Introducing the Next Head of School
Dr. Graves joins the School from Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tenn., where she has been Head of School since 2014. The Board of Trustees is excited about Dr Graves' experience, thoughtfulness, and passion for educating children. They unanimously believe she is the right choice to lead St. Anne's-Belfield and to continue to build on the School's national reputation for academic excellence.
The full announcement as well as other communications from throughout the process can be found below.
In June 2019, Head of School David Lourie announced that he will become the next Head of Collegiate School in New York City, resigning from his post at St. Anne's-Belfield School in July 2020. The letter of his announcement, as well as an accompanying letter from Chair of the Board of Trustees Frank Edmonds and other updates, can be found below.
- Announcing Our Next Head of School - Oct. 28, 2019
- Head of Search Process Update - Sept. 23, 2019
- Head of School Search Process Update - Aug. 29, 2019
- Head of School Search Process Update - Aug. 9, 2019
- Head of School Search Process Update - July 3, 2019
- Letter from Current Head of School David Lourie - June 4, 2019
- Letter from Board of Trustees Chair Frank Edmonds - June 4, 2019
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Autumn A. Graves as the next Head of School of St. Anne's-Belfield, effective July 1, 2020. Autumn will join us from Girls Preparatory School (GPS) in Chattanooga, Tenn., where she has been Head of School since 2014.
The Board of Trustees is excited about Autumn's experience, thoughtfulness, and passion for educating children. We unanimously believe she is the right choice to lead St. Anne's-Belfield and to continue to build on our national reputation for academic excellence.
Autumn grew up in Richmond and, after graduating from Collegiate School, received her bachelor's degree in Rhetoric and Communications Studies with a minor in History from the University of Virginia. She earned a master's degree in Educational Administration from Columbia University and a doctoral degree in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania.
Girls Preparatory School is one of the oldest and most highly regarded independent schools in Tennessee. Founded in 1906, the School serves more than 550 girls in Grades 6 - 12 and is affiliated with the all-boys McCallie School. Before assuming her current role, Autumn held leadership positions at several prestigious independent schools, including Upper School Dean at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., Assistant Principal at Friends Seminary in New York, and President of Girard College in Philadelphia.
Autumn has a passion for community involvement. The Mad, Bad, and Dangerous entrepreneurship program she co-created at GPS engages the entire Chattanooga region and is fully funded through community resources, including foundations and sponsorships. Autumn is also an engaged and active member of the community. She currently serves as a trustee for the Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor's Advisory Roundtable, and the Creative Discovery Museum. Additionally, she is involved in supporting independent schools through her board service for The Heads Network and the Southern Association of Independent Schools. Autumn has received numerous awards during her career, including Philadelphia Business Journal's "40 under 40" in 2011 and O Magazine's "Women to Watch for the Decade List" in 2010.
Autumn is married to R. Vann Graves. After a long and successful advertising career in New York at BBDO and McCann Erickson, Vann is currently the Executive Director of Brandcenter, a master's degree program in Advertising, Business, and Marketing at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a graduate of Howard University and received master's degrees from the Pratt Institute and Harvard University. Vann is a Fulbright Scholar and a decorated combat veteran. Autumn and Vann have two children, William (4) and Chloe (2), who we look forward to welcoming as students at St. Anne's-Belfield School next fall.
The Board would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the community for your patience during this search process. We wish to express particular gratitude to the members of the Search Committee and to Liz Stoner, who all served our community tirelessly over the past few months to identify and recruit the best possible candidates. This group's energy and enthusiasm for the School was inspiring to the Board as well as to the candidates, who were universal in their appreciation for the dedication and thoughtfulness of the Committee.
Please join us in welcoming Autumn, Vann, William, and Chloe Graves to the St. Anne's-Belfield community. We are excited about the future of the School and look forward to introducing you to Autumn during a brief visit this week and over the next few months.
Franklin S. Edmonds, Jr.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
I write on behalf of the Board of Trustees and Search Committee to share another update on our Head of School search. Our search consultants, Devereaux McClatchey, Charlie Britton, and Karen Whitaker, were on campus on Aug. 15 & 16 meeting with a variety of members of our community including senior administration and faculty and staff, as well as representatives from the Parents' Association and Alumni Board. We continue to move forward in the search process and have engaged in a number of promising discussions with strong educational leaders from around the country who are excited about the opportunities at St. Anne's-Belfield School.
Feedback from our entire community is critical to the deliberations of the Search Committee. Please take a few minutes to complete our community survey. This survey will provide important input on your thoughts and priorities for the School and the desired characteristics of our next leader. You are welcome to complete the survey anonymously or with attribution. We appreciate your participation in advance and look forward to reviewing your responses with our consultants. We plan to post the general summaries on the Head of School search webpage in the next few weeks.
On behalf of the Board and Search Committee, we appreciate your support and look forward to keeping you up to date on the search. If you have any additional comments to share with us outside of the survey, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Franklin S. Edmonds, Jr.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Merrill Woodriff - Board Committee Member, Former Faculty Member (P‘28, P‘30, P‘33)
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 David Lourie after this academic year. 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. Devereaux McClatchey, president of Carney, will be leading our search. Devereaux has 18 years of experience running executive searches and has served as Carney's president since 2004. He has piloted dozens of Head of School searches including recent searches for Collegiate School in Virginia, Lovett School in Georgia, and Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. Carney's Charlie Britton and Karen Whitaker will partner with Devereaux on our search. Charlie joined Carney last year from McDonogh School in Maryland where he was Head of School from 2007 - 2018. Karen is a former assistant head of school and academic dean at Branson School where she worked with Chris Mazzola, former head of the Upper School at St. Anne's-Belfield School.
Devereaux and Charlie were in Charlottesville last week to meet with the Board of Trustees' Executive Committee and begin the search process in earnest. The next step is to develop St. Anne's-Belfield School's position statement which will serve to announce the position to potential candidates. We will also work with Carney over the next few weeks on forming a search committee and drafting online surveys to encourage specific written input on the search from the School community. Our goal in the coming months is to provide our entire community multiple opportunities to share their thoughts and aspirations about our School and the Head of School search. We will provide more information over the course of the summer.
We are confident and enthusiastic about the future at St. Anne's-Belfield School and believe that our Head of School position will be attractive to a nationwide pool of applicants. Our singular goal is to attract the very best candidates within a relatively short period of time so that we can welcome our new Head of School for the 2020 - 2021 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. In addition to the surveys mentioned above, our search consultants plan to be on campus this August and September in order to hear from as many of you as possible about our School and our forthcoming leadership transition.
Enjoy the summer!
I write today to share the news that I have informed the Board of Trustees the 2019 - 2020 school year, my 14th at St. Anne's-Belfield School, will be my final one as your Head of School. I have accepted the position as Head of the Collegiate School in New York City, a K - 12 boys' school. My tenure there will begin on July 1, 2020. This headship is a unique professional and personal opportunity, and comes at what I believe to be a healthy transition point both for the Louries and for St. Anne's-Belfield.
Over the past several days, I found inspiration in the first goal of our Strategic Plan: "to encourage and reward risk-taking." I decided to walk that walk and embrace the excitement of determining that this is the right time to make a change at this point in my career. Collegiate presents a remarkable opportunity to work at an exceptional school, one that is a leader in single-gender education, and to live in New York City. Just as when I first visited St. Anne's-Belfield in 2005, I was compelled by Collegiate's core beliefs, rich history, welcoming community, outstanding programs, and bold aspirations for its future.
I made this decision confident that St. Anne's-Belfield will benefit from new leadership at this moment in its own rich history. Change is healthy and necessary, for a person and for an institution. With the recent completion of the Strategic Plan, there exists a roadmap for the years ahead and a bold vision for the School. Concrete action steps are currently being considered to turn this vision into reality, making this an ideal time to welcome a new Head of School.
I close by sharing with you my deepest gratitude, both as Head of School and as a School parent, for all that St. Anne's-Belfield has brought to me and our family. I am so thankful to everyone — the Board (and especially the four Chairs whom I have worked so closely with over these 13 years), the faculty, the students, the parents, and the alumni — for your support, encouragement, and inspiration. I am fortunate to have another year with you as Head, and then another as the parent of a senior, as Becca wants to graduate with her class in 2021. It has been a privilege and an honor to be part of St. Anne's-Belfield School, and, when the time does come to say goodbye, the memories of these special days will ever with me stay.
With deepest appreciation and best wishes,
Head of School
Franklin S. Edmonds, Jr.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
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