His focus: The students
During George N. King Jr.’s nine years as headmaster of Moravian Academy, his major focus was the students. Not just their education, but their overall growth as human beings. He was happy and proud to witness some of those students grow up before his eyes during those years.
“Several members of the class of 2016 and I started at the Academy the same year,” King said. ”It has been my pleasure to watch them develop and progress through our lower, middle and upper schools.”
He gives much of the credit for students’ success to their deep dedication and work ethic.
“When I reflect on the last nine years, I am amazed by our students’ academic and co-curricular success – they worked hard to develop mind, body, and spirit,” he explains.
Indeed, one of his most favorite things about being headmaster was interacting with Moravian Academy students, including watching them at athletic events and in theatrical and other shows.
“I enjoyed spending time with lower, middle, and upper school students, attending their games and performances, and traveling around the country visiting our impressive alumni.”
Moravian Academy is an independent school for boys and girls and encompasses preschool through 12th grade. The current school is descended from the first school for girls in the American colonies – founded in 1742 by members of the Moravian faith and welcoming students of all faiths.
The Church Street Campus in historic downtown Bethlehem houses the lower (preschool through grade 5) and middle (grades 6 through 8) schools, while the upper school (grades 9 through 12) is located on the Merle-Smith Campus in Bethlehem Township. Moravian Academy’s enrollment is approximately 730 students.
To best serve those students, King continuously worked with the faculty, leadership team and the Board of Trustees to improve all aspects of Moravian Academy, including materials, tools and facilities. One of the initiatives King helped shepherd was a comprehensive strategic initiative that began in 2014.
“The strategic planning process began with a committee of trustees and members of my leadership team interviewing strategic planning consultants and selecting a firm to lead us through the process,” he explained. “Following the completion of the selection process, committees were formed and feedback and suggestions regarding the Academy’s future was sought from members of the Moravian Academy community.”
After this process, the strategic planning leadership partnership decided to continue the process through the 2016-17 academic year; once finalized, the strategic plan will be implemented.
Another process that King said was one of his favorite memories of his time at Moravian Academy was working with the office of institutional advancement and the Board of Trustees to ensure a solid future for Moravian Academy.
“Our goal was to raise the funds necessary to ensure that our students were provided with the best materials, tools and facilities required to excel in the 21st century,” King says. “One example that I’m very proud of is the design and construction of the athletic and wellness center, which is located on the Merle-Smith Campus.”
In addition, during King’s tenure as headmaster, Moravian Academy added many sustainable initiatives, including composting, apiaries, a solar array, a community garden and the addition of the LEED-certified athletic and wellness center. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is the leading green building certification program in the country.
On April 25, the entire Moravian Academy community came together for an all-school celebration of Dr. King and his wife, Charliese. Among the entertainment were skits and musical performances, including King playing the saxophone!
“My favorite part of the celebration, for my wife and me, was the student presentations and the musical performances,” King said. He also enjoyed greeting alumni as well as the impressive number of current and former parents and colleagues who attended the event.
Students presented the Kings with pillows embroidered with special sentiments, artwork, wooden Moravian Academy armchairs and more. Various books written and put together by students were given to Dr. and Mrs. King. Students from each division shared memories of King’s nine years as headmaster. The upper school students presented the couple with a large letter M topped with engraved rough wood in an M-shape to remember them by.
That morning, the Kings were the honored guests at a breakfast celebration given by the primer, pre-K and kindergarten classes at the lower school. This celebration also included gifts and entertainment, including songs sung by the students.
Now that the festivities are over and he’s officially retired, what do the Kings plan to do?
“After unpacking all of the boxes in our house and recovering from the move to Dallas, we plan to focus on our passion for cars and motorsports,” he says. “We especially want to combine IndyCars and Formula 1 with our desire to visit exciting places in America like Long Beach, California; the Grand Canyon, and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.”
And after all is said and done, King gives all the credit for the success of Moravian Academy to others.
“I have been associated with independent and public schools, including Newark Academy and the oldest public high school in America, Boston Latin School,” he said. “I can honestly say without reservation that Moravian Academy’s faculty, students, administration, parents and alumni are the best!”