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Meet the Head of School

Getting to Know Stephen SchoolsStephen Schools, the new Head of School at Lake Mary Preparatory School, brings impressive experience as a teacher, administrator, and educational leader. We had the opportunity to sit down with Stephen during pre-planning for a wide-ranging conversation about his background, beliefs, and priorities for the coming year and the future of Lake Mary Prep.

As I begin my time at Lake Mary Prep, I am looking forward to visiting classrooms, attending plays and musical performances, cheering from the stands at our athletic events and being fully integrated as a Griffin!

-Stephen Schools

A Conversation with Stephen Schools

Stephen, before coming to Lake mary preparatory school, your most recent educational experience was as head of school at Beaufort Academy. What is your approach to leadership?

I believe that one of the keys to good leadership is to listen. A former mentor of
mine had the innate ability to be present when you were in conversation with him.
He made you feel as if you were the most important item on his plate at any
given time. This ability to be present is not always easy, but it is something I
strive for every day.

When did you know you wanted to become an educator?

When I was in 9th grade. I was in math class and took a minute to observe my
teacher in his natural habitat and realized that he seemed to be genuinely
enjoying his work. I basically knew right then that I wanted to pursue a career in

What is the best piece of advice you ever received as an educator, and how do you see it applying to your new role as Head of School?

Advanced degrees and a strong background are important aspects of school
leadership, but what matters most is how you treat people. In my role as Head of
School, I will do all I can to treat people with respect, gratitude, and kindness.

When you interviewed for this position, what is something that stood out to you the most and what did you find most unique about Lake mary preparatory school?

The variety of offerings that Lake Mary Preparatory School has available was something that really stood out for me. For a school of this size, Lake Mary Prep does a wonderful job at providing a diverse and challenging curriculum. In addition, the sense of community and a genuinely caring culture was unique to Lake Mary Prep. It was clear that this is a community that
sincerely cares about its people.

Having experience as a Head of School, what are you looking forward to the most this school year?  

In my first experience as a head of school, we were tasked with creating a strategic plan in an accreditation year. As I begin this journey, the strategic plan is in place and the accreditation is complete, so it is exciting to be able to start this school year  with those two critical items in place. Preston and the Leadership Team did a fantastic job in the creation of our strategic plan, and I am looking forward to helping the plan become a reality.

What are your priorities for the coming year?

The two largest priorities as I begin at Lake Mary Prep are implementing the strategic plan
and getting to know this community. We have already begun developing a road
map for the steps in completing the strategic plan over the next three years, and I
am excited to get to know all of the students, faculty, staff, and parents within the
LMP community in the coming months.

Fast Facts About Stephen Schools

Origins: I was born and lived for 40 years (with the exception of the college years) in Charleston, SC. I spent all 12 years of grade school in one independent school and eventually worked at that school for 16 years. 

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master’s in Mathematics Teaching from The Citadel in Charleston, and a M.Ed. in Private School Leadership from Columbia University in New York.

Before LMP: When I left Beaufort Academy, my family and I went back to Charleston, SC for family reasons, and I spent 4 years in the Software Development industry writing code and being a Project Leader. I am thrilled to be getting back to the career I love!

Hobbies: Spending time with family, visiting the area theme parks, listening to podcasts, reading nonfiction, and learning how to cook.