Educational Directions: Team Member

D. John Watson, PhD


Head of School Search, Senior Administrator Search, Organizational Development, Governance

John Watson has worked with independent schools in governance, leadership development and executive searches through Educational Directions, Inc. since 2017. John was Head of School at Seacrest Country Day School (FL) from 2012-2017, and at West Nottingham Academy (MD), a boarding and day school founded in 1744 from 2002-2012. John holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Northern Michigan University, and an MA and PhD in Music Composition and Theory from the University of Minnesota. During his thirteen years in the Twin Cities, John was an active composer and conductor as well as an educator.

John began his independent school career at Breck School (MN), an independent Episcopal PK-12 school as co-chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. From 1992-2002 John served as Assistant Head and Academic Dean in three boarding schools; Darrow School (NY), Peddie School (NJ) and Cheshire Academy (CT).

John employed a shared leadership style during fifteen years as a head of school at both Seacrest and West Nottingham, empowering the community to strive for clarity and innovation by engaging faculty, students, parents and trustees in deep, mission-centered exploration of programs. John believes that as a head of school, the most important role one fulfills is to help a school to embody its mission to the fullest, and that while change is inevitable, change driven by mission is the most likely to flourish and endure.

John served for six years on the Association of Maryland and DC Independent Schools Board of Directors, and on several regional arts boards over the years. John and his wife, Bonnie, live in Brentwood, TN, ND have three children and five grandchildren in Brentwood, Los Angeles and Seattle.
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