Head of School

Meet Walker's Head of School, Carl Carlson

Carl C. Carlson has compiled a distinguished career as an educator over the past 30 years. After spending the first 23 years of his career working as a teacher, coach and administrator in traditional New England boarding schools, for the past eight years, Carl has worked in an urban, multi-division day school as Head of High School for Tampa Preparatory School, which proudly calls itself “Florida’s Most Innovative School.” Carl has extensive and versatile experience in all aspects of an independent school and considers independent school education his life’s work, personal purpose and an extension of his core values.
Carl comes from a family of educators and grew up as a faculty child on three different boarding school campuses in New England.  After attending Wesleyan University (where he fell in love with economics), Carl began his career as a teacher, coach and dorm parent at St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts. After four years, he returned to school and earned his master’s degree in education from Harvard University. In the summer of 1995, he married his wife, Alison, and began an 18-year stay at the Taft School in Connecticut, where he taught math and economics, coached basketball and soccer, lived in dorms and served in a variety of administrative roles. In the summer of 2013, his family moved to Tampa, Fla., where he began his role at Tampa Prep. Carl and Alison, who also works in independent school education, have three children: Cameron, age 23; Owen, age 20; and Zachary, age 17. His personal interests include travel, basketball, music, gardening, reading, cooking and the Red Sox (soon to be Braves!).

A Letter from Mr. Carlson

Dear Walker Community,
I write to you brimming with excitement for the 2023-24 school year to begin! This past school year was very successful, and the upcoming year is positioned to be even better. We will begin the year with enrollment above 950 students, more than 30 students more than last year at this time! Interest in Walker continued to be strong throughout the summer, and most of our grades have waitlists. 
This week we will be welcoming to campus an incredibly talented and diverse group of students across all of our divisions. In addition, we have an impressive group of new employees who arrived last week for their orientation. Collectively, they bring an incredible amount of talent, experience, energy and different perspectives that will make Walker even more dynamic and impressive. 

Summer Activity
Summer is an important time for students, teachers and staff to get away, experience adventures and recharge for the year. With this in mind, one might expect a dormant campus over the summer, but Walker has been buzzing with activities. We hosted a record number of children in our summer camps over the past nine weeks, including offerings such as Summer Explorers, Ninja Camp, Garden Club, Fishing at the Farm, Kid Cuisine, Ceramics & Sculpture, Atlanta Adventures and many more. We also had academic enrichment opportunities such as Geometry, Academic Voyages, Wealthy Habits, Computer Science, Sensational Science and Journalism & Speech. The athletic facilities were busy with Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer, Cheer, Football, Tennis, Speed & Agility and Cross Country. Over the final weeks of the summer, it has been heartening to see twice as many football players as last year out on Robertson Field for preseason. On a related note, we had a strong spring season in many sports, and we finished the 2022-23 school year sixth out of 41 schools in Class 2A in the Directors Cup. Wolverine Athletics are on the move! 

Summer is also a time when we can work on the campus, and there are a number of improvements that have been made. The classrooms on the first hallway in the main building got an upgrade with a new paint job and ceiling tiles. Several of the classrooms had new furniture installed along with 10 new ActivPanels. The Chorus Room for the Middle and Upper School students was remodeled. Muthiah Gymnasium got a facelift with a paint job and new carpeting. Future work in Muthiah and around Robertson Field is coming thanks to support from the Wolverine Club. The Walker School Association funded a complete overhaul of the Faculty break room in the Main Building as well as the overhaul of a classroom.

There are more improvements on the horizon, and we are incredibly appreciative of the support from all of our generous parent groups. Information will be shared over the upcoming weeks about ways to get involved in the 2023-24 school year.

Our teachers and administrators took advantage of the summer to grow professionally by attending and presenting at conferences. Collectively, Walker School teachers spent nearly 1,000 hours at conferences and workshops, in addition to countless additional hours working during their summer vacation to improve as educators. We have Wolverines who gave presentations at major conferences: 
  • Dr. Greg Chalfin, Head of Middle School, presented “Using Crisis to Catalyze Innovation” at the Southern Association of Independent Schools’ Summer Conference in Sarasota, Fla. 
  • Lower School Counselor Kristin Moffett presented at the 2023 Summer Counselor Conference. Her session was titled “More Than Diversity: DEI, Race, and Racism for Elementary School Students.” Kristin also was featured on Carol Miller's “Counseling Essentials” podcast this summer about how DEI curriculum was developed and implemented in the Lower School. To learn more, check out the podcast HERE.
Accreditation and Strategic Plan
This year we will be involved in two major projects that will help to shape the direction of the school over the next five to 10 years — the creation of a Strategic Plan for Walker and a comprehensive self-study as part of the SAIS (Southern Association of Independent Schools) accreditation process. These two major projects will require significant contributions from all stakeholders in the community as we shape a vision and plan for the direction of The Walker School moving forward. 
  • Strategic Planning Task Force composed of five Board of Trustee members and five Senior Administrators will lead the strategic planning process. The culmination of this process will be a document that gives us a roadmap for the next five years. The first step taken by this group was to hire Terri Theisen as a consultant to help shepherd the process. Theisen Consulting is based in the Atlanta area and has extensive experience working with non-profits as they design and implement strategic plans. Active work began in July during a senior administrative team retreat and will continue through February. As part of this process, we will be seeking feedback from all stakeholders in The Walker School community. For the past several years we have surveyed families during the month of October. This year’s survey will have additional questions specifically targeted to the future of the school that will provide essential information. I will share additional information throughout this process.
  • The SAIS Accreditation process occurs every five years. SAIS is our accrediting body, and it will have a team visit Walker in September 2024. This is a thoughtful two-part process in order to be accredited. The first part requires each school to share information that confirms that it is meeting all requirements from governing bodies. For a school like Walker, this is largely a formality, as we are vigilant about meeting all requirements throughout every year. The second part of the SAIS process involves a deeper look into possible areas of growth for the next five years. This is largely done by faculty and staff. The strategic planning process over the first half of the year will help to frame the work that we will be doing internally over the second half of the year. Dr. Greg Chalfin will be the point person for Walker as we go through this process, and every employee will be involved to some degree. As with the strategic planning process, I will be sharing updates throughout the year. 
Campus events
This is a very exciting and important year for the Walker community as we chart our path forward for the next five to 10 years! With that said, there are plenty of exciting events coming up early in the school year. There are two dates that I encourage you to put on your calendar.
  • Thursday, Aug. 17, 7:30-9 a.m.: WSA Parent Coffee, 815 Allgood (parking lot below the Primary School)
  • Friday, Aug. 18, 7 p.m.: The first home football game will be a very fun community event, and I hope that you will join us.
  • Friday, October 6, Homecoming: There will be a variety of activities going on, including our Walker Fall Festival and football game. Much more information will be shared as the date approaches!
The best day of the year is this Wednesday when classes begin and all of our 950+ students will be on campus. They are the reason we are here, and we can’t wait to get going!

Carl C. Carlson
Head of School
  • Main Campus

    700 Cobb Parkway North
    Marietta, GA 30062
  • Primary School

    830 Damar Road
    Marietta, GA 30062
The Walker School is a private, co-ed day school offering opportunities in academics, arts, and athletics for preschool, elementary, middle, and high school students in Metro Atlanta.