MPH Apply Now

Manlius Pebble Hill names new headmaster after six-month search

Manlius Pebble Hill School has named D. Scott Wiggins as its new head of the private school, replacing Baxter F. Ball, who died last February.

Wiggins, 56, of Concord, Mass., will start July 1, 2012. His selection ends a national search to fill the post previously held by Ball for more than 20 years.

Tracy Frank, chief financial officer at MPH, has been serving as interim head of the DeWitt independent pre-K-12 school since Ball’s death. The school has about 560 students.

MPH’s board of trustees decided unanimously to hire Wiggins, said Jamie Sutphen, president of the MPH board. Wiggins emerged “as the gifted administrator and inspiring leader MPH needs to meet the educational challenges and opportunities of the future,” she said.

Wiggins has 25 years of experience independent school education as a teacher, coach, and administrator.

He spent six years as principal of upper school at Metairie Park Country Day School in Metairie, La., and also help positions with independent schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Colorado.

Wiggins resigned from the Lawrence Academy in June after eight years as headmaster of the 9-12 coeducational boarding and day school in Groton, Mass. He stepped down after the school was sanctioned for not adhering to financial aid rules followed by independent schools. Some of the infractions concerned the school’s football players.
The school was stripped of two football championships and banned from bowl games for the next three years.

The football coach resigned, and parents sent letters asking that the athletic director and headmaster be let go. They both subsequently resigned.

Wiggins, acknowledging that the errors in awarding financial aid had occurred on his watch, said he resigned to put an end to continuing concerns about the infractions, and to allow the school to move forward.

MPH officials said it was Wiggins himself who launched an internal investigation, and disclosed to the league any situations that could have violated league rules.

Peter Manolakos, who chaired the MPH search committee, said: “Scott’s forthrightness in working with the league and in voluntarily informing MPH from the very outset of the circumstances at Lawrence Academy demonstrated the kind of strength of character that we wanted in a leader.

’’Throughout an intensive six-month search process,” Manolakos said, “everything we learned about Scott Wiggins proved he was without doubt the best candidate to be our next head of school. His candor, truthfulness and willingness to take full responsibility for his actions make him in our eyes not only a desirable leader, but an exemplary role model for our students.”

Wiggins and his wife, Susan, have twin daughters who will be entering ninth grade in the fall.