From President Stuart Gulley
In life, we are sometimes led to places, people, and experiences that are unexpected and prove to be truly transformative. For me, this describes the experience of coming to Woodward Academy.
In 2009, I was at my desk at LaGrange College, where I had served as President for 13 years, when I received a phone call from Woodward Board Chairman Ben F. Johnson III '61, whom I had known for years through our shared connections with Emory University. Mr. Johnson encouraged me to consider the presidency at Woodward. I was intrigued, in part because of my immense respect for Mr. Johnson's reputation as a truly visionary leader. In my career spent in higher education at Emory and LaGrange, I had not previously considered working in independent school education. Yet, when I arrived on this campus for my first visit, I immediately sensed the unique and valuable nature of Woodward's purpose, and I wanted to play a role in shaping the Academy's future.
Woodward Academy is indeed a special place with a unique culture, where students are prepared for college and for life. Our teachers offer wise guidance every step of the way, from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. We offer unparalleled opportunities in academics, the arts, and athletics as well as prolific co-curricular opportunities. Our emphasis on community service prepares students to become engaged and giving citizens of the world. Deep respect for difference is at the very core of our identity in this inclusive community shared by families from 23 metro Atlanta counties, representing all racial and ethnic backgrounds, religious traditions, learning styles, and ways of life.
We often hear that we are a microcosm of Atlanta, but I view Woodward as a microcosm of the world. Our students gain immensely from the many varied perspectives present in our community, connecting with friends and classmates, challenging each other to think independently, and learning tolerance, empathy, and gratitude. Our global reach is constantly expanding, with international students enrolling and more opportunities each year for students to experience study and travel abroad. Our approach to education, which includes a strong emphasis on community service, recognizes the intrinsic value of each individual and the importance of giving back.
I believe in servant leadership—that leaders must put aside their own needs in service to the greater good—and I see it demonstrated every day in our students. I am honored to serve here, and I am awed each day by Woodward students, not only by their intellects, leadership abilities, and academic achievements but also by their strength of character. I invite you to get to know us, visit our beautiful campus, and meet the dedicated teachers and students who inspire me daily. Our work here has far-reaching implications, as our graduates enter the world beyond Woodward to make it a better place.
F. Stuart Gulley, Ph.D.
About President Gulley
President F. Stuart Gulley, Ph.D., became the seventh President of Woodward Academy on July 1, 2009. Dr. Gulley's leadership has brought to Woodward a renewal of spirit in many ways, defining the Academy's vision to become a national standard bearer in college-preparatory education and strengthening our bonds as a community. He is committed to openness and transparency in leadership and to recognizing the value of contributions from all members of the community.
Under his leadership, the Academy has transformed its campus by completing a 15-year Master Campus Plan and successfully concluding his five-year Strategic Plan focused on Mission, Community, Sustainability, and P.E./Athletics. Woodward Academy has been designated No. 1 (for two consecutive years) and No. 2 (for three consecutive years) in the large workplace category for of the Atlanta Journal-Constitutions Top 150 Workplaces, based on results of an independent survey. President Gulley has twice received the highest honor in the special award category for leadership in large organizations from Top Workplaces.
Before coming to Woodward, Dr. Gulley served as President of LaGrange College for 13 years and for 10 years in several administrative leadership capacities at Emory University. A native of Nashville, Tenn., he graduated from Vanderbilt University with the B.A. in Modern European History, cum laude, in 1983, and earned the Master of Divinity degree, magna cum laude, from the Candler School of Theology at Emory in 1986. He completed his Ph.D. from Georgia State University in 1999. Dr. Gulley's research interests include the moral dimensions of leadership. He has written more than 30 articles and published a book, titled "The Academic President as Moral Leader: James T. Laney at Emory University, 1977-1993."
President Gulley met his wife, Kathleen Crenshaw Gulley, when both were master's degree candidates at the Candler School of Theology. They are the parents of two Woodward students, Andrew '15 and Matthew '17.