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Carlisle appoints new head of school
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Sunday, September 30, 2012


Thomas P. Hudgins has been named the seventh head of school at Carlisle School.

Hudgins, 57, is a native of Virginia Beach who has spent the past 35 years in education and administration. He currently is assistant headmaster for institutional advancement at Girls Preparatory School (GPS) in Chattanooga, Tenn., a position he has held since 2007.

Hudgins said he is still under contract at GPS, and plans to start at Carlisle after July 1.

He will succeed Dr. Barry Dorsey, who became the interim head of school after retiring from New College Institute in January 2012. Dorsey said Friday he will remain at Carlisle until Hudgins arrives, and then he may join a registry that fills interim college presidencies.

Hudgins said Carlisle’s reputation and location played a part in his decision to join the school.

“I had known of the school, of course, coming from Virginia,” he said Friday. “It just seemed like a good fit.”

Girls Preparatory has nearly 600 students from grades 6-12 and, like Carlisle, it features a fine arts program. Hudgins said the International Baccalaureate program at Carlisle was of particular interest.

“I have spent a lot of years at some schools that were pretty progressive in the classroom,” he said. “I really like what Carlisle is doing with the International Baccalaureate program. I’m interested in helping them broaden that.”

The International Baccalaureate (IBO) program for students ages 3 through 19 focuses on intellectual, personal, emotional and social education. Carlisle is one of 3,476 IBO schools in 143 countries according to its website,

Hudgins knows the importance science and technology will hold with current students and beyond, and said he hopes to help Carlisle prepare students for next-generation jobs.

“All educators are watching what is going on in the job market today,” said Hudgins, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington & Lee University in Lexington. “If I were in college today, I don’t know that I would make sure I’d make the same choice to major in English.”

Science is “where kids are going to get jobs,” he said.

Hudgins said he is interested in getting to know the students and faculty at Carlisle when he starts in July.

“I’ll do a lot of listening my first year,” he said. “I know it’s a school that wants very much to provide the best education that they can do.”

Since he’s under contract at GPS, he said he can do little before he makes the move to Henry County.

But “in between now and then I’ll be working with the board and Dr. Dorsey,” Hudgins said.

He added he was “fascinated by the prospect of uniting the three campuses” Carlisle has in Axton, Danville and Chatham.

Hudgins has a master’s degree in educational administration from Old Dominion University. He has worked as interim headmaster at Salisbury Academy in Salisbury, N.C.; headmaster at Westchester Academy in High Point, N.C.; and headmaster at The Heritage School in Newnan, Ga.

He spent 22 years in various roles at Norfolk Academy in Norfolk, including assistant headmaster and Upper School director.

Hudgins and his wife, Janet, have two daughters, Kayleigh, 20, who is a junior at the University of Tennessee, and, Joanna, 19, a freshman at Auburn.


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