Christopher Durst, who has been upper school principal at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta, has been tapped to lead The Altamont School.
“I am humbled and honored to serve the Altamont community as its next head of school,” Durst said in a statement issued by the school. “During the interview process, I learned about the school’s rich legacy of excellence and became inspired by the extraordinary commitment to the school through its distinguished faculty, supportive families, and talented students. The school has rightly earned its place as a preeminent independent school in the southeastern United States, and I eagerly look forward to getting to know the Altamont community as the school moves into its next iteration of excellence.”
Altamont’s search committee chair and board of trustees President Michael Denniston said the board was pleased with Durst’s commitment to the independent school model and his appreciation for Altamont’s mission, tradition and values.
“The board is convinced that his vision for Altamont will honor our traditions and culture and keep us on the forefront of modern education,” Denniston said in the statement. “These attributes are just a few of the reasons we believe him to be the best fit for Altamont.”
Durst was selected from a robust pool of applicants during a 10-month, national search headed by Carney Sandoe & Associates, a national search firm specializing in head of school searches for independent schools.
He will take over the job July 1. He succeeds Head of School Sarah Whiteside, who is retiring after 40 years with Altamont, 11 as head of school.
“At this exciting point in 21st century education, Chris Durst will join Altamont as a proven master teacher and as a servant-leader,” Whiteside said. “His insistence on a student-centered school is in keeping with Altamont’s mission and beliefs.”
Durst will become the fifth head of school since Altamont was formed in 1975 through the merger of Birmingham University School and Brooke Hill School.
Durst has more than 29 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in independent schools. He has served as upper school principal at Holy Innocents’ for 10 years. In that role, he increased enrollment by 15 percent, chaired the steering committee of an $8.4 million building project, served on the planning committee for a $13 million STEM building, instituted a dean system of administration and improved curriculum in the school’s core study areas.
At Holy Innocents’, Durst also served as middle school principal, upper school assistant principal and teacher of AP U.S. history. At the Alexander Dawson School in Colorado, Durst was dean of students, director of athletics, assistant director of admissions, AP U.S. history teacher and varsity boys basketball and soccer coach. He also taught and coached for seven years at The Columbus Academy in Ohio.
Durst holds bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees from The Ohio State University, where he was a two-year varsity letter winner in baseball.