Our Head of School

Dr. Autumn A. Graves
Of all that Girls Preparatory School offers to students and their families, the most important is a fundamental promise to know and love every girl for whom she is.

In fact, we could not do our job as educators without this knowledge and emotional bond. Our promise means we teach and mentor each student mindful of her interests, her strengths, and her challenges inside and beyond the classroom. It means that we help each girl on her way to becoming her true, her best, her most fully realized self.

In keeping our promise, we develop a partnership with parents. Parents know their daughters more deeply than we ever can. And with more than a century of educating girls behind us, we know how they develop, learn, and achieve. 

Together GPS and parents create the strongest possible support for an exciting, joyous journey of discovery. I’m honored to continue to live out the purpose of the three visionary women who founded this remarkable school and to guide our girls as they grow into confident and capable young women.

Here's to the GIRLS,
Dr. Autumn A. Graves, Head of School

About Dr. Graves

Dr. Autumn Adkins Graves has established herself as a leader within the education sector for almost 25 years. Known as a change agent focused on student experience and outcomes that balance the institution's resource management and productivity, Graves has managed large-scale program and curricular metamorphoses.

With a rhetoric and history degree from the University of Virginia, a master's degree in private school leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University (New York), and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, Graves has held significant leadership roles at Mercersburg Academy (Pennsylvania), Breck School (Minnesota), Sidwell Friends (D.C.), Friends Seminary (New York), and Girard College (Pennsylvania). Currently she serves as Head of Girls Preparatory School.

Upon finishing her dissertation, which explored community engagement programs within private colleges, Graves recommitted herself to the development of curricular and cocurricular programs that demonstrate the public purpose of private education. Additionally, Graves moved into a second area of research interest: the preparation of girls for an innovative economy and public service.

Equally important to her work in schools is her commitment to community. A Leadership Philadelphia alumna, Graves was an active member of the Junior League for more than a decade as well as the Links, Inc. She has leveraged her nonprofit management and education experiences to serve as a trustee for several organizations, including the Philadelphia Film Office, an economic development nonprofit; the Library Company of Philadelphia; and The Shipley School (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania).

As a community member of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and advocate for education, women, and children, Graves serves on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor’s Advisory Roundtable and as a trustee for the Southern Association of Independent Schools, Creative Discovery Museum, The Head’s Network, and Women’s Fund of Greater Chattanooga.

Graves is married to R. Vann Graves. She and her husband have a son and daughter.

Head's Council

List of 6 items.

  • Ali Gant, Chief Development Officer

    Ali Gant, Chief Development Officer

    Ali Gant joined GPS in June 2019 with two decades of development experience in higher education, independent schools, and human services. Gant holds both a bachelor’s degree in English and Master in Public Administration & Policy (MPA) from the University of Georgia. She is also a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).
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  • Jenise Gordon, Head of Upper School

    Jenise Gordon, Head of Upper School

    After receiving a Bachelor of Science in biology from Union University (Jackson, Tennessee), Jenise Gordon went on to obtain her M.Ed. in curriculum and Instruction from Union. She earned the distinction of being Student Teacher of the Year during her senior year at Union. She also won the honor of First-Year Teacher of the Year in her first school district and Teacher of the Year twice at GPS.
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  • Lynne Macziewski, Head of Middle School

    Lynne Macziewski, Head of Middle School

    Lynne Macziewski became the Head of Middle School in 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and secondary education and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from The University of St. Thomas (Saint Paul, Minnesota). She then obtained an M.Ed. in educational leadership from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis).
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  • Bilda Small, Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer

    Bilda Small, Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer

    After five years as GPS Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing, Bilda Acuña Small expanded her role to serve as Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer. In this position, Small oversees the admission of new students, reenrollment of existing students, and marketing communications.
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  • Jay Watts, Athletic Director

    Jay Watts, Athletic Director

    Jay Watts graduated from the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia) with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. He then completed his master’s degree in education/sports administration from Georgia State University (Atlanta). Watts also holds a Certified Master Athletic Administrator certificate from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. He was named GPS Athletic Director in 2017.
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  • Mark Vosskamp, Chief Financial Officer

    Mark Vosskamp, Chief Financial Officer

    Mark Vosskamp holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Duke University, where he was a cum laude graduate certified to teach high school math. He then later pursued his Master of Business Administration degree (with a focus on finance) from ACC rival University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He remains a devoted Blue Devil basketball fan.
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