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Letter from the President — Fall 2017

Letter from the President — Fall 2017

Dr. Dean P. Bell

News of an Upcoming Transition

I have long believed that the identification, training, and nurturing of the next generation of leaders is critical to an organization’s future. These responsibilities are not tangential; they are the very definition of what it means to lead effectively.

As a professor of leadership and the CEO of an organization with “leadership” in its very name, I have often spoken about the importance of succession planning. With this in mind, I am pleased to share some exciting news of an upcoming transition.

I recently announced to the Spertus Institute Board of Trustees and our staff that on June 30, 2018, ten months from now, I will step down as President and CEO of Spertus Institute. After what will then be a decade for me in this position, it is time for a new leader. I am not retiring, the Board of Trustees has asked that I continue my association in a new part-time role as Chancellor. In addition, I hope to devote myself to writing, research, teaching, and consulting. On July 1, 2018, my friend and colleague, Dr. Dean P. Bell, will become Spertus Institute’s ninth President and CEO.

Dr. Bell’s appointment was approved unanimously by our Board of Trustees, with whom I have been working over the last several years to identify and prepare a successor. This decision follows a thoughtful process that included a scan of the marketplace, consideration of a national search, and a series of in-depth discussions.

For many of you — who have worked with and learned from Dr. Bell over the years — I am sure this decision is both logical and exciting. Dean has worked with Spertus in varying capacities for 23 years. Since becoming Provost and Vice President three years ago, he has expanded his duties and increased his profile, working with Trustees and donors and increasing his supervisory responsibilities.

Dean has repeatedly proven himself to be a brilliant scholar and a talented executive — a rare combination that beautifully mirrors Spertus Institute’s commitment to learning and leadership.

Over the months ahead, Dean and I will continue to work together to effectuate a smooth transition. I am proud that Spertus Institute has taken the lead in modeling the very best principles of effective transitioning and succession planning. I know you join me in congratulating Dr. Bell on this wonderful opportunity.


Dr. Hal M. Lewis

Dr. Hal M. Lewis
President and CEO
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Read an OpEd by Dr. Lewis about the need for succession planning in Jewish organizations. Read >



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dr. Hal M. Lewis

Dr. Hal M. Lewis is Chancellor and Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Spertus Institute and principal consultant for Leadership For Impact LLC, a leadership consulting practice that serves the needs of nonprofit executives and their boards.

For ten years, he served as Spertus Institute's President and Chief Executive Officer of Spertus Institute. A recognized expert on leadership, he has published widely in the scholarly and popular press and is a member of the faculty of the Center For Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC. His books include Models and Meanings in the History of Jewish Leadership and From Sanctuary to Boardroom: A Jewish Approach to Leadership. You can follow his blog at Leadership for Impact >


"I am delighted that Dr. Dean Bell will be the next President and CEO of Spertus. As a Spertus veteran, he appreciates the evolution of our mission and recognizes the needs of our community. As an accomplished academic and creative thought leader, he has a vision for providing innovative, far-reaching Jewish learning and leadership training. The consensus around his selection models best practices in succession planning, important in a community that faces leadership transitions today and in the years to come."

— Peter B. Bensinger, Jr., Chairman of the Board, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership