A. Lee Burns III Named McCallie School's Next Headmaster

Monday, July 1, 2013
A. Lee Burns III
A. Lee Burns III

A. Lee Burns III has been named the next headmaster of The McCallie School, effective next summer. Mr. Burns graduated from McCallie in 1987. He will succeed Dr. Kirk Walker, who announced his retirement in January.

A statement from the school's board's Elliot Davenport said, "On behalf of the Board of Trustees and with the unanimous recommendation of the Headmaster Search Committee, it is my pleasure to announce the selection of A. Lee Burns III ’87 as McCallie School’s next headmaster, effective the summer of 2014.

"The upcoming school year will be Lee’s fourteenth as headmaster of Presbyterian Day School (PDS) in Memphis, a Pre-K through 6th-grade all-boys school of more than 600 students on a 29-acre campus.
Dr. Kirk Walker Jr. ’69 will lead McCallie through the 2013-14 school year, his fifteenth as McCallie’s headmaster.
"Lee’s roots with McCallie run deep, and generations of alumni know him and his family well. He is a third-generation alumnus whose grandfather, “Major” Arthur Lee Burns ’20, served McCallie students from 1925 to 1972 as a teacher, Foreign Language Chair, Dean of Students and Associate Headmaster. As a student at McCallie, Lee achieved at the highest levels academically and was elected to numerous key student leadership organizations including the Senate, the school’s honor council, and as president of Keo-Kio, the school’s senior leadership organization. He was also a stand-out tennis player at McCallie and has earned state and national tennis recognition. After graduating cum laude from Dartmouth College, he began his professional career as an educator working in the McCallie admission office prior to earning his master’s in educational administration from Harvard University.
"Lee understands the benefits and power of an all-boys educational environment and has spent his career in the service of all-boys schools. Prior to his appointment at PDS, he served as a teacher, coach and administrator at Christ School, an all-boys boarding high school in North Carolina. He recently co-authored “Flight Plan,” a book about the journey from boyhood to manhood that is a source of instruction and encouragement for boys, their parents and other adults who work with boys.
"His accomplishments and status as a leader in the independent school field are recognized nationwide. Lee currently serves as the President of the Elementary School Heads Association, a group of some 250 heads of K-6 and K-8 independent schools across the country. He is a member of the Country Day School Headmasters Association and the Visionary Heads Group. He served as a task force member to help the National Association of Independent Schools develop “Principles of Good Practice for Middle School Education” and has been a regular presenter at an impressive list of national conferences.
"Lee makes academics and teachers a priority. He serves as chairman of the board of trustees of the Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence in Memphis, an institute which provides professional development for public and independent schools. PDS and the institute have recently partnered with the Harvard Graduate School of Education to host their “Project Zero” teacher training program in 2014.
"His appointment is the result of the work of many people and is the culmination of an extensive national search. We thank Linc Eldredge and Jessica Cockrell from our search consulting firm, Brigham Hill Consultancy, for their guidance and support. I also thank the other six members of the headmaster search committee, and especially our chairman, Hacker Caldwell ’66. Hal Daughdrill ’73, Houston Hunt ’76, Kincaid Mills ’88, Carter Newbold ’84 and Jim Ruffin ’80 invested a tremendous amount of effort and time in the process, and their contributions were invaluable.
"We also enthusiastically welcome back to McCallie Lee’s wife, Sarah, and their three children, Betsy (10), Arthur (9) and Preston (3).
"Lee Burns understands McCallie as an institution in both its historical context and for its potential to lead in today’s educational environment. He has spent his career dedicated to the principles and values that guide our school’s mission. We look forward to welcoming Lee back to the Ridge and leading us into an exciting new era."

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