Peter Nilsson appointed next head of school

The King’s Academy Board of Trustees today announced the appointment of Peter B. Nilsson as King’s third head of school. Nilsson will begin in July 2019 and succeeds Dr. John Austin, who will be taking on the position of head of school at Deerfield Academy.

Nilsson’s appointment brings to a close a search process that began last August through the establishment of a search committee from among the trustees and the appointment of Carney Sandoe and Associates to launch a global search effort.

According to the announcement, in their selection process, the trustees sought a visionary leader who relentlessly strives for excellence: “We wanted an energetic thought-leader in education who is as eager to keep learning as to take action, someone who inspires through character, hard work and talent. We sought a leader who is excited to absorb the local culture in order to bring out the best in the dual Jordanian-International identity of King’s.”

They found those attributes in Nilsson, who comes to King’s from Deerfield Academy, where he currently holds the position of director of research, innovation and outreach. In that position, he has connected research to school practices and developed systems for ongoing growth and innovation in the faculty. He has also explored strategic goals outside of the traditional school model. This is particularly important to King’s, as the school continues establishing itself as a leading academy that can provide an exceptional traditional boarding school experience in a digital and hyper-connected world.

Peter Nilsson

Nilsson, who was a boarding student himself at Phillips Andover Academy, holds a Master’s degree in educational leadership from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in English and music from Middlebury College. Before his current position, he was assistant dean of faculty, assistant academic dean, and an English teacher and sports coach at Deerfield.

Nilsson’s own path in life reflects his belief that teaching happens both inside and outside the classroom and that a student’s personal growth is measured by more than academic markers. He was a musician in New York for four years, where he composed and performed.

The Board of Trustees thanked Austin for his “inspiring leadership and superb work in growing King’s Academy from its fourth year until today,” adding that “it is truly amazing to see that you have done so much in such short time,” and wishing him success in his future role as head of school at Deerfield Academy.

Nilsson will be joined at King’s by his wife Crystal, their four-year-old son Oliver and their anticipated second child, due in February.