Welcome to another exciting year at Advent! As I enter my sixth year serving as Headmaster for this incredible school and my sixth year calling Birmingham home, I have spent time reflecting.  While my wife, Karen, and I certainly miss our family and friends in Mobile and continue to maintain a deep respect for the two schools I previously served, we have not regretted for one minute our decision to move to Birmingham and join the Advent family. Representing in so many ways the best that Birmingham has to offer, Advent is poised to be an integral part of the renaissance taking place in the Magic City and its surrounding areas.

When I first saw the posting for the opportunity to lead Advent six years ago, there were some things that caught my eye including this quote in the opportunity statement:

“The school is a place of academic excellence, where music is made, cultures are celebrated, questions are framed, and the search for answers begins.”

A significant part of leadership is being able to envision something not yet seen.  As I stepped into the role of Headmaster, I had visions of what this experience would and could be. Over the last five years, Advent has far exceeded my hope and initial visions.  I look forward to the next five years experiencing the Advent journey together. We will continue to ensure Advent is a “place of academic excellence, where music is made, cultures are celebrated, questions are framed, and the search for answers begins” for the many years to come.

Una Battles, the Headmistress for 43 years prior to my tenure, shared with me that there is not another school like Advent anywhere. She was absolutely right! Advent is the kind of place any Head of School, public or independent, dreams of leading. While we have room for growth, I am proud to celebrate our unique and amazing school.

  • We are one of the most diverse schools, public or private, in Birmingham. We are arguably one of the most diverse independent schools anywhere in the country.
  • Our students excel academically as demonstrated by their admissions to top high schools, standardized tests scores, and numerous awards. I challenge anyone to find our type of success anywhere.
  • Academic excellence is enhanced by every child’s participation in Chapel, French, Art, Music, and Physical Education as well as 76% participation in some type of team sport. Again, I challenge anyone to find this type of authentic whole child experience anywhere.
  • Our Kindergarten classes learn how to swim while our Math team wins state every year. Again, does this happen just anywhere?

While we celebrate the honor of being named the best K-8 independent school in Alabama for the last three consecutive years, Advent more than any school I know of anywhere continues to focus on what is next. Success is key but building capacity for improvement is our goal.

As we celebrate the start of our new school year, we give special thanks for the Class of 2019. This class begins this magical year with being one of the largest graduating classes in school history (tying with the Class of 1986). Great things are ahead for the Class of 2019 and we look forward to celebrating them this year!

Advent is a special school and we are fortunate to have a great team of faculty and staff serving children and families daily, a church committed to partnering with us to solidify our role not only in our urban setting but also in the broader communities we serve, and a Board of Trustees that appreciates our success over decades of excellence yet continues to challenge us to look to the future. All contribute to a growing appreciation to make certain that Advent stays connected with our past to support our vision for the future. And last, but certainly not least, we have a parent body that understands the importance of investing now to instill the confidence and compassion that is required for their children to lead the next generation in this great community and beyond. Go Panthers!

Palmer Kennedy

*To learn more about Advent Episcopal School, please visit our website: http://www.adventepiscopalschool.org