P. Chad Barnett, Ph.D., joined the St. Edmund’s Academy community as its Head of School in July 2014. Since that time, he has overseen a strategic planning process resulting in the school’s shared vision. Following that plan, the school implemented a daily schedule balancing the core academic program with dynamic enrichment electives and elevating signature experiences throughout the curriculum. Supporting the school’s commitment to cross-cultural competence, Chad restructured the school’s Senior Administrative Team in the Spring of 2019 to include a Director of Equity & Inclusion and instituted SEA-Connects Ambassadors to support inclusivity efforts through all levels of the community. In the fall of 2019, St. Edmund’s Academy will open the Center for Integrated Discovery, including a fully-renovated gymnasium, hall for visual & performing arts, and a multi-zone learning lab for interdisciplinary service projects.
Chad’s focus on independent school leadership began in 2003 with his appointment to the initial cohort of NAIS’s E.E. Ford Fellowship Program for Emerging School Leaders. Following that opportunity, Chad has been an active scholar, teacher, and leader in education. His early graduate work in 20th century American literature and postmodernism led to the publication of “Tradition and the Pace of Change in 21st Century Education
,” in Independent School Magazine
. Completed in 2018, Chad’s Doctoral Dissertation, The Head of School at Dystopia’s Edge: Relationship-Based Independent School Leadership in the Age of Networks,
through the University of Pittsburgh, explores the unintended consequences of social media and mobile technology on students, schools, and society and evaluates leadership solutions to replenish students exhausted by their networked lives.
Chad’s influence in independent schools extends throughout the state through his service on the Pennsylvania Association of Independent School’s Board of Directors as the Chair of the Committee on Directors. Additionally, Chad’s teaching career extends into higher education where he taught Methods of Teaching Secondary and Middle School English at Bethany College, WV, and served as a Teaching Fellow at The University of Pittsburgh where he taught Education and Society.
In addition to his years as a teacher and administrator, Chad’s career as an athlete and coach underlies his approach to leadership. The recipient of Bethany College’s Student-Athlete of the Year Award in 1996, Chad believes the team is always greater than the sum of its parts and focuses the group’s attention on shared outcomes and distributed responsibility.