New head of School Named

Date: April 23, 2021
Contact:  Johnny Jones, Chair, Board of Directors & Search Committee
Alice Shaffer, Member, Search Committee
Eric Drake, Member, Search Committee
Patrick Matthews, Member, Search Committee
Jenny Dixon, Member, Search Committee



Southampton Academy has selected Clyde Simpson Adams, III (Trey) to be the next Head of School of SA. Adams succeeds W. Scott Wasdin and will follow Interim Head Charles T. Evans (Chuck) on July 1, 2021.

Adams is a sitting Director of Admissions and Enrollment and comes to Southampton Academy from Birmingham, Alabama where, for the past five years, he has successfully led the admissions, enrollment, retention, and outplacement efforts of an infant through eighth grade school of 400 students. Adams’ resume includes tenures in North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, and Georgia in roles from upper school science teacher and Head of Upper School to Assistant Head of School for Finance and Enrollment. He also has previous experience as a member of the Board of Trustees of an early childhood school.

Adams describes his leadership style as dialog-oriented and collaborative. “I believe in bringing people together who have expertise or vested interest in a program and inviting their perspective. Nine times out of ten, the best direction or position will manifest itself from the conversation. Even if I have a strong idea about a specific initiative, dialog shapes (or shifts) my understanding as I learn different viewpoints.”

Adams is no stranger to the region and was raised about an hour-and-a-half away, just over the North Carolina state line. A native of Edenton, NC, he is the son of a North Carolina State Trooper and elementary school teacher (retired). He grew up in rural communities on boats, in the woods, and “walking rows and chopping cotton” before age 16. After graduating from JA Holmes High School in Edenton, he attended Davidson College (NC) and later received his Master of Educational Leadership from the University of Kentucky. He has lots of family in Edenton, and both he and his wife have relatives in the Tidewater area as well.

Adams’ interest in Southampton was chiefly driven by location. “I met my wife back in my hometown where she was serving as Associate Pastor of my parents’ church—20 years after I’d started my career journey. Now, with a three-year-old son, we are both interested in coming back to our roots and raising him closer to family.” Adams’ wife Kelly is a native of Southern Pines, NC and graduate of
Meredith College (NC) with a Master of Divinity from Campbell University (NC). An ordained Baptist minister, Kelly Adams is the Associate Director of the Center for Congregational Resources of Samford University where, since 2018, she has helped resource churches by serving as the project coordinator for Life is Calling, one of thirteen “innovation hubs” in the Lilly Endowment, Inc.’s Calling to Lives of Meaning and Purpose initiative.

The Head of School selection committee developed an internal and authentic process in recruiting for the Head of School position. In addition to inviting public input, the position was also posted and credentials were received and reviewed. Finalists participated in on-campus interviews. After an initial Zoom interview, Adams spent time on campus and in the area meeting stakeholder groups—including students, parents, past parents, alumni, and Board members.

Adams has begun a transition process into Southampton Academy through conversations with the Board of Directors and meetings with the Interim Head of School. The family expects to be in Courtland permanently in late June/early July, dependent upon factors related to moving and real estate.