Dear Augusta Prep Community,
Augusta Prep certainly has flourished over the past four (4) years due to the hard work of our talented faculty, staff, students, parents, and our Head of School, Derrick Willard, who recently announced he would be leaving at the end of the school year to assume the role of Head of School at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC. While we hate to see Derrick leave, we are very thankful for his hard work and dedication to the school these past 4+ years, and for the fact that he is leaving Augusta Prep in great shape as we begin the search for the next Head of School.
Poised for Great Things!
I have been affiliated with Augusta Prep in some form or fashion (student, parent, alum, or board member) for over 40 years, and I have never seen the school in a better position than it is today. Consider this: Prep has enjoyed four years of increasing enrollment, we are in sound financial condition, our faculty is very strong and experienced, the recent ten-million-dollar capital campaign is nearing completion, our local and national school rankings are impressive, and we are fixing to open a new state of the art science facility that will set a new standard for STEM education in this area and beyond! Suffice it to say that Augusta Prep is in outstanding shape and well-positioned to secure a new leader who can build on this positive momentum.
Finding the Next Head of School
Fortunately, our Board of Trustees had a Succession Plan policy in place specifically for this event and began executing on that policy immediately upon learning that Derrick would be leaving at the end of the 2023-24 school year. Now, I am excited to share with you the progress made thus far in our search process.
Head of School Search Page
We have established this Head of School Search Page to provide information and updates concerning the search process. As you can see, it includes a “Contact” button so you can submit questions or information you think would be helpful to the search committee and consultants, including the names of any potential candidates that come to your attention. Please feel free to share with us your thoughts and ideas and visit this page often for future updates on our progress. Note: all information received regarding potential candidates will be kept confidential.
We have established a Search Committee that is already hard at work. This group will coordinate with our consultants in reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, and narrowing the list of candidates to a group of finalists for the Board to consider. It is comprised of current and former Board members and two parent representatives, including:
Co-Chair Thomas Burnside ‘84 (P ‘11, ‘13, ’16, Board Chair)
Co-Chair Christina Layman Holmes ‘98 (P ’27, ‘29, ’32, Board Vice Chair)
Sam G. Nicholson ‘02 (Previous Board Chair and Search Co-Chair)
Francois Leger (P ‘30, ’33)
Scott Monnig (P ‘19, ‘22, ‘22, ’24, Board Secretary)
Mukti Patel (P ‘23, ‘25, ’28, Board Member)
Jim Trotter ‘93 (P ‘24, ’25)
Robert Alan Wilson (P ‘30, ’32, Board Member)
Search and Recruiting Firm
We have engaged the executive search and recruiting firm of Carter Baldwin to lead our search. They have assigned a partner, Jack Hall, to spearhead the effort. Information about Carter Baldwin and links to their website and Jack Hall’s bio is contained on this Head of School Search webpage. For those not familiar with Jack Hall, he previously served as Head of School at Prep in the early 2000s and maintains deep-rooted ties to our community. I am confident that no consultant loves this school more or knows it better than Jack Hall, and we are delighted to have a person with his skill and expertise leading our search.
Search Process and Timeline
Carter Baldwin is in the process of publishing a community survey to gather information from you about what you would like to see in our next Head of School. They also have plans to spend time on campus talking with groups of parents, faculty, students, and alumni. Information gathered during these sessions will be instrumental in developing a list of key attributes that you would like to see in our next Head of School.
Once the listening session and site audit are completed, they will put together a position profile and begin engaging and recruiting potential candidates. A proposed timeline of the search process has been prepared to guide our work and is available on this page.
In order to be successful, the search for the next Head of School will require a team effort and meaningful input from many constituents and stakeholders. On behalf of the Board, the Search Committee, and myself, thank you in advance for your willingness to partner with us in this process. This is a critical decision in the life of Augusta Prep, and I am confident that together we can find the right person to lead the school forward.
On behalf of myself and the entire Board of Trustees, I also want to thank all the current (and former) students, faculty, and staff who have worked so hard to make Augusta Prep the school it is today. The success that we currently enjoy at Prep is a direct result of your dedication and effort each day and it is greatly appreciated.
And, finally, I want to express my gratitude to Derrick Willard for his tremendous leadership over the past 4+ years, and for making sure that when he leaves Augusta Prep in June 2024, he will leave it far better than when he found it. I encourage you to read his heartfelt message to the community that is contained on this webpage and to thank him for his dedication and service when you get the opportunity. In the meantime, Derrick remains hard at work, and I know that you will join me in supporting him and making sure he finishes the year strong.
I look forward to working together to find a great new Head of School. Go Cavs!
Thomas R. Burnside III
Chair, APDS Board of Trustees