Following a nationwide search, Stephen M. Stackhouse was named the next head of upper school at Fort Worth Country Day. He replaces Bill Arnold, who assumes the strategic role as director of special projects. Stackhouse had been serving as acting head of upper school since January. Head of School Eric Lombardi made the announcement to the FWCD community in late March.
“We began a search in November for Fort Worth Country Day’s new head of upper school, describing our ideal candidate as ‘a high-energy educator with school smarts, people smarts, a good sense of humor … [and] a guide who will ask good questions about what we do and why we do it,’” Lombardi said. “I am thrilled that we have landed a leader who meets our high expectations; a high-energy educator and guide with the smarts, the sense of humor and the question-asking capacities we sought.”
Stackhouse was hired at Fort Worth Country Day in 1997 by F. Graham Brown, FWCD’s fourth head of school. He was hired to serve as senior director of operations and was responsible for coordinating the operations and personnel of the offices of communication, finance, plant operations, development, security and summer school. He worked with the directors of each of those departments to assist in the development of the school’s strategic plan and to monitor its progress.
In 2009, Stackhouse was promoted to assistant head of school under fifth Head of School Evan D. Peterson. Now in his 20th year at Fort Worth Country Day, Stackhouse has been involved in all aspects of the school experience. He has developed a tremendous master plan for the school, leading design and construction work and overseeing numerous building projects for the School: the Bryant Irvin entrance, the Middle School Expansion, the Fischer Dining Pavilion, the Lou and Nick Martin Campus Center, the Sid W. Richardson Visual Arts Center and the Patton Field House. He has led two ISAS reaccreditation processes and was the person in charge of two ISAS Arts festivals hosted on campus. He also is a presence at home football games in the press box serving as coordinator and spotter, has served as senior class dean, and teaches World Religions and Economics to senior students. As a member of the history faculty, Stackhouse has taught AP Government and Topics in History.
Stackhouse earned a BA in Government from Hampden-Sydney College, an MEd in Administration and Supervision from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the College of William & Mary. He began his school career at Christchurch School (Virginia) as a teacher and dorm master. He spent nearly 10 years at Norfolk Collegiate School (Virginia) serving as a history teacher and later as director of development, interim principal of the middle and upper schools, and, ultimately, assistant headmaster.
In 1994, he moved to The Steward School (Virginia) where he served as head of school, leading 59 faculty and staff members and a student body of 282 students. He increased the total enrollment 25 percent in two years, including 54 percent growth in the upper school and expanded to double sections at most grade levels in the lower school. He also increased annual fund revenues by 130 percent in two years.
Stackhouse is excited to take on this new role at the school. “FWCD has always set a high bar, and my predecessor, Bill Arnold, has done so much for our program and students. We will continue to build upon Country Day’s strengths seeking ways to improve and innovate,” Stackhouse said. “I am honored, challenged and excited to ‘roll up my sleeves’ and work directly with faculty, students and families to define the next chapter for Fort Worth Country Day’s upper school.”