Terms like community, growth and collaboration came up in conversation, respectively, time and again with each principal.
With school starting this month, Paul A. Barton of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, North Atlanta High’s Curtis Douglass, The Weber School’s Rabbi Ed Harwitz and the Westminster Schools’ Keith Evans spoke to the Neighbor.
In becoming the 10th head of school at Holy Innocents’, Barton added to a dynamic career as an educator.
Barton most recently led the Avery Conley School near Chicago for 14 years. Other stints include those as a teacher, residential dean, admissions associate and senior administrator.
“Holy Innocents’ gave off a good first impression and the ensuing experiences there have been reassuring,” he said. “I was looking for a strong academic, faith-based school — pre-K to high school. This place far and away gave me the strongest sense of community and commitment to each child.
“Kids here feel like they can do anything — a kid can be involved in the arts and math and play basketball [for example] — and we encourage that kind of thing all the time.”
Barton’s agenda for 2014-15:
o listen to and learn from all the different constituencies — alumni, parents, board members, teachers and students
o get involved with the community — Sandy Springs and Atlanta
o work with the board of trustees on the school’s strategic plan, including construction of new art, math, science and dining room building
Barton earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Loras College and master’s degrees in education from DePaul University and in liberal education from St. John’s College.
Barton and his wife, Leanne, have three children.
Unlike his counterparts, North Atlanta’s chief administrator did not have to move after accepting his new post.
Douglass, assistant principal there the past year and a half, called the decision to accept the promotion a no-brainer.
“I didn’t have to think much about it at all,” he said. “This is the only place I wanted to be.
“What kept me in the fold is the support from the community and parents, the diversity of the school and the wonderful teachers we have here … and the students themselves, who are really good kids.”
Douglass listed the following goals as part of his 2014-15 agenda:
o facilitate academic growth in regards to standardized testing
o help get the school’s African-American and Hispanic student subgroups — now performing below expectations — to satisfactory levels
o increase the number of students earning diplomas from the International Baccalaureate program
o increase school spirit and bring athletics to state championship level
The Bronx, N.Y., native came to Atlanta for college and never left.
Douglass earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Morehouse College and a master’s degree in education from Georgia State University. He has also completed the education specialist and leadership program at Lincoln Memorial University.
He and his wife, Cappy, have two daughters.
Harwitz has devoted the past quarter of a century to Jewish education, serving in top positions at institutions on both coasts.
Among his previous career stops, Harwitz served as founding head of school for Jewish high schools in San Francisco and Connecticut. He has been on the job at Weber since June 1.
“I came here because of the environment and culture of the school … which are fundamental to our mission as a 21st-century Jewish high school,” Harwitz said.
“It’s that culture and environment that I find exciting as head of school … but has also anchored the reputation of the Weber School for the past 17 years.”
Harwitz’s agenda for 2014-15:
o continue to promote academic excellence while promoting student enrichment and support
o work with faculty and staff to determine how to expand the curriculum and programming in the most dynamic way
o cultivate leadership and an environment of collaboration
Harwitz earned a bachelor’s degree in history from George Washington University and a master’s degree in Hebrew letters from the University of Judaism. After studying at the Schechter Institute of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem, he went on to earn his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Evans is the new president of the Westminster Schools in Buckhead.
Evans succeeds the 23-year tenure of William Clarkson IV, who retired. Evans, at his new post since July 1, had served as the president and head of school of the Collegiate School in Richmond, Va., since 1999.
Evans earned master’s degrees in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University and in educational psychology from the University of Tennessee. He earned a bachelor’s degree in religion from Davidson (N.C.) College as a Staley Scholar.
During Evans’ tenure at Collegiate, he was credited with infusing the school with an ambitious spirit of innovation and creativity that has attracted national acclaim. Among a long list of accomplishments, he reportedly created a unique and highly effective global education program and has overseen a series of building projects that have dramatically expanded and enhanced the school’s physical resources. He served previously at three Tennessee schools — The McCallie School in Chattanooga, the Webb School in Knoxville and St. Mary’s Episcopal in Memphis.
Evans and his wife, Emilie, have two children.
Other new leaders of area schools include principals Kara Stimpson at Brandon Elementary School, Woodbridge Greene Jr. at Sutton Middle School and Lynn Johnson at Spalding Drive Charter Elementary School. Monica Murray has been named interim director at St. Anne’s Day School.