published Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Autumn Graves named new head of Girls Preparatory School

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    A student speaks with Autumn Adkins Graves. Photo by Jeff LaFave.

Autumn Adkins Graves has been named the new head of school at Girls Preparatory School, effective July 1, 2014, according to an announcement by the board of trustees.

She will be the successor to Randy Tucker, who long headed the private girls school in Chattanooga.

Her selection unanimously by the school's board of trustees came after enthusiastic and unanimous recommendation of the search committee, which was “captivated by her warmth, intelligence and passion for education,” Board Chair Nini Davenport said.

“The board of trustees searched for a leader who connects with people in a personal and engaging way; who has a passion for our mission of educating girls; who shares our values; and who has innovative ideas for the future while respecting our honored past and traditions," Davenport said. "We looked for a person who would build a strong sense of community on campus and champion GPS locally, nationally, and globally while upholding our high level of academic standards. [In Autumn,] we found all of this, and more.”

“The first time I met with the search committee, I could feel GPS’s genuine commitment to preparing young girls to be strong, educated, independent, thoughtful women who are equipped to be civic and professional leaders in the 21st century," Graves said. "This commitment resonates with me personally and professionally, and I am excited to join a school community that truly believes in educating the whole girl and values the teaching of respect and responsibility through discovery and with excellence.”

Graves has years of educational experience, including most recently serving as president of Girard College, an independent boarding school for students grades 1-12 in Philadelphia. She also previously served as upper school dean of students at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

She grew up in Richmond, Va., and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia. She holds a master's degree from Columbia University and is currently a doctoral candidate in higher education management at the University of Pennsylvania.

Her husband, R. Vann Graves, serves as executive vice president and global executive creative director of McCann Worldgroup, a leading global advertising and communications firm headquartered in New York City.

Among her honors are being named "O Magazine's" Woman to Watch for the Decade in 2010.

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