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Manlius Pebble Hill appoints its top leader


Manlius Pebble Hill school in DeWitt has appointed James Dunaway as its new head of school. Dunaway has been serving as the interim leader – or head of school – since February.

Dunaway was recruited by MPH’s board of trustees to serve as its interim leader after the school began reorganizing following the resignation of its head of school, Scott Wiggins, in June. His resignation came as the DeWitt private school struggled with a financial shortfall.

In 2014, Dunaway moved to Syracuse after 15 years at the Kinkaid School, a large, college preparatory school in Houston, Texas, where he was dean of faculty and assistant headmaster. He then served briefly as undergraduate enrollment consultant at Syracuse University.

“This was an easy decision for us to make, and there was a fair amount of serendipity at work,” said Board President John Mezzalingua. “Jim happened to move to the area to support his wife’s career at a moment in time when MPH had a crying need for someone with his leadership skills and 35 years of experience working in and leading independent schools.”

Mezzalingua said Dunaway helped the school “get past our challenges earlier in the year.” The school underwent a leadership shakeup and announced it was back on solid footing early this summer. 

Before Kinkaid, Dunaway spent 20 years at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, where he was dean of faculty.

“The greater Syracuse area is fortunate to have MPH as an educational option, and it will be a privilege to work with such a committed group of students, parents, and faculty as we work to make it even better,” Dunaway said.

Dunaway lives in DeWitt with his wife, Libby Barlow, who is assistant vice president for Institutional Research and Assessment at SU. Their daughter, Jordan, is a senior at MPH and son, Judson, is a sophomore at Villanova University.

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