Search News

Search Firm Announced

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

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

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, Current Grandparent, & Former Parent
Mark Gignilliat — Board Member & Current Parent
Craig Smalley — School Chaplain
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.