Hilton Head Prep begins search for new headmaster

Peter Cooper
Peter Cooper

Hilton Head Preparatory School is looking for a new headmaster for the second time in less than two years.

But this search has long been expected, according to the private school's board.

Current headmaster Peter Cooper took over in July 2012, following the resignation of Anthony Kandel. Cooper also was the school's interim headmaster in 2008-09 before Kandel was hired.

A July 11 email from the chairman of the school's board of trustees to parents and faculty said Cooper was hired for a two-year interim period that ends next July.

Steve Marbut said that in addition to providing stability, Cooper was hired to help the school earn re-accreditation from the Southern Association of Independent Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and to develop the school's five-year strategic plan. Both tasks were completed last school year.

"Both the board and Peter agreed that we should follow the original, two-year time frame and begin the process of a search for a long-term headmaster who will bring the skill set to build and expand on the various initiatives we have undertaken," Marbut wrote. "Launching the search in the coming weeks provides sufficient time for a successful outcome."

Attempts Friday to reach Marbut and members of the school's search committee were unsuccessful.

"By the time our new headmaster assumes this position in July 2014, the school will have continued its progress in offering distance (online) learning, enrolling international students and enabling deserving students to study at Prep through our generous financial-aid program," Cooper wrote in an email to The Island Packet.

Challenges for the future include increasing the school's enrollment, improving facilities, bringing more technology into the classroom, and sustaining the caring relationships between teachers and students, he said.

"It's time for someone to step in to expand upon that foundation," Cooper said. "I've enjoyed my time here and look forward to retiring on Hilton Head."

Related content:

New Hilton Head Prep headmaster looks to long-range planning: April 6, 2012