John Wesley said, “Set yourself on fire and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”
(Palmer's favorite quote.)
Palmer Kennedy began serving as Advent’s Head of School in the summer of 2013, succeeding Una Battles, who had been Advent's Head for 43 years.
Prior to Advent, Palmer served for thirty years at two Episcopal Schools in Mobile. While at St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Palmer's roles included teacher, coach, and administrator. During his last ten years at St. Paul's as Upper School Principal, Palmer helped guide it to become the largest Episcopal School in the continental United States.
In 2006, Palmer accepted the position of Head of School at St. Luke’s Episcopal School, also in Mobile. During his leadership, St. Luke’s purchased an additional campus, which allowed St. Luke's to add a high school component to an outstanding PK-8 program. The first class of 37 graduated in 2013. Even though a very young program, St. Luke’s won two state athletic championships during Palmer's tenure.
With Advent's national stellar reputation, the Kennedys' could not refuse the invitation from the Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent and the Board of Trustees to “move north” and head the school in 2013, even though they were heavily vested in the Mobile community.
Palmer’s tenure at Advent has seen the creation of the Explorium, the Upper-School Library, the additions of a full-time Nurse and Directors of Admissions and Advancement, major security enhancements, and key technology advancements for students.
While in Mobile, Palmer also served as Chairman of the 3000 member Christ United Methodist Church and was campaign chair of a 9 million dollar campaign leading to the creation of a Christian education and recreation center.
Palmer has served as President of the AAIS (Alabama Association of Independent Schools) representing a strong commitment of independent schools in Alabama. In 2014, local AAIS member schools Advent, Altamont, Highlands, and Indian Springs merged with AISA (Alabama Independent School Association), creating the largest independent school association in the state representing 71 member schools. Palmer currently serves on its Board of Trustees.
Palmer has also recently been appointed to the SAIS (Southern Association of Independent Schools) Board of Trustees. SAIS is a service and accreditation organization serving over 375 member schools throughout the southeast and various international institutions.
Karen Kennedy, Palmer’s wife, works at ASFA (Alabama School of Fine Arts). Karen and Palmer have two children, both married. Their son Palmer resides in Birmingham and is completing his Masters in Divinity. Their daughter Laura Kathryn has a degree in graphic design and lives in the upper peninsula of Michigan with her husband.
Palmer’s favorite Scripture is from the Gospel of Luke: “Those to whom much has been given, much is expected.”