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Announcing Ravenscroft’s Next Head of School, Derrick Willard

On Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, the Ravenscroft Board of Trustees announced that Derrick Willard was unanimously chosen to serve as our next Head of School effective July 1, 2024.

Derrick Willard Headshot

In his current role as Head of Augusta Preparatory Day School in Martinez, Georgia, Willard has successfully led significant growth in enrollment and raised $10M for a new state-of-the-art sciences and engineering facility that will open in January 2024. Prior to Augusta Prep, Willard dedicated 22 years to Providence Day School in Charlotte, in successive leadership positions. During his last six years, he served as Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and was responsible for all academic programs, policies and practices for the three school divisions. The role also encompassed recruiting, hiring, mentoring and evaluating over 200 faculty members. Before this, Willard taught science at both the Middle and Upper School levels at Providence Day, served as honor council chair, chaired the science department and coordinated professional development.

The son of two public school educators, Willard was awarded an Army ROTC scholarship to Davidson College where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army after serving as a tank and scout platoon leader and an armor battalion logistics officer. Willard pursued a career in education and earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Winthrop University.

“Ravenscroft’s future relies heavily on continued strategic planning and execution around academic excellence; supporting our talented professionals; providing a healthy, diverse and inclusive community; and enriching alumni engagement, campus enhancements and fundraising,” Head of School Search Committee Co-Chairs Laura Kalorin and Amy Batten wrote in a letter to the community. “We are confident Derrick is the right person to meet these charges and expect him to lead our school into the coming years through the lens of our mission; Lead From Here, our citizen leader framework; and our statement of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.” 

“I look forward to welcoming Derrick and Jenny Willard to Ravenscroft! Derrick is a highly respected colleague and leader through the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), even most recently leading a webinar on mentorship and sponsorship. I have no doubt that the combination of his leadership skills and strength in strategic planning will help propel Ravenscroft forward and build upon the amazing success we have had as a community over the past 20+ years,” Head of School Doreen Kelly added.

“I am honored to receive and accept the offer from the Board to lead Ravenscroft, and I am humbled to follow a respected school leader like Doreen,” Willard said. “Jenny and I are so excited to join the Ravenscroft family and the larger Raleigh community. I am eager to return to campus and engage with students, teachers and staff, parents, alumni and friends of this great institution. Together we will continue to build on a legacy of excellence and carry Ravenscroft forward into a bright future.”

Willard will be returning to campus in the near future for official introductions. The community is encouraged to watch for additional updates and more information.

“The amount of feedback we received from the community during this process is a testimony to our shared love of Ravenscroft,” Kalorin and Batten wrote. “Your input played a significant role in forming the Search Committee’s guiding priorities and identifying our needs and opportunities for the next Head of School. Thank you.”

For more information about the search or to contact the Search Committee, please visit www.Ravenscroft.org/HeadSearch

Derrick Willard and Family

Willard with daughter Anna Grace (age 23), wife Jenny and son Mac (age 28). Photo courtesy of Wandering Ducks Photo and Film, LLC. Headshot at top is courtesy of Providence Day School.