Rebecca McCullough, a Weber spokeswoman, said Pearl has no plans yet on what he will do after resigning from the school.
Pearl, who worked as a dentist before coming to the school, is credited with having transformed Weber into a substantially larger, fiscally stronger and more respected program than it was when he joined the Sandy Springs school 16 years ago. Since becoming head of school in 2000, Pearl has focused on growing Weber’s enrollment, strengthening its academic and Judaics programs, overseeing its move to a new and permanent campus and stabilizing its financial position.
Under Pearl’s leadership, Weber has evolved from a small Jewish day school of 19 students to a respected, values-based, college preparatory school of about 240 students with 550 alumni. Its graduates are regularly accepted into the nation’s best colleges and universities, and now comprise a growing body of young Jewish adults who live, study and work all over the world. Pearl leaves Weber having solidified its standing as one of Atlanta’s best private schools.
“Rarely is a school blessed with strong, consistent leadership for such a long period — as Weber has been with Sim. While we are sad to learn of his decision to leave, the board understands and supports his wish to make this change,” said Weber board president Lori Kagan Schwarz.
Weber’s board has named DRG, a New York-based executive search firm, to lead the national search for Pearl’s successor, with hopes to name a new head of school by June 2014.
In 1997 Pearl joined the fledgling new high school, then known as The New Atlanta Jewish Community High School, as its first principal. In 2000, he was named to the top post. With his unique brand of warmth and vision, Pearl — or “Sim” as he is affectionately known — embraced an educational philosophy of “head, heart and hand” and welcomed students from across a broad spectrum of the Jewish faith. The school’s transdenominational approach supported its consistent growth, eventually requiring a move from its temporary home on the Marcus Jewish Community Center campus to a larger and permanent campus of its own.
“The pure joy of seeing this school grow, of knowing so many wonderful young people and seeing them stay connected to their Jewish values and become Jewish leaders, has been remarkable. But it’s time,” Pearl said of his decision to leave the school. “Weber has a unique spirit among its students and faculty that drives its success. It has a strong board and the support of the Atlanta community and federation. It is ready to move to the next stage in its life. And so am I.”