Dear Wasatch Academy Community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the appointment of James Matthew Culberson, currently the Head of Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Washington as the next Head of Wasatch Academy effective July 1, 2020. Matt succeeds Joe Loftin who will stay for the 2020-2021 school year to assist in the transition and then will retire after 35 extraordinary years of service. We are deeply indebted to Joe for what he has accomplished at Wasatch Academy by transforming a small, regional boarding school into a richly diverse, globally-connected center of learning.
This appointment is the result of a long and thoughtful search that started ten months ago when the Search Committee began a national and international effort to recruit the strongest and best-matched candidates to our school. From an initial pool of more than 100 candidates who expressed interest in the position, the Search Committee eventually reduced the pool to seven candidates who were invited to participate in confidential interviews last month. Following these interviews, four candidates were invited to visit the school where they met with the Senior Administrative team, Joe Loftin, and the Search Committee. On September 25, the Search Committee unanimously selected Matt Culberson as its nominee for Head of School to the Board of Trustees, and on October 2, the Trustees unanimously approved the recommendation.
Matt Culberson grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and began his teaching career at Storm King School, a small boarding school in New York State. In addition to his duties as a teacher, dorm parent, and Dean of Students, Matt spent his summers as an instructor in the Outward Bound School in North Carolina. He then spent more than a decade as a professional mountain guide, leading expeditions in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Matt then served for several years as an instructor at the University of Denver before joining the faculty at Waterford School in Sandy, Utah in 1992 as a teacher, administrator, and coach. In 2006 Matt was appointed Head of The McGillis School in Salt Lake City where he served for ten years. In 2016 he assumed his current duties as Head of Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Washington. Matt holds a B.A. in Geology and Philosophy from Washington and Lee University and an M.A. in Philosophy and Ethics from the University of Denver.
Matt brings to his new role as Head of Wasatch Academy fourteen years as a head of school, extensive experience as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator, and a passion for climbing and traveling in the high alpine environment. Matt’s wife, Charlotte, is a former independent school educator and a former violinist with the Salt Lake and American West Symphonies. Matt and Charlotte have three married boys, two of whom are independent school educators. Matt and Charlotte look forward to returning to Utah.
As Matt and Charlotte look to join our school community, Matt offers these thoughts: “I am thrilled by the opportunity to join the global community that is Wasatch Academy and to be a part of Joe Loftin’s extraordinary legacy. The commitment to differentiated learning and helping students uncover their passions and abilities through individualized work and a plethora of incredible opportunities in a supportive community seems the ideal environment in which to learn. I am excited to work with the superb collection of educators and support staff that have gathered together in central Utah to provide an exceptional experience to every student every day. I am thrilled to return to Utah!”
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I extend my deep gratitude to Search Committee Chair Kelley Arnold and fellow Committee members Michael Murphy, Robert Kimsey, and Katie Hallett for their countless hours of dedicated service to this search and our school. We are also grateful for the guidance and support of Marcus Hurlbut and Joan Beauregard of Educators’ Collaborative.
The selection of the Head of School is one of the greatest responsibilities of trusteeship, and all of us in the Wasatch Academy family can be proud not only that Matt has accepted the appointment, but also that the scope of the search was so extensive and the qualities of the interested candidates so outstanding. We are delighted with the outcome and look forward to welcoming Matt and Charlotte to our school community. We also know that each of you will, in your own way, extend a warm welcome to them.
President, Board of Trustees