Hargrave Military Academy’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Eric Peterson will serve as Hargrave’s next President.
Recognizing that sustained growth in enrollment and strengthening programs are best accomplished by a leader with a strong private school background, the board, faculty, and staff expressed a clear preference for candidates with exceptional independent school experience prior to the start of the national search.
Eric Peterson brings just such a profile, having decades of independent school experience including 13 years as the Head of School at St. George’s School in Rhode Island. He is currently serving as Interim Athletic Director at Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, and previously worked as a senior search consultant in the independent school market. He has taught English, History, Government, and Ethics, and has coached football, baseball and track. He has been a dorm parent, assistant director of admissions, director of admissions, associate headmaster and upper school director.
While at St. George’s, Eric led a number of curriculum and program innovations, and oversaw the execution of a multi-year strategic plan, accreditation reviews, and numerous capital projects. In addition, at Eric’s insistence and under his leadership, St George’s launched a groundbreaking independent investigation into historical sexual misconduct at the school. The investigation generated significant attention and has become a blueprint for other schools’ efforts to address past misconduct issues. The investigation concluded that the school’s efforts and Eric’s leadership had created a “very different place” from when the abuse occurred in the 1970’s and ‘80’s, and commended Eric and his leadership team for creating a “culture of respect.”
According to Ben Davenport, Chairman of Hargrave’s Board of Trustees, “We were drawn to Eric because he demonstrated not only a deep understanding of what it takes to achieve our mission of educating boys within a spiritual environment and with the benefit of a robust athletics program, but also demonstrated an enthusiasm to share with donors and the broader community the opportunity to join us in this mission.”
Commenting on the opportunity ahead, Eric notes, “I am drawn to Hargrave’s distinctive and compelling mission, which includes its Christian principles and commitment to educating men of character. I recognize that boys thrive on structure and challenge, both of which are central to the military and athletic programs. I see great opportunity for the school as we work to build for the future on Hargrave’s impressive history and traditions.”
A graduate of Deerfield Academy, Eric earned his B.A. in English, cum laude, from Dartmouth College and a J.D. with honors from Northwestern University. He played football at Dartmouth and was a member of the U.S. Bobsled Team. He holds a certificate in Design Thinking from Stanford University and has presented at the national conferences for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). Eric is a past member of the TABS Board of Directors and has led accreditation teams for the New England Associations of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Eric and his wife Krista are also co-founders of Orion Military Scholarships, a non-profit which provides boarding school scholarships to the children of United States military personnel. They have three grown sons.
Eric is expected to begin his service as President in June of 2022. Sloan Gibson will continue to serve as Interim President, working closely with Eric to ensure a smooth transition.