Kendell Berry, the former headmaster of Evansville Day School in Evansville, Ind., will serve as interim head of school at Davidson Day School starting Thursday, July 19. He has more than 30 years of educational, managerial and administrative leadership in independent education – as a teacher, coach, dean, business manager and head master. Mr Berry replaces former head of school Bonnie Cotter, who leaves because of “fundamental disagreements” on the school’s current and future direction, according to the board of trustees.
Mr. Berry served as head master in Evansville for the last five years, and prior to that he served as head master of Broadwater Academy, a college preparatory day school in Exmore, Va., for nine years.
He has an extensive business background, having served as business manager at successful independent schools for more than 20 years, including St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, Va. and The Blue Ridge School in St.George, Va. He is a graduate of Lynchburg College and the University of Virginia.
Board members declined to comment on Ms. Cotter’s departure, but in a letter to parents July 6 said:
“While we thank Bonnie Cotter for years of dedicated service, the Board and Mrs. Cotter have developed fundamental disagreements on the proper near-term and mid-term focus for the school as well as the path that will effectively lead us to the new campus. As a result, the DDS Board of Trustees and Mrs. Cotter have opted to amicably part ways.”
Also in the letter, board members said they have retained a national search firm to find a permanent head of school beginning in 2013-14, and have established a board search committee that includes faculty as well as parents representing early childhood through upper school.
In another email sent Tuesday, July 17, to Davidson Day parents, board members said they chose not to consider filling the interim position from within the school. They said:
“This option was discussed at length and in the end, we didn’t think that disrupting any of the Division Heads of our School would be prudent at this point in the school calendar. Davidson Day provides an exemplary educational experience as a result of our focused, hard-working administration. As a result, we decided that it was best for everyone to keep them in place and to have them continue to oversee the education that directly impacts our children – ultimately, what sets us apart from other schools in our region.”
The Davidson Day board members are: Richard Gordon (Chairman), Kurt Oosterhouse (Vice Chairman), Erin Breunig (Secretary), Jeff Bowling, Michael Brady, Eric Brown, Thomas Deane, Tricia Letarte, Richard Morris, Craig Rosato, Karen Wolter and Doug Yates.