Dunn named new head of Parker School

  • Stephen Dunn

WAIMEA – The Parker School board of directors selected Stephen Dunn as the next head of school — the eighth head of school since its founding in 1976 — effective July 1, 2020.

“The unanimous decision to select Stephen Dunn represents the culmination of an intensive international search that included input from the board, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni, as well as participation from students and extensive reference checks made by all head search committee members,” David B. Kirk, Parker School board president, said in a press release Friday announcing the decision.

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Dunn brings more than 15 years of independent school administrative and teaching experience from the Ethel Walker School, a 108-year-old girls’ boarding school in Connecticut; The Nueva School, a student-centered school known for its project-based program in Silicon Valley, California; and Texas A&M University.

In addition, Dunn spent nearly a decade in executive and leadership positions within the private sector at software development and project management companies in Massachusetts.

“We are thrilled to have attracted a leader with Stephen’s experience, education, and passion for educating the whole child,” Kirk said.

Dunn is described as personable and a great listener in the press release, and maintaining strong relationships with faculty, students, and their families is listed among his skills. Enrollment, curriculum development, fundraising, financial management, are also listed as area where Dunn excels.

Dunn has an undergraduate degree in business administration and management and a master of education degree in educational psychology, both from Texas A&M University.

Originally from a small, rural ranching community in South Texas, Dunn and his wife Dr. Sheri Lyn Schmidt have one son who lives in Bozeman, Montana. Schmidt’s Ed.D is in social justice education. She has immediate family on Hawaii Island, which the couple has visited for the past 26 years where they fell in love with the Waimea community.

Dunn will succeed Dr. Carl “Doc” Sturges, who will be retiring in June after completing his 19th year at Parker School.

During Sturges’ time, changes to Parker School included the formation of a lower school, a thriving debate program and significant improvements in overall academic strength.

Carl leaves Parker School in a place of strength and well-positioned for continued future success,” Kirk said. “We are grateful for his significant contributions to the Parker story.”

“It is a great relief to know the school and students will be in such good hands,” Sturges added. “Stephen is a first-class educator and leader who will be very good for the school.”

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Building upon the growth and success of the past decade, Dunn is tasked with leading Parker School into the future by engaging the school community in developing a shared vision for Parker and overseeing the building and opening of the Center for Sports, Science, and the Arts, among other several exciting initiatives.

“Parker School has embarked on a vision-setting process, and is asking, “What’s next?” I am eager to help discover the answer to this important question,” Dunn said.

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