Dr. Andy Surber of California’s Laguna Blanca School to lead GSL starting July 1, 2022
After a national search, the Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School Board of Trustees recently voted to appoint Dr. Andy Surber as the next Head of School, effective July 1, 2022.
Surber will succeed current Head of School Thor Kvande, whose tenure at GSL began in 2004 as Head of Middle School. Kvande transitioned to the Head of School role in 2011, and after successfully leading the school for the past decade, Kvande announced in May 2021 that he would be leaving GSL at the end of May 2022 to pursue new career opportunities.
Surber currently serves as the Assistant Head of School and Head of Lower School at Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara, California. Prior to his move to Laguna Blanca in 2013, he served as the Head of Lower School at GSL from 2009 to 2013. After leaving GSL, he earned his Ed.D. in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California. He also holds a B.S. in Child Development from Rockford University and an M.Ed. in Organizational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.
During his time at Laguna Blanca School, Surber led the stand-alone early kindergarten through fourth grade Montecito campus and served in many areas of the school, including admissions, fundraising, and overall school development and direction. According to Grace-St. Luke’s School Board President Paul Morris, president of Jack Morris Auto Glass, it was Surber’s enthusiasm and expertise that set him apart during the school’s national search.
“Our first and foremost priority at GSL is academic excellence,” Morris said. “Andy knows what that looks like and how to bring a community together in pursuit of that goal. He is a relationship builder and has the skill set needed to advance GSL. The school is about to celebrate 75 years in existence, and it has been inspiring to hear his optimism and vision for the future. I am certain that he has what it takes to ensure our long-term success and sustainability.”
Surber is looking forward to joining the GSL community and forging relationships in Memphis.
“It’s a dream come true to lead a school that I care for so deeply,” he said. “Since its founding, GSL has been recognized for both strong academics and the meaningful relationships that ensure every child is known and valued. The school has talented faculty and staff, a passionate alumni base, and a strong sense of community. There is clear intentionality on the part of the faculty as they commit to nurturing each student and offering important lessons – from age 2 through eighth grade – that lead children to learn and grow into the best versions of themselves.
“GSL graduates are known to be community-centered, kind, intelligent, and well-rounded, so it is no surprise they are sought after by high schools throughout the city,” Surber added. “I am eager to meet and build relationships with students, families, peer schools, and local businesses, and I am really excited about what’s ahead for the GSL community.”
The Education Group’s Marci McLean and Jay Philpott served as consultants for GSL’s national search, and the search process was coordinated by the Board’s search committee, chaired by immediate past Board President Liz Keough.