Kristin Baty Watts will be the next head of The Bright School, succeeding retiring Head of School O.J. Morgan in summer 2021.
Mrs. Watts is currently director of St. Anne's Day School and Enrichment Programs in Atlanta. St. Anne's enrolls children 12 months to kindergarten in the day school program, ages 3 years to fifth grade in the after school program, and ages two to seven in the summer camp program. Director since 2016, Mrs. Watts supervises a faculty and staff of more than 40 and oversees all communication, fundraising and development efforts for the school, which has seen an increase of 60% in annual giving during her leadership. She also served as director of admissions at Trinity School in Atlanta for 11 years and previously held posts at University Lake School in Hartland, Wisconsin, and Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and her master’s degree in human resource management at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan.
“Mrs. Watts comes to Bright School with an understanding of educational curriculum and philosophy of educating the contemporary whole child,” said Board of Trustees Chair Austin Center ’85. “Her knowledge in early childhood education and experience in development, admissions, management, and operations in an independent school environment are a few of the many talents that show Mrs. Watts is the ideal appointment as the next Head of our beloved school.”
Mrs. Watts will be the 13th head of school at Bright School, which was founded in 1913 by progressive educator Mary G. Bright. Her husband, Jay, is the athletic director at GPS. Their daughter, Colby, will be a student at Bright School next year, and her stepson, Campbell, is in high school.
"I am incredibly honored to join the Bright School community. I was struck during my visits by the dedication and positivity of the faculty and staff and cannot wait to begin this exciting journey with you all this summer,” Mrs. Watts said. “The Bright School has built a strong reputation both within the Chattanooga area and beyond. I look forward to continuing to honor the strong foundation of the school along with the forward thinking necessary to evolve in the ways that we help students become wise and compassionate citizens of the world."
Mr. Morgan, head since 2004, announced his retirement in November 2019, and a national search kicked off last spring. Mr. Morgan will remain at the school through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Plans are in the works for a transition team to prepare for the new head and a committee to celebrate Mr. Morgan’s many accomplishments during his tenure.
The search committee, led by Board Chair-Elect Betsey Kates and former Board Chair Julie Guerry, included Blair Cannon, Allison Cromie ’84, Chris Curtis, Ashley Davenport, Thankful Davis, Scotty Jones, Mary Kilbride, Barry Large, Lucy Sawrie and Starlet Speakman. The faculty advisory committee assisted in the search and included Rachel Blanton, Rachel Berger, Katie Shirley, Bill Greene, Karen Smith, MacKenzie Taylor, Cindy Womack, Amanda Angel, and Matt Lauer.
The Bright School, located on a wooded campus in North Chattanooga, enrolls students from age 3 to fifth grade. The mission states, “The Bright School builds a foundation upon which students become wise and compassionate citizens of the world. Its century of progress fosters the intellectual, artistic, physical, and moral growth of young boys and girls.”
Watch a video with Mrs. Watts, Mr. Morgan and Mr. Center.