Search News

List of 10 items.

  • Head of School Announcement--October 04, 2021

    October 04, 2021

    Dear Advent Community,
    It is with great pleasure that we announce Ms. Claire Vaughn as Advent Episcopal School’s next Head of School. Ms. Vaughn will be Advent’s sixth Head of School in its 71-year history as well as Advent’s first alumni to return as its leader.
    Ms. Vaughn graduated from Advent in 2003 as winner of both the Crawford T. Johnson Award and the Student Leadership Award.  Her time at Advent instilled a passion for life-long learning, leading her to success in both her academic career and her professional career. After Advent, Claire attended Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN and earned her Bachelor of Science in Child Studies from Vanderbilt University. After graduating from Vanderbilt, Claire served St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, NC as the Assistant Director of Admission and Financial Aid until she moved back to Birmingham to join Indian Springs School as its Director of Admission and Financial Aid. Claire joined Advent in 2018 to become our Director of Advancement and in 2020 became the Assistant Head of School for Advancement.
    In December 2020, Advent Episcopal School officially announced the launch of a nationwide search for its next Head of School. A Search Committee was formed, and a national consulting search firm was engaged to aid in this process. In March 2021, Claire was announced as the Interim Head of School, effective June 2021. In this short time, Claire has made many notable improvements, exhibited strong leadership skills, and demonstrated the ability and desire to create a vision for the school. The Search Committee and Board of Trustees recently completed the robust search process which included a deep dive into the history, culture and state of affairs of the school; nationwide marketing of the position; multiple rounds of interviews; and three finalist candidates to visit campus and meet with Trustees, Faculty, Staff, and Parents. Ms. Vaughn was one of these finalist candidates, and she emerged as the ideal leader for our school. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to recommend Ms. Vaughn as our next Head of School.
    Please join us in welcoming and celebrating our next Head of School, Ms. Claire Vaughn.
    Craig Smalley,
    Chairman, Board of Trustees
    Drew Langloh
    President, Board of Trustees
  • News from the Search Committee—August 10, 2021

    Dear Advent Parents,
    Greetings to you all, our thoughts and prayers are with you as school begins next week! There is so much excitement and anticipation around those first few days – it fills the heart to even think about it!
    The Search Committee has made substantial progress in the last few weeks, and we are excited to be able to share some of this news. We are pleased to announce that we have three finalists that will be joining our campus in the month of September. The first finalist, we are thrilled to say, is our very own Claire Vaughn. We are grateful for the work she has put in over the summer and for this upcoming year. In addition, there are two external candidates that we have named as finalists who will be joining us on campus in September. We will be providing more information on these candidates closer to time.
    The Search Committee and our consultants will be working closely with an Advent Parent Advisory Council, made up of parents with students in a variety of different grade levels, in the next steps of the search process. This group of parents will be interviewing each of the finalists and providing important feedback from a parent perspective to the Search Committee. We are grateful for this Council for their willingness to serve.
    As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us with questions or concerns. Emily Curran, Chair of the Search Committee, can be reached at 205.542.1101 or
    Gratefully yours,
    AES Search Committee
  • Head of School Search Update—July 27, 2021

    Dear Advent Parents,

    Summer is almost over and soon our students will be back in the hallways! Thanks to the improvements taking place over the summer, the school is looking clean, fresh and ready for a new school year. We want to give a big thanks to everyone who has been working so hard to complete this work before the first day of school. 

    When we last updated you, we were quickly approaching the application deadline for a new Head of School. We reached that deadline on July 15th. Our consultants with RG175, Tom Olverson and Arlyce Seibert, have been carefully vetting incoming applications on a rolling basis. We are grateful for the hard work they have put in to be able to submit to us a pool of applicants for us to consider. We anticipate being able to conduct interviews in early August. Once the interviews are complete, we will determine which of these candidates we consider finalists and will invite them to visit our campus. We will provide an update prior to those visits taking place.

    As we have communicated to you before, we have been very pleased with the work by Claire Vaughn as Interim Head of School. Her new ideas and new energy have provided a fresh and exciting feel to the school. 
    As a reminder, you can find previous communications from the Search Committee here.

    Blessings to everyone and please stay safe,

    HOS Search Committee
  • Message from the Search Committee—June 10, 2021

    Dear Advent Community,
    Greetings from the Head of School Search Committee. We hope your summer is off to a good start!
    As you all know, we are currently in the application phase of the search for a permanent Head of School. The position statement was officially posted on the RG175 website on March 16th and will officially be closed on July 15th. Ours is the first opening listed on their website thanks to our alphabetical standing. Their team continues to advertise to their network of over 4,000 individuals in addition to listing it in the Educational Directive’s Blue Sheet, a resource for leadership opportunities in independent schools, which includes a network of approximately 8,000 individuals. We also continue to share the position statement with those within our own networks. We encourage you to share as well. The position statement is attached here for your convenience or you can direct them to the RG175 website.
    We speak frequently with our consultants as they continue to assess applicants and seek out leaders that can articulate and embody our mission. We are so grateful for the work they have invested in Advent. They are committed to helping us identify the ideal applicant pool for us to consider. When their work is complete, we will review and select which of the recommended applicants that we feel are potential candidates to invite to our campus. We anticipate providing an update at that time.
    In the meantime, we are very pleased with the leadership of our Interim Head of School, Claire Vaughn. Her experience as Advent’s Assistant Head of School and Director of Advancement is highly beneficial in this interim period. Our Board of Trustees Transition Team members meet with her regularly to provide support and guidance in this interim period. We commend her for the management team she has appointed and with the new hires and transitions. She also provides careful thought to the overall programming of the school, facility enhancements and other areas. We are grateful for these efforts. We know that our school will be ready for a great year providing a superior education for our students when we return from the summer and beyond!
    We look forward to seeing who God has for us to lead our Advent Episcopal School into the future. Please reach out to Emily Curran if you have any questions. (Email: / Cell: 205.542.1101).
    Thank you,
    Head of School Search Committee
  • Position Statement Posted—March 16, 2021

    Dear Advent Faculty & Parents, 
    We are pleased to announce the posting of the Position Statement for our Head of School Search on the RG175 website and the Advent website. This marks the official launch of nationwide recruitment for applications to be submitted to RG175.
    Our consultants will spend the better part of the spring and summer reviewing these applications, selecting the most qualified, conducting interviews, performing reference checks and background checks, and discerning which applicants the Search Committee should consider. In August and September, the Search Committee will meet to review the applicants that RG175 has brought forward and select 6-8 of these applicants as semi-finalists to interview. After the Search Committee interviews the semi-finalists and completes reference checks, we will choose three finalists to visit campus during the month of October and possibly early November. 

    The Search Committee is excited about the official launch of the Search for a Head of School and looks forward to the possibilities that will be presented in the coming months. Please do not hesitate to call Emily Curran at 205.542.1101 if you have any questions or concerns.
    Advent Episcopal School - Head of School Position Statement.pdf
    (A full version of the Position Statement can be found on the RG175 website.)
    Thank you for your commitment to Advent Episcopal School.
    AES Search Committee
  • Interim Head of School Announcement—March 8, 2021

    Dear Advent Community,

    It is with great pleasure that we announce our new Interim Head of School for 2021-2022, Claire Vaughn.
    The Board of Trustees and the Search Committee have made this recommendation to us, which we have enthusiastically accepted. Her love for Advent began as a student and has continued to grow in her role over the last three years as Director of Advancement, and most recently as Assistant Head of School for Advancement. As a graduate of Advent, Claire received the Crawford T. Johnson and Leadership Awards.  She recently stated, “…no doubt my love for learning took root during my ten years at Advent.”
    Prior to her position at Advent, Claire served as Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Indian Springs School and Assistant Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, NC. If you do not know Claire already, you will find her thoughtful, a good listener, a strong communicator, and wise beyond her years. We are grateful that she has agreed to accept this position and look forward to her leadership in the upcoming year.

    The Search Committee will continue their work to identify a permanent Head of School for the following year. They will provide more information soon on completing the Position Statement and an approximate timeline moving forward.

    Claire will be working closely with Palmer through this transition and will officially begin her new role on June 1st. Please join us in welcoming Claire in her new position! 
    Thank you for all you do for Advent.

    Andrew Pearson & Drew Langloh
  • Important Update from the Search Committee—February 24, 2021

    Dear Advent Community,
    We wanted to keep you updated on the most recent work from the Search Committee. With the advice of our consultants, it was decided earlier today that our work as a committee will be pivoting to the search for an Interim Head for 2021-2022, followed by a search for a permanent head. We believe this to be the best course of action for the school at this time and are dedicated to identifying the perfect person for these roles. We share with each of you your passion for Advent and are excited about the next chapter. We will update you soon on the steps moving forward.
    AES Head of School Search Committee
  • Search Firm Announced—January 8, 2021

    Friday, January 8, 2021

    Dear Advent Episcopal School Family,
    The Search Committee and the Board of Trustees are pleased to announce that we have engaged the services of the consulting firm Resource Group 175 to assist us in our search for a new Head of School. We spoke with four other consulting firms before deciding to engage RG175. Tom Olverson and Arlyce Seibert, the RG175 consultants working with us, come highly recommended. We spoke with many of their references, most notably with Indian Springs’ Search Chair, Lia Rushton. Tom and Arlyce are known for their talent in identifying the nature and the character of a particular school and the leadership that is needed at that particular time. Prior to their affiliation with RG175, Tom and Arlyce were both long-serving successful Heads of School for highly regarded independent schools. They also have many years of experience with accreditation associations and other academic associations. We are looking forward to their guidance in this process and the resulting growth for our community that we anticipate.
    We will need your help. The first phase of RG175's work is the Discovery Process. This process involves each one of us to provide our thoughts, hopes, and vision for Advent. This information will be sought primarily in a survey platform, but there will also be interviews and other personal conversations. Once they have collected and compiled all the information from us, they will create a Position statement and a Head of School Profile. These documents will then be used in the recruitment of a new Head of School.
    The Discovery Process has already begun, and you will be receiving more information on your participation in the coming days or week. Hiring a permanent Head of School in time for Summer 2021 may prove difficult. Though we are working rapidly now, we will not forego any part of the process in order to meet this deadline. With that in mind, we have also engaged RG175 to identify an Interim Head of School for Summer 2021, should that be necessary. Should we hire an Interim, we will have the opportunity to examine our school and our leadership needs more fully. It will also allow for a very robust candidate pool to select from.
    Again, we are looking forward to this process and the opportunity to come together with our thoughts and vision for Advent. Do not hesitate to reach out to the Search Committee at or to Emily Curran at for any questions or concerns.
    Advent Episcopal School Board of Trustees

  • Letter from the Board of Trustees—December 3, 2020

    Thursday, December 3, 2020
    Dear Advent Episcopal School Family,

    It is with a heavy heart that we write to you today. Our beloved Head of School, Palmer Kennedy, has accepted a job as Head of a much larger school, Jackson Academy, in Jackson, Mississippi. We are excited for Palmer and offer him our heartfelt congratulations on this new opportunity; at the same time, we acknowledge that his departure is a significant loss for all of us here at Advent. 

    Palmer was recruited to Advent in 2013 and came with a wealth of experience. In his prior roles, Palmer served in Mobile as the Principal for St. Paul’s Upper School for ten years and seven years as Head of School for St. Luke’s.

    For seven years, Palmer has served our school in extraordinary ways, leading a successful transition following the 43-year tenure of Una Battles. Palmer led us through the retirement of a number of key faculty, finding brilliant new faculty to keep the school operating at a high level. The essential foundational elements of Advent were honored and preserved, following the school mission to “provide students a superior education in a caring, Christian environment to prepare them for a life of continued learning, leadership, and service.”

    Along the way, Palmer launched PantherNet communication systems and online assignment and grade support, drawing parents, students, and teachers closer using technology. This laid the groundwork for what has made the HyFlex program the front-line tool in distance learning required by the COVID-19 challenges. 

    The new Student Services department provides better support for students, families, and faculty, and systematic study and standardized test scores to advance all academic programs. 
    And most importantly, he promoted an environment where hard work and academic excellence are recognized. Advent was named the state’s top AISA K-8 school for the last five years in a row and was awarded titles in math, spelling, writing, and French.

    We are grateful to Palmer for his years of dedication to Advent. In the months ahead, we encourage you to take time to thank him for his many contributions to our school. 
    The Board of Trustees is committed to the mission of our school and has already begun the process of searching for a new Head of School. A search committee will be announced soon to seek out and find a new leader that is equally committed to that mission and will build on the unique foundation of our school. Our goal is to have a search firm selected by the end of 2020 and a new head in place during the summer of 2021. There will be meetings with parents, faculty, and other stakeholders during the search process. And of course, Palmer will continue to provide leadership to the school until his departure next June.
    Andrew Pearson
    Chairman, Board of Trustees
    Drew Langloh
    President, Board of Trustees
  • Message from Palmer Kennedy, Head of School—December 3, 2020

    In 1950 Mrs. Clifford McWhorter, in conjunction with the Church, established Advent Episcopal Day School. While much has changed over the past seventy years, the essential foundational elements of an Advent education have not. In 2013 Advent welcomed my wife and me to Birmingham, and it has been a privilege working alongside such devoted and brilliant educators.

    My favorite scripture is found in the gospel of Luke. “Those to whom much is entrusted, much is required.” When I arrived at Advent, I promised Una Battles, the 43-year Headmistress, and Mr. Bill Tynes, Advent’s 30-year President of the Board, that I would take special care of the school. I am so proud of all we have accomplished during my tenure here, and I thank the faculty, staff, Board, and Church for their dedication. This team has demonstrated commitment beyond any measure I have been a part of before.

    At this time in my personal, educational journey, I feel it is time for me to take another step, and I have accepted the position of Head of School at Jackson Academy in Jackson, Mississippi. I will miss Advent as I move to Jackson at the end of this school year, but I believe the Lord has always provided the right people at the right time for Advent’s needs, and this will once again be the case.

    Let us all stay razor-focused on our students, our need to overcome Covid and all its related challenges, and as always, our need to be a sanctuary amid health, political, and social unrest. This is a time when Advent can shine brightest, so let’s do it! Please pray for all students, educators, and parents. It is needed. We have a lot to accomplish as we roll out some exciting plans for next year in the coming weeks.

    I thank you for your support and trust. God bless you, and God bless Advent!

    Go Panthers!

Search Committee

Emily Curran, Chair — Board Member
Susie Fawal — Retired Faculty & Former Parent
David Fleming — Board Member & Former Parent
Victor Hanson — Board Member & Former Parent
Mark Gignilliat — Board Member & Current Parent
Janice Vickers — Board Member & Former Parent

Questions or Comments for the Search Committee?

Staff, alumni, parents, students, and community members can share comments and ask questions by emailing
Founded in 1950 and located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, Advent Episcopal School is a coeducational, college-preparatory day school for students grades Pre-Kindergarten through 8th.