HPA names new head of school

  • Patrick J. Phillips

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii Preparatory Academy, located in Waimea, announced last week that Patrick J. Phillips will take the helm as head of school starting July 1.

Phillips will take over from current head of school Robert McKendry.


“From the first moment I set foot on campus, it was evident that this is a special and unique community with a true sense of belonging,” Phillips said in a press release published to the school’s website. “It was also clear that HPA is an excellent school with the potential to become even stronger in the years ahead. With dedicated faculty and staff, supportive parents, an engaged alumni body, and a thoughtful board, HPA students are destined to reap the rewards as we live up to our mission to ‘provide exceptional learning opportunities in a diverse community honoring the traditions of Hawaii.’”

Phillips comes to the school from Breck School, a private, preschool-12 school outside Minneapolis, where he was the assistant head of school.

He has also taught at The Potomac School in Washington, D.C., served as dean of students and rugby coach at The American School in Switzerland and held positions at schools in North Carolina, Florida and the United Kingdom.

He will be HPA’s 12th head of school, according to the news release.

A graduate of Middlebury College with a degree in environmental studies, he also has a Masters of Education in school leadership from Harvard University.

A co-chair of the search committee, David Zierk, highlighted Phillips’ degree in environmental studies among his qualifications, saying it’ll be a boon as the school as it pursues its own sustainability plan.


“Patrick has taught AP chemistry, managed budgets and strategic planning, and has run day and boarding high schools with children from 50 countries,” Zierk said in the press release. “He has a complete background and will be a great head of school.”

McKendry, who has been head of school since July 2015, will continue in his current position through the end of this school year.

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