Raymond S. Broadhead
The Webb School Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday, Nov. 6 to appoint Raymond S. Broadhead of Burlington, N.C., to be its next Head of School.
Broadhead will begin working at the Bell Buckle, Tenn. campus in July, after finishing the current school year as headmaster at The Elon School in Elon, N.C. He will be the 12th Head of School at The Webb School, the oldest continuously operating private day/boarding school in the South.
In making the announcement Friday, Board Chairman Phil Coop said Broadhead stood out from the other candidates because he was a previous finalist for head of school at Webb.
Broadhead’s longtime dedication to independent education also set him apart.
“He is a ‘school man,’” Coop explained. “He’s absolutely committed to private education and he’s absolutely committed to boarding education, and that is something the board feels is very important to the future of The Webb School.”
A Webb Board of Trustee committee began the comprehensive search for a new head of school in June, following the resignation of former Head of School Albert R. Cauz. The committee led by Vance Berry ‘72 and Lee Woosley ’78, narrowed a pool of more than 30 candidates from across the United States to three finalists over several months time. The finalists then participated in an interview process that involved personal visits by select committee members to their home schools, and meetings with Webb student and parent groups, faculty and administrators at the Bell Buckle campus.
Interim Webb Head of School Gordon E. Bondurant of Charleston, S.C., who actively assisted with the search process since coming to Webb in July, said he was pleased with the board’s selection.
“Ray Broadhead will bring to Webb years of experience in a school very similar to our own. Highly regarded by all who have known and worked with him, Ray has a warm and engaging personality, a vision of the great potential that exists at Webb, and a will to make things happen to take Webb to the next level.”
Bondurant added, “His greatest strengths, I believe, rest in the relationships he will develop with students, faculty, staff, trustees and the community of Bell Buckle. We are fortunate to have found someone of his talents and skills.”
Broadhead has more than 34 years of experience in independent education. The founding headmaster at The Elon School, a day high school that opened in 2007, Broadhead spent the bulk of his career in teaching and administrative roles at Brooks School in North Andover, Mass., a boarding/day school with 360 students. Prior to leaving Brooks, he served as the assistant headmaster for seven years.
In addition to his work experience, Broadhead has a master’s degree in science from Brown University, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Broadhead said he is excited to have been selected for the post and to be moving to Bell Buckle, Tenn.
“My wife and I are honored and look forward to working with the faculty and board to make Webb the best it can be,” he said shortly after accepting the position Friday afternoon.
Broadhead said he is impressed by the traditions and history at Webb, particularly the student-led honor council.
“I like the sense of community at Webb; the faculty is very passionate and dedicated. And, being involved with a boarding school is something that I’ve missed (while working at Elon). You have a lot of opportunities to educate the whole student in a boarding environment,” he said.
The incoming head maintains one of the primary elements of an independent education today is providing students with top-notch faculty.
“You have to have faculty that really care about the students and an education that is very interactive. Attracting and retaining high quality teachers who are passionate and are life-long learners is key,” he said.
One of Broadhead’s stated priorities upon coming to Webb will be to work with trustees and administrators to improve residential living facilities and staffing.
“One of the biggest challenges is fundraising and that’s an important part of leading The Webb School into the future – finding financial partners and ways to excite people about the school, so that they will want to partner with it,” he added.
Broadhead’s wife, Leone, presently teaches biology, chemistry and earth science at a North Carolina charter school. Together they have three adult children.