Announcing St. Paul's Next Head of School

Dear St. Paul Christian Academy Community,

It is with great joy, gratitude and excitement that we announce the next Head of School. 

Since Ken let us know in May he would be leaving, the Board of Trust has been praying that God was already at work in the heart of the person He would call to lead St. Paul. Our prayers seemed affirmed in countless ways over the summer as our Search Committee endeavored to find the right person to serve as our next Head of School. We are also very happy to say that our prayers have been answered even more quickly than we ever anticipated. 

As part of the search, the Board retained Price Carney of Charter Resource Group to assist in the effort. The Search Committee was impressed and gratified by the interest expressed from a wide array of exceptionally qualified candidates from all over the Southeast. Mr. Carney told us it was one of the most impressive fields of candidates he has seen, and found it evidence of the strong regional reputation St. Paul has achieved among Christian educators. 

In July, the Search Committee narrowed the applicant pool to a smaller group of candidates who were brought to St. Paul for interviews. The search committee’s criteria was high: We were looking for a visionary and a strategic thinker, but also a scholar, a team builder and a fundraiser. From a personal perspective, we wanted someone who is visible, approachable, and articulate, who understands the importance of an academically rigorous, Christ-centered elementary school education, and whose own life is centered on Christ. 

After many hours of interviewing, prayer and deliberation, the Search Committee made a unanimous recommendation to the Board. This week the Board voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Jason Powell to serve as the next Head of School for St. Paul Christian Academy effective July 1, 2017. 

Jason, as he prefers to be called, and his wife, Amy, are deeply committed Christians raising three daughters: Caroline (13 and in 8th grade), Elizabeth (11 and in 6th grade) and Mary Virginia, (9 and in 4th grade).  

Jason is a life-long educator who has served for the last 10 years as Head of School at The Christ School, in Orlando, Florida. During his tenure there, Jason has led the school through a transition from a developing school in its formative years to a mission-focused, sustainable center of learning that has become the premier K-8 independent Christian school in Central Florida with an enrollment of 375 students. He has overseen additional accreditation of the school by the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), AdvancEd, and provisional membership status with the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA), a membership we aspire to secure for St. Paul. Jason has led fundraising efforts that brought numerous facility improvements to the school, including a new library/media center, a science lab, an improved middle school wing, administrative offices and outdoor playground space. He also obtained a grant for The Christ School to fund the provision of support services for students with academic, social and emotional needs. 

Prior to becoming Head of School, Jason served for nine years as a district administrator and a middle school principal in the Orange County Public School District in Orlando. He began his career as a middle school mathematics teacher and track and volleyball coach in a K-8 school. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education, a master’s in education administration and a doctorate in educational leadership. 

Jason met our faculty on Monday, August 15, and it was a spirit-filled time of discussion as the faculty shared with Jason what makes St. Paul so special. One of the most poignant evaluations of Jason came from a member of our staff who said, “We didn’t have to tell Jason about our mission; he clearly gets our mission. It’s already in him.” 

Though Jason will officially join St. Paul in July of 2017, you will have the opportunity to meet him very soon – on August 29 at Parent Night. He will also join us many times this fall and spring for activities such as our Admissions Open House, Trinity Forum presentations, the Saints Bash, and other events. 

We are also pleased and grateful to announce that our Assistant Head of School for Academics, Susan Cobb, has agreed to serve as Interim Head of School in the period between Ken’s departure at the end of this calendar year and Jason’s official arrival next July. All three of these wonderful leaders are already working in concert to ensure a smooth transition. Our school is truly blessed to be led by Ken, Susan and Jason; please keep each of them in your prayers as we move through the exciting months ahead. 

In closing, we want to thank Price Carney and Ken Cheeseman for their support and assistance, as well as the members of the Search Committee, who worked tirelessly throughout the summer in this endeavor. You will hear more about Jason and his family in the days to come, and we look forward to introducing you to him and to Amy at Parent Night on August 29 at 6 p.m. Thank you for your continued prayers for Jason and his family, for Ken and his family, and for our school. Together, we are St. Paul. 

With gratitude, 

Carole Peterson
Chair, Board of Trust 

Joe Cook, III    
Chair of the Search Committee