Bridget Henderson BR.stjameshead.110819.jpg

Bridget Henderson

After a nationwide search, St. James Episcopal Day School has turned to the other side of Baton Rouge for its next top administrator.

In July, Bridget Henderson will move 10 miles west to downtown to take over as Head of School at St. James. She’s spent the past nine years running the elementary school division at Episcopal High.

St. James, which is located at 445 Convention St. in downtown Baton Rouge, announced Henderson’s selection as Head of School on Thursday morning. She will replace Lauren Ray, who left in April. The Rev. Michael Kuhn has been serving as interim school leader and will finish the current school year in that post.

Founded in 1951, St. James Episcopal Day School currently has 251 students from preschool to fifth grade. In 2009 and 2015, St. James won National Blue Ribbon awards, the nation’s highest school honor.

The school’s board of trustees confirmed Henderson’s selection at a meeting Tuesday. The private religious school is a ministry of St. James Episcopal Church next door.

In making its decision, the board was following the recommendation of a search committee it established in June. That committee in turn hired The Education Group, a consulting firm based in Nashville and versed in schools like St. James. From a pool of applicants, the committee brought in three finalists to visit St. James in late October, but in the end recommended Henderson.

The Rev. Chris Duncan, rector of the church and a member of the search committee, said the search confirmed for him that “Bridget is the right person to lead our school into the future.

“The Search Committee and I believe her experience, commitment to Episcopal education and positive energy will excite the entire community,” Duncan said.

Henderson has more than 30 years of experience in education, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, and she has worked in public, private and parochial schools. She said she’s thrilled with this new opportunity.

“Every person that I met on my visit — students, teachers, parents, and members of the community — expressed a sincere love of St. James, and I am delighted to be a part of that as the next Head of School,” Henderson said.

Kuhn said Henderson is a “highly respected and experienced educator with strong administrative and organizational gifts.

“She speaks with integrity from a base of educational knowledge and takes action from a place of care for the community, her priority being the best interest for the children entrusted to her,” he said.

Email Charles Lussier at clussier@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.