Dear GPS Community,
I write today on behalf of the Board of Trustees to provide you with an update on the Head of School search process.
I am pleased to announce that Clay Watson (Parent ’22, ’22), Vice Chair of the Board, and Dr. Mary Tanner, current trustee, have agreed to co-chair this important search. Clay is a current parent, McCallie alum, and Partner in Mountain View Auto Group. Mary served on the GPS board from 2012-2017 during which time she led the process for developing the strategic plan which GPS follows today. Mary retired from UTC after a 40-year career in higher education during which she served as a Dean and as Interim Provost. In addition, she led several academic searches for senior UTC administrators. Both Mary and Clay are committed to single-sex education and more specifically to the success of GPS.
Under the leadership of Clay and Mary, the following members of our community have agreed to serve on the Search Committee:
Dr. Rebecca Stimson ’73 – Chair, Board of Trustees (Parent ’14)
Kerri Martin Bartlett ’75 – Secretary, Board of Trustees
Ben Vance – Trustee, Chair Endowment Committee (Parent ’14, ’17, ’19)
Dori Thornton Waller ’99 – Trustee
Glenn Breazeale – Trustee (Parent ’24, ’24)
Cathie Ault Kasch ’72 - Faculty Member, Director of Terpsichord (Parent ’02)
Jay Watts – Director of Athletics, Member of the Senior Administrative Team
The Honorable Marie Williams Cleary ’70 – past trustee (Parent ’93, ’03)
Ashley Moore Palmer ’99 - Alumnae Council Member
Sarah Young Jackson ’06 – former Upper School Dean of Students and faculty member (history)
Additionally, we are pleased to announce that the Board has selected Carney, Sandoe & Associates (Carney) as our search consultant to help us identify and select the best possible candidates to replace Head of School Autumn Graves. Carney is a nationally recognized educational search firm with more than 40 years of experience matching school administrators and educators with prestigious independent day and boarding schools. Marguerite Lloyd, Senior Search Consultant, will be leading our search. Prior to joining Carney in 2012, Lloyd practiced law in both private practice as well as in academics – as faculty at the George Washington School of Law and as General Counsel for University of the South in Sewanee. Marguerite currently resides in Sewanee TN. Carney's Marsha Little and Barbara Dausch will partner with Marguerite on our search. Barbara has been a Senior Consultant at Carney since 2018. Prior to her work as a search consultant, Barbara held a variety of administrative roles in both higher education as well as middle and upper schools in Memphis where she currently resides. Marsha joined Carney last year from The Lovett School in Atlanta where she was Assistant Head of School from 2014-2019. All began their careers as classroom teachers.
In addition to the professional services provided by Carney, we have been ably assisted by our internal search consultants who led the prior search which brought Dr. Graves to GPS. These three alumnae have already contributed a wealth of hands-on experience in helping us get this search initiated, and we will continue to rely on their wisdom and experience:
Elizabeth (Lizzer) Bright Graham ’77 – Search Committee Chair
Anita (Nini) Davenport ’77 – Board Chair 2012-2014
Dr. Christine Benz Smith ‘72 – Board Chair 2014-2016
We are confident and enthusiastic about the future of GPS and believe that our Head of School position will be attractive to a national pool of applicants. Our singular goal is to attract the very best candidates so that we can welcome our new Head of School for the 2021-2022 school year. We understand from our consultants and others in the independent school community that maintaining candidate confidentiality will be critical in order to attract the very best slate of educational leaders. Nevertheless, we plan to be as inclusive as possible in terms of involving the school community throughout the search process. Our search consultants plan to be on campus late January/early February in order to hear from as many of you as possible about our School and our forthcoming leadership transition.
Rebecca E. Stimson
Chair of the Board of Trustees