Carl Carlson named next Walker Head of School

Carl Carlson was announced today as The Walker School’s new Head of School. Below is the announcement to the community from the Walker Board of Trustees and Carlson’s letter to the Walker community. Welcome to Walker, Carl!

Dear Members of The Walker School Community,
After an extensive Head of School search, it is our honor to announce that the Board of Trustees has appointed Carl Carlson to become The Walker School’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2022. In Carl, we have found an experienced teacher, administrator and leader who is well-prepared to succeed Jack Hall and lead Walker into its next chapter. Thanks to Jack’s steadfast service to Walker over the past 11 years, we can offer Carl the opportunity to assume his new role from a position of strength and positive momentum. 
When we embarked on this search last spring, we knew that our ideal candidate must possess a strong knowledge of independent schools and educational best practices and be a demonstrated leader who identifies as an educator and serves as a resource and guide for the Walker community. Our next Head of School must support our faculty and their professional growth, understand and appreciate the perspectives of our parents, as well as build and maintain relationships with a wide range of people throughout the Walker community. The Board is confident that we have secured this leader with Carl. In the words of one of his references, “I don’t think there is anyone in the country as well-prepared to be head of school – he is the best of the best.”
Carl represents our highest ideals of a visionary educator who will sustain our mission and values with strategic intention and thoughtful care. We are excited and energized by the promise and potential of Carl’s appointment as our new Head of School.
Carl 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!).
In selecting Carl as our next Head of School, we were impressed by his desire to advance Walker’s mission and his goals for the future. Carl’s personal characteristics, professional experiences and leadership skills closely align with ours, and he is well-positioned to lead Walker.
Beginning last spring, the Search Committee worked closely with our consultants at Educational Directions and are thankful for their extraordinary partnership and outreach that brought forth many impressive Head of School candidates. Following preliminary, confidential interviews with the Search Committee, three of these candidates were selected to visit the school for two days to ensure an open and transparent search. The candidates met with students, teachers, parents, administrators and trustees, followed by the opportunity for everyone to share feedback via an online survey. After performing subsequent extensive due diligence on each finalist, the Search Committee made its recommendation to the Board of Trustees, and this recommendation was unanimously approved.    
We extend our heartfelt thanks to members of the Search Committee who invested many long hours over many months on this important initiative. We also want to thank all members of the Walker community whose participation was essential to a thorough, thoughtful and inclusive search process. We are grateful for your commitment to this search process – your feedback helped us determine that Carl’s leadership, experience and abilities were right for Walker.   
Carl will take the helm of our school on its 66th anniversary and at a time of tremendous opportunity to lead Walker’s exceptional teachers, staff and administrators. We look forward to welcoming Carl and his family to Marietta and the Walker community in July 2022 and know you will join us in welcoming them. We are confident that Walker will thrive under his leadership. 
On behalf of the Walker Board of Trustees & Search Committee,
Carolynn Puffe
Chair, Walker Board of Trustees 
Dr. Alan Zuckerman
Board of Trustees,
Head of School Search Committee Chair
A letter to the Walker Community from new Head of School Carl Carlson:
Dear Walker School Community,
I am thrilled and honored to serve as The Walker School’s next Head of School. I look forward to earning your trust and respect as we move forward together through the next chapter in the School’s history.
I would like to thank the members of the Search Committee for their leadership through this process. Their enthusiasm for Walker is contagious. So many members of the community participated in the search process, and I am grateful for the time and effort, candor, varied perspectives and good humor that they graciously shared during my visits. I am excited to get to know you better, learn from you, and work together to build on the accomplishments made during Jack Hall’s eleven years of service to the school.
Fostering a sense of wonder and curiosity, believing in the infinite worth and dignity of the individual and helping students reach their full potential are pillars of the Walker experience and really resonate with me personally and professionally. During my visits to campus, I was so impressed by the Trustees’ commitment to the school’s mission and core values, the quality of the teaching and student engagement in learning, the dedication of the administrators, faculty, and staff, the loyal alumni and devoted parents, and the warmth of the entire community. Over the upcoming years, I look forward to developing meaningful relationships and to serving all of these Walker constituents.
With our youngest child graduating from high school this spring, the timing for our transition to Walker is perfect, and my wife, Alison, and I are ready for the next chapter in our lives. We are eager to move to Marietta, join the Walker community, and participate wholeheartedly in the daily life of the school and city. Walker is a special place, and we can’t wait to begin!
Warm regards,
Carl C. Carlson
  • 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.