultant to manage the search. Doug’s oversight of the process, insight into the search process, and access to candidates, were all outstanding.”

Thomas B. Main
Head of School
King School
Stamford, CTRead the full endorsement

“As both our new Chief Financial Officer/Dean of Business Affairs and our new Director of Advancement start on Monday I wanted to reach out to personally thank you for the commitment you have to Whitby throughout both processes. I appreciate the time you took to get to know our school and our needs and then how you guided us all through the recruitment process. We are delighted with our new hires and appreciative of all your expertise and insight.

Thanks again Doug,”

Bryan Nixon
Head of School
Whitby School
Greenwich, ConnecticutRead the full endorsement

“As a general rule of thumb, I don’t write testimonials for consultants, but with Deerfield Associates, I gladly make an exception to that rule. Over a period of years, Mercersburg Academy has secured the services of Doug Cooney and Deerfield Associates for three separate high level searches: Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations, Assistant Head of School for Advancement, and Assistant Head of School for Enrollment. In all three instances, I could not have been more satisfied with the approach taken toward these searches; the end results were excellent on all three fronts. The things that most distinguish the firm’s work, in my view, are the excellent stable of candidates presented, the personal attention provided both to the school and the candidates, as well as the thorough follow-up on both sides of the equation. I can recommend Deerfield Associates most enthusiastically.”

Doug Hale
Head of School
Mercersburg Academy
Mercersburg, PennsylvaniaRead the full endorsement

“We hired Deerfield Associates to conduct our CFO search and were very pleased throughout the search process as well as with the outcome. There was a real sense of partnership throughout. Doug Cooney was more than a search consultant; professional, and sensitive throughout, he served as a wise and respectful guide and coach in the process of narrowing down our search and refining our thinking about who would best succeed and grow in this position.”

Maureen Fonseca
Head of School
The Masters School
Dobbs Ferry, New YorkRead the full endorsement

“Having spent 12 years in this industry, following a 20+ year career in financial services, I have dealt with many search consultants and can unequivocally say the services you and your firm provide are the most professional and of the highest integrity that I have experienced during my career.”

Timothy R. Stanton
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Assumption College
Worcester, MassachusettsRead the full endorsement

“If you ever want to know how good Doug Cooney is at his job, just call me!! A true professional who really knows the business, Doug is organized and an effective communicator. He fully comprehends both the hiring client needs and that of the candidate. He lets you know where you stand and the next steps. He knows a “good fit” when he sees one.”

Wally Halas
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Fairfield University
Fairfield, ConnecticutRead the full endorsement

“It was a personal and professional pleasure to work with Deerfield Associates again. Throughout our search for a new Director of Advancement, Deerfield Associates was a standout for clarity of process, depth of candidate pool, and thoroughness of placement from start to finish. Of particular highlight was the extraordinary care taken in understanding both the significance of school culture and the match with the candidate pool. Both the candidates and the school were extremely well served by the thoughtfulness and skill of Deerfield Associates. We have retained Deerfield in the past for two other positions, Campaign Director in 2011 and Chief Financial Officer in 2008. They have my highest of recommendations.”

Bodie Brizendine
Head of School
The Spence School
New York, New YorkRead the full endorsement

“When the position of Vice President for Institutional Advancement became vacant, I knew that this search was going to be critical for the College. The College needed to fill the position with someone who would change the orientation of the division by placing more emphasis on fund raising. It was also crucial that the chemistry between myself and the new Vice President was compatible.

Deerfield Associates and Doug Cooney employed an unconventional approach to this search which was not what I had been accustomed to from other searches with which I had been involved. In building a pool of viable candidates, Doug Cooney identified various individuals with whom I would meet for breakfast to help him get a better sense of what I was looking for in the Vice President for Institutional Advancement. This was extremely beneficial since it helped me to prioritize the qualifications that I considered to be essential for the holder of this position. Through these conversations, Doug was able to bring to the search committee candidates with whom I had already met and that had my preliminary approval. This helped to advance the search in a timely fashion and gave me the opportunity to learn more about those candidates that I was most interested in pursuing. Working with me initially and then bringing the search committee into the process made it possible to advance as finalists only the candidates that were under serious consideration by me, ensuring a successful outcome.

Throughout the process Doug kept me informed of his conversations with the candidates, along with any issues or concerns that the candidates had expressed which would need to be addressed. Doug provided useful advice when it came time to negotiate with the candidate of choice and paved the way for me to make the offer.

I was completely pleased by Doug’s professionalism, his extensive network, and his diligence in identifying candidates. It was clear that he and his associates put in much time and effort in this search. What I particularly appreciated was the fact that he did not try to impose his views on the right type of candidate, but always took his direction from me and what I wanted in the person who I ultimately hired. He was very sensitive to the type of institution Assumption is, the challenges that the new Vice President would face, and our mission as a Catholic institution and the role that played in this search. I highly recommend Doug Cooney and Deerfield Associates not only because of the excellent hire that resulted from this search, but most especially because of the unique approach he and his firm employ which is very effective.”

Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D.
Assumption College
Worcester, MassachusettsRead the full endorsement

“I wanted to send a belated thank you for your gentle persistence and thoughtful encouragement regarding the Fessenden search. I would not have pursued it if Susan hadn’t continued to reach out to me and, looking back, I am very grateful that you didn’t take my no as a no. As they say in fundraising, No is never No, it’s just not now 🙂 It was certainly a whirlwind but as I think about the new opportunity, I am excited not only for me but for my family. I am very excited to succeed Elizabeth and build upon the well-run operation that she created. I also look forward to being a part of the senior administrative team and work closely with Dave. As a family, we are also thrilled to join the Fessy community overall. My husband is already asking if we can move on-campus, and my son left his admissions visit last week and went back to his current school and said, “I’m going to a new school next year and there’s no girls there.” So, now that I’ve had a moment to reflect, I just wanted to thank you both for what I think will be a great change and new beginning for the “other” Cooneys.”

Ki Cooney Perry
Director of Advancement
Fessenden School
Newton, MassachusettsRead the full endorsement

“Doug Cooney is a man of sharp insight and deep integrity. He sincerely cares about his clients and the candidates he presents. He conducts himself with complete professionalism. Having been an unconventional, career changer candidate, I was impressed with how well Doug could articulate and discern the personal qualities and attributes that would lead toward a successful career in education. I trust Doug, value his judgment, and highly recommend his services.”

William M. Clark
Managing Director, Leadership Giving
Dartmouth College
Hanover, New HampshireRead the full endorsement

“I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to you for your help and guidance throughout the recruitment and interview process here at Mercersburg Academy.  I feel honored to have been offered the position of Assistant Head of School for Enrollment here at the academy.  It is a great school with incredible programs, a strong sense of community and a spectacular campus. Thank you for your genuine interest in me as an admission professional and for your frequent follow-up during the interview process. Your input and counsel was of great value to me during my meeting with the Head of School, Doug Hale, in Philadelphia and my subsequent visits to Mercersburg’s campus. I look forward to staying touch and updating you on my progress here in the Admissions Office at the academy.”

Tommy Adams
Assistant Head of School for Enrollment
Mercersburg Academy
Mercersburg, PennsylvaniaRead the full endorsement

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