Announcing New Head of School

Megan Cover will join GPS as its 10th Head of School beginning July 1, 2021.

Megan Cover (pronounced kō-vər) brings to Girls Preparatory School years of experience as both teacher and school leader. 

“We were impressed with her understanding that within the GPS legacy lies its future, and that the challenges of today bring with them tremendous opportunities for teaching and learning,” says Mary Tanner, GPS Board of Trustees Member and Co-Chair of the Search Committee. 

For the past 20 years at Tower Hill School (Wilmington, Delaware), Cover has demonstrated excellence in teaching and outstanding initiative and leadership as Head of Upper School. While at Tower Hill, she has been instrumental in launching signature programs, enhancing the experience of rising ninth-graders through summer programs, and facilitating improvements to service learning, environmental initiatives, and social justice and wellness programs for Upper School students. She tirelessly shepherded her Upper School’s monumental shift to remote learning last spring, celebrated the Class of 2020 with an unforgettable 100th graduation ceremony, and oversaw innumerable details in the reopening of their campus this fall. 

Cover’s extensive school leadership experience, her commitment to academic excellence, and her ability to create innovative programming made her stand out among the candidates. 

“Most importantly, she is regarded by her current students and peers alike for her collegiality, sincerity, and role as a champion for her school and students,” says Clay Watson, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of the Search Committee.

“As an all-girls school alumna (Agnes Irwin School), Megan experienced the transformative power of a school where from day one as a new student she felt she belonged,” says Dr. Becca Stimson, Chair of the GPS Board of Trustees. Cover now confidently steps into the leadership role as the 10th GPS Head of School with a desire for each GPS girl to know she belongs here.

During her tenure at Tower Hill, Cover served as a French and Spanish teacher and language department chair, created the lower school Spanish program, served as assistant head of upper school and dean of students, and even coached field hockey and lacrosse. She has overseen upper school programs in student life, advisory, leadership, student retention, career day, and new faculty cohorts and brought a discipline and student leadership board model to her school. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in education from Denison University and master’s degrees from West Chester University (Spanish) and Middlebury College (French).

Cover will be moving to Chattanooga with her husband of 22 years, Ted, and their three daughters. 

“We are an active family who enjoy exploring the outdoors and were drawn to Chattanooga for the beautiful outdoors that combines both our love of mountains and the water coupled with a warm and welcoming community,” Cover says. “As a career educator who is a firm believer in the power and purpose of all-girls education and the mother of three daughters, I consider it an honor and a privilege to not only lead GPS into this next chapter of empowering young women of intellect and integrity, but also to join its community as a proud GPS family. I look forward to carrying the torch and raising it high."

During Chapel, GPS students will be introduced to their new Head of School via a video message she is recording especially for them. Dr. Kirk Walker, GPS Interim Head of School, will continue in his leadership role through the end of the 2020-21 school year.

Message to Current Families

Our Interim Head of School

Dr. Kirk Walker, retired Headmaster of McCallie School, former GPS trustee, and past GPS parent, serves as interim Head of School for the 2020-21 school year. 

With 33 years of school administrative experience, Walker’s nameplate has graced the headmaster’s door at several schools, including Bright School and McCallie School in Chattanooga, from which he retired, and Ensworth School in Nashville. He served as president/executive director of the Southern Association of Independent Schools until 2019 and is currently the mayor of his community, Ridgeside.

In addition to his professional experiences in independent schools, Dr. Walker also serves as a SAIS Trustee, Southern Lit Alliance Trustee, a 30-year Trustee and Sustaining Trustee for Chambliss Center for Children, and President of The Worth Foundation (2013-present), which reviews and awards grants to community-based youth development programs.

Dr. Walker received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa. He then earned an M.S. and Ph.D. from George Peabody College, Vanderbilt University (Nashville). 

A Chattanooga native, parent of a GPS alumna, and former GPS trustee, Walker is familiar with GPS and believes in the mission of the school and the power of an all-girls education.

Walker says his transition to leading an all-girls school began with a trip to a local bookstore and buying every book they had on raising girls. “GPS is blessed with a great faculty and a strong leadership team who know how to inspire and encourage young women,” he says.

“I am excited and honored to be part of a school community for which I have so much admiration. Both through observing my daughter’s experience as a student at GPS and through my work with the school while at McCallie and Bright, I have appreciated the breadth and quality of the program.”

His goals for the 2020-21 school year are the same as they would be for any interim head: to advance the vision of the school and to pave a smooth path for the next leader. Together with the faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees, he will be navigating the changes and workarounds for issues caused by COVID-19, a situation not present when he accepted the role.

As for the pandemic, he says, “The year ahead will have unique challenges for the nation and for all our schools, but I am hopeful that it will also be an opportunity for rediscovering the values that matter and for clearer understanding of our interdependence on each other.”

“We expect our interim year under Dr. Walker’s leadership to be one of continued progress in the important work of preparing girls for the 21st century guided by our strategic plan,” says Dr. Rebecca Stimson ’73, Chair of the GPS Board of Trustees.

Leadership Team

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

    For more than 25 years, Bilda Small has worked with organizations in the for- and non-profit sectors on marketing and communications strategies. She joined GPS in 2014 after an 18-year career at Unum in marketing communications and market development. In her last role at Unum, she served as Assistant Vice President of Hispanic Markets, where she directed an extensive initiative to extend the company’s philosophy of caring to Spanish-speaking customers at every key service touchpoint.
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  • Jay Watts, Athletic Director

    Jay Watts, Athletic Director

    Jay Watts was named GPS Athletic Director in 2017. He 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 has served as a guest lecturer in the Sports Administration departments at both Georgia State and Kennesaw State University, and he is currently an adjunct professor in the Health and Human Performance department at UTC.
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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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