David’s appointment marks the end of a seven-month, international search process during which the Search Committee met several exceptional candidates. In a highly competitive field, David’s passion for independent school education, energy for the pursuit of excellence, and curiosity for learning made him the clear choice. Throughout the process the search team pursued candidates who embodied the values that are at the core of CCES: Character, Community, Excellence, and Service. We also sought candidates who possessed attributes recommended by our community and characteristics that make CCES special: educating the whole child through our Episcopal Identity, a passion for athletics and the arts, the commitment to creating an inclusive community, nurturing a committed and caring faculty, and academic excellence. David personifies each of these values and priorities and will fulfill his role as an exceptional leader for our faculty and staff, a communicator and partner to parents, an excellent role model to our students, and an ambassador to the Greenville community.
David joins CCES from the Baylor School, where he has served as Head of the Upper School since 2014. Baylor is a premiere co-educational boarding and day school for grades 6 through 12, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was identified early in the search process as a “rising star” in the independent school world with stellar recommendations from peers as well as leaders in Episcopal school education. At our very first meeting, it was clear David was ripe for his first headship. His intellect, energy, and immense talent are perfectly aligned with the responsibilities of a school head. The search committee is convinced of his leadership capabilities and knows he will lead CCES with humility, integrity, and kindness.
At Baylor, David is seen as a visible, engaged, and committed educational leader through his work in the different areas of the school. David has worked tirelessly to ready himself to take on the role of Head of School at CCES by taking part in professional associations like the National Association of Independent Schools, collaborating in developing and implementing Baylor’s strategic plan, serving on Board of Trustee committees, and spearheading the school’s recent inclusivity work. During his Master of Education program at Columbia University, David shadowed Baylor’s President and Headmaster, Scott Wilson, for a year. Despite concern over losing a proven school leader, Scott enthusiastically endorsed David’s candidacy from the start, sharing that David is in the “top echelon of educators I’ve seen in 40 years,” and that, “he’s not just good, he’s exceptional.” David’s sincerity, compassion, and high-level performance combined with his broadening depth of experience have prepared him to be the ideal leader for CCES.
An Episcopalian, David served three consecutive terms on the Vestry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chattanooga, with roles in both the search for a Rector and an Associate Rector during those nine years. He is also engaged in his local community through service on the Chattanooga Area Food Bank Board of Directors, a major charitable organization in the city.
Prior to his years as Head of the Upper School at Baylor, David began his career in education as a teaching fellow at Phillips-Exeter Academy and served on the English Faculty at St. Alban’s School before earning his Master’s in English from the University of Virginia in 2000. David spent one year on the McCallie School faculty before joining the Baylor English department in 2001, serving as English Department Chair from 2008-2010, and subsequently Dean of Students from 2010-2014. In his early years at Baylor, David ventured back to Exeter over several summers teaching English and writing courses. In 2013 David received his Master of Education in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Center, at Columbia University, in New York City. David completed his undergraduate work in 1995 at The University of the South as a Georgia M. Wilkins scholar, one of three merit-based scholarships offered by Sewanee, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. David grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky where both his parents were educators and still reside. His father was a Spanish professor at Western Kentucky University, and his mother taught English at the local high school. In two of his years in high school, David’s mother was his English teacher.
It was at Sewanee where David met his wife, Karen, a native of Selma, Alabama and a Baylor alumna. Together they have raised two daughters: Haley, a Baylor graduate and rising sophomore at Birmingham Southern College, and Kate, who is completing her senior year at Baylor and will be attending Bowdoin in the fall. Karen has also been entrenched in the life of the school and served as the Middle School librarian at Baylor from 2003 until 2016 and is an excellent complement to David. The family is enthusiastic about this next chapter in their lives and a move to Greenville in 2020.
We are hopeful many of you will have the opportunity to attend the All School Assembly this morning at 9:15am in the McCall Field house for David’s first introduction to the school community. I will be in touch this summer with information regarding opportunities to engage with David when he visits us during the 2019-2020 school year. I hope when you do meet David, Karen, Haley, and Kate that you will offer them a warm welcome into our community.
I am grateful to all who participated in the search process, especially those on the Search Committee whose diligence and dedication to CCES was paramount to a successful outcome: the Rev Dr. Harrison McLeod, Jim Hendrix, the Hon. Marvin Quattlebaum, Katie Howell, the Rev. Sean Dogan, and Betty Teague. This group has given countless hours over the past seven months listening to our community, composing the position specification, reading about applicants, convening with and vetting candidates, making referencing calls, and, of course, getting to know the candidates. I would be remiss not to thank our consultants at Spencer Stuart, especially Chuck Jordan, who worked tirelessly to build an exceptional candidate pool. Chuck ran a flawless process, encouraged the committee members to ask questions we didn’t know we should, and helped us get to know each candidate in deep and meaningful ways.
I would also like to express my sincerest thanks to the Faculty and Staff Advisory committee who also spent many hours reading about applicants and two full days off campus getting to know our candidates and sharing feedback with the Search Committee. Their input was invaluable, and their faith in David’s ability to build strong connections with the faculty and staff as a Head of School gave confidence to the Search Committee when making our decision.
To all the parents, past-parents, alums, faculty, staff and other community members who participated in the discovery meetings in January as well as those who filled out the online survey, your contributions were critical in shaping the position description and the qualities we were looking for in our next Head. Thank you for taking the time to share your input.
I am also grateful for Dr. Leonard Kupersmith whose strong leadership as Head of School has carried CCES to new heights over the past 11 years. While he had limited involvement in the search process, he maneuvered these months of being in an unfamiliar place on the outside of a major Board initiative with grace and is eager to aid in a smooth transition to David’s leadership in 2020.
As this year winds down and our seniors are about to graduate, we will soon be looking towards next year where there will be much to celebrate for the CCES community: Leonard’s many contributions to CCES, the school’s entering its 60th year, and David as our next Head of School. I look forward to sharing in these many celebrations with you all.
Cary H. Weekes '98
Chair, Board of Trustees