On Friday, June 8, the Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Dr. Anthony H. Sgro as Asheville School's ninth head of school, effective July 1, 2019. Sgro is a 1984 graduate of Asheville School and has worked as the head of Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School since 2011. He will succeed Mr. Archibald R. Montgomery IV, who is retiring after a 17-year career as the school's head.
Sgro says he looks forward to "coming home" to Asheville School. "My career in education has been shaped due entirely to my experience at Asheville School," he said. "I am committed to boarding school education because I understand how much can be learned from a strong faculty who are committed to the holistic education of their students in a boarding setting."
After conducting a year-long international search with over 100 candidates, the Head of School Search Committee chose Sgro based on his experience, vision and compassion.
Asheville School Academic Dean and Humanities Instructor Helen Plaehn, who served on the committee, says she is confident Sgro is the right choice for Asheville School.
"We had an extraordinary group of finalists, and this was a very difficult decision," Plaehn said. "What distinguished Dr. Sgro was both the breadth and the depth of his vision. It is clear he has a commitment to hiring and retaining a diverse faculty to best meet the needs of the students and to attracting and funding a diverse student body—economically, racially, and internationally. He holds a strong belief in the mission of the school."
Sgro brings a wealth of experience to the position.
After his graduation from Asheville School in 1984, he went on to Virginia Tech, where he earned his undergraduate degree and then a master's degree in public administration. Before working in independent education, Sgro worked as the deputy director of policy in the Office of the Governor of Virginia and then as a lecturer in government at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.
In 1999, he joined Woodberry Forest School as the director of external relations, where he oversaw the school's marketing and communications programs and development strategy. He worked in that position until 2005, when he was promoted to assistant headmaster and dean of students.
In his positions at Woodberry Forest School, he dove into the boarding school community. He lived in and supervised dorms, coached tennis, aided in college counseling and taught history classes.
In 2006, Sgro earned a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania.
He remained with Woodberry until his appointment as head of school at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in 2011. Since then, he has led the pre-k to grade 12 school in Rabun Gap, Georgia, and he was a 2016 Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University's Teachers College.
Sgro's appointment as Head of School marks the first time an alumnus will serve in the position. The combination of Sgro's school experience and alumni connection should strengthen his leadership role, said Tommy Shores, who graduated from Asheville School in 1985 and was a member of the Search Committee.
"Anthony Sgro brings a wonderful perspective to the job as Head of School for Asheville School," Shores said. "His years as a student at Asheville give him a true understanding of the traditions of our school and a knowledge of the transitions the school has made over the past 35 years."
Sgro is excited about his future at Asheville School. "I was attracted to this opportunity because I believe the school offers students an education that allows them to explore learning in a safe and caring setting," he said.
"The faculty members are creative educators who seek to challenge students in the classrooms, on the athletic fields, in the theater and in the dorms. My family and I look forward to becoming resident members of the Asheville School community next year. We are excited to come to know the faculty and students better by immersing ourselves in the life of the school."
Asheville School is a purposefully small community where each student is nurtured and supported. Plaehn says that Sgro will continue that focus on community that has come to characterize Asheville School. "In almost every conversation, ranging from teaching to discipline to culture to fundraising to marketing, Dr. Sgro always returned the conversation to the students," she said.
"It's clear that they are at the heart of what he does, and he spoke with principle and with compassion for both the joys and the challenges of working with young people in a boarding school environment. We believe he will lead our faculty in a collective vision for the school with humor and warmth and bedrock principles."
Sgro will officially begin his tenure as Asheville School's ninth head of school on July 1, 2019. He will be joined by his wife, Faulkner, and their three children: Huston, Grazia and Bagley.