Britt takes over as interim Head of School

Search committee chair, Chief of Staff also named

Mr. Denny Britt, Prep’s new interim Head of School. Photo by Sloan Freeman

On Monday, June 26th, Jackson Prep’s Headmaster Dr. Jason Walton resigned after three years at the helm of the school. The news reached most of the Prep community via a general statement issued by Mr. Dudley Wooley, the President of the 2016-2017 Prep Board of Trustees, saying that Dr. Walton’s letter of resignation had been accepted.

In this press release, Wooley explained the reason for Dr. Walton’s departure and assured the Prep community that a Search Committee was being formed to seek out an individual that would uphold the ideals of Prep’s mission. Mr. Will Walker was named to head that committee on July 5.

When Mr. Wooley mentioned that a Search Committee was being formed, he said that an Interim Head of School would be announced as soon as possible. As he promised, the Board of Trustees released a statement naming Mr. Denny Britt as the Interim Head of School. This decision came on June 30, just days after Dr. Walton’s resignation.

In terms of qualities I have, one is a deep knowledge and understanding of Prep.”

— Denny Britt, Interim Head of School

Mr. Denny Britt, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi, has served as Prep’s Chief Operating Officer since 2006. Prior to his arrival at Prep, Mr. Britt was associated with McRae’s, Sak’s Incorporiated, and Belk department stores for over 24 years, working in Store Operations and Financial Planning.

When looking back on how his time as COO has prepared him for this position, he said, “As far as my time at Prep, I have been fortunate to work under two incredibly gifted, but different skill-set Heads of School. They both taught me a lot about what that position requires and how to handle whatever comes.   In terms of my roles in other businesses along with Prep, in my view one learns that leadership means building a team, encouraging them, and putting others in a position where they have the ability to have an impact on the organization.  We are fortunate at Prep to have a dedicated team of faculty and staff like that already in place.”    

Mr. Britt at work in his office. Photo by Sloan Freeman.

Mr. Britt is equipped with many qualities that made him an easy candidate for this new position. “In terms of qualities, one is a deep knowledge and understanding of Prep. I know the expectation of Excellence in all that we do.  I am now starting my 12th year and have been actively engaged with helping shape and transform Prep during that time. Therefore while I serve in the role of Interim Head we will continue that effort.  Another quality I believe I have demonstrated is the skill set to not only have vision but to make it come to life.  We are fortunate to have a clear mission and strategic plan that is being implemented so we will continue to grow and evolve.”

During his time at Prep, he has been involved in many strategic plans and has been instrumental in redesigning the look of Prep’s Flowood campus.

Unexpectedly changing leadership during a school’s transition from one school year to another can cause some anxiety. Some may worry about whether or not the faculty and staff will be read and in place by the next school year. Mr. Britt wanted to relieve these worries by saying, “Absolutely we will be ready. There are many people involved in getting ready for school and they all know what they need to do.  Once school ends, we begin preparing for the next year so we are in great shape there.”

On July 5, the school announced the hiring of Ms. Jina Smith to serve as the school’s new Chief of Staff.

Mr. Britt and his staff have no plan to slow down their commitment to build on the already established strategic plan. He said his staff will build on what Dr. Walton and his administration have completed over the past three years. 

Leadership means building a team, encouraging them, and putting others in a position where they have the ability to have an impact on the organization.”

— Denny Britt

“Fortunately,” said Mr. Britt, “Our mission is clear and we have a road map that gives us direction which is the strategic plan #PREPJourney. Our our Board of Trustees entrusted to us to carry out that plan.   You will continue to see changes, enhancements, and innovations as we go forward. We just stopped a minute, took a breath, and now we are back running again.”

A Search Committee is still being formulated to find that individual who plans on modeling Prep after its strong core ideals and mission. Denny Britt will act as the Interim Head of School until a new permanent Head of School is found.