MPH Board Appoints New Head of School
November 9, 2011
The Board of Trustees of Manlius Pebble Hill School has named D. Scott Wiggins the next head of school. Mr. Wiggins will take over leadership of MPH July 1, 2012.
His selection ends a national search to fill the position previously held by Baxter F. Ball, who died last February after more than two decades as head. Tracy Frank, the School’s chief financial officer, has been serving as interim head since Mr. Ball’s death.
Board President Jamie Sutphen said, “Scott’s appointment as our next head of school was the unanimous decision of the board of trustees. He emerged from a group of exceptional candidates as the gifted administrator and inspiring leader MPH needs to meet the educational challenges and opportunities of the future.”
The MPH search committee retained transition and search consultant Richard Jung, Ed.D., of Maryland-based Education Access Strategies, to aid in its consideration of some 40 applicants for the position of head of school.
Peter Manolakos, who chaired the committee, says, “In Scott, we have found a leader with strong experience in independent schools, a vision for the future of MPH, and a commitment to our mission. He is absolutely passionate about educating children and helping them mature into both lifelong learners and contributing members of society.”
Mr. Wiggins has been involved in independent school education as a teacher, coach, and administrator for more than 25 years. He recently left the Lawrence Academy, a grade 9 – 12 coeducational boarding and day school in Groton, Mass., after eight years as head of school. His previous credentials in independent education include six years as principal of upper school at Metairie Park Country Day School in Metairie, La., and positions with independent schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Colorado.
Mr. Wiggins holds a B.A. in chemistry from Boston University and a J.D. from the College of Law at Arizona State University. He practiced law for several years while living in Pennsylvania. He is a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and a trustee of Nashoba Brooks School of Concord, Mass.
Kay Cowan, head of school at Nashoba Brooks, says, “Scott models leadership – inclusive, focused, and transparent leadership. He is a leader whom people choose to follow and to emulate. Those involved in the decision-making process of a school can depend on Scott’s openness, acumen, and sensitivity to the balance between institutional needs and the needs of the individual.”
Mr. Wiggins is a contributing author to “The Head’s Handbook, A Guide for Aspiring, New, and Experienced Heads of School,” published in 2011 by the National Association of Independent Schools.
It was NAIS Vice President Gene Batiste who asked Mr. Wiggins to write about his “nontraditional path to headship” for the handbook. He says, “With remarkable clarity, insight, and humor, Wiggins poignantly shared how his training and experience as an attorney and prosecutor, as well as an independent school faculty spouse, positioned him to better serve as a head of school. Congratulations to Manlius Pebble Hill School on Scott Wiggins’ appointment.”
David Drinkwater, his former boss at Louisiana’s Metairie Park Country Day School, says, “Scott Wiggins holds high standards: he creates an environment where clarity leads to excellence and high expectations are balanced by compassion… Everyone understands exactly who Scott is, the priorities for which he stands, and the consistency of his support once a decision is made. Students notice such commitments, and Scott is an excellent role model for young people.”
Another colleague, Gordon Sewall, assistant head of school at the Milton Academy outside Boston, calls Mr. Wiggins “a decisive leader who demonstrates compassion and concern for the well being of every student.”
Mr. Wiggins and his wife Susan have twin daughters who will be entering Ninth Grade next year.
Read Mr. Wiggins’ personal statement online.