An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Welcoming Dr. Luis Ottley, SPA's seventh Head of School

Welcoming Dr. Luis Ottley, SPA's seventh Head of School

St. Paul Academy and Summit School is pleased to welcome Dr. Luis Ottley, the school's seventh Head of School in its 122-year history. Dr. Ottley assumed his role as SPA's leader on July 1, 2022, and his official installation as Head will be held on Wednesday, August 31, the first day of school of the 2022-23 year. Visit the installation website.

Dr. Ottley was appointed SPA's Head of School in October 2021, following an international search led by the school's Board of Trustees. He was the unanimous choice of the Board's Search Committee and was described as a "passionate and transformational leader" in the Committee's announcement to the community regarding his appointment. Dr. Ottley succeeds Bryn S. Roberts, who retired as Head of School in June 2022 following a sixteen-year tenure.

Dr. Ottley has spent his first month as Head settling into his office on the school's Randolph Campus, getting to know his administrative team, and exploring the Twin Cities with his wife Carrie and their two children, who will attend SPA's Lower School in the fall. "There's a lot of wonderful energy here, and a palpable sense that the school is in a great place," he says. "My sense is that I'm coming to a place that feels really excited about what's ahead." Summer is a relatively slow time at school, Dr. Ottley notes, but he is looking forward to meeting many more faculty and introducing himself to the parent community as the start of school approaches. "A big part of my entry plan is to have the opportunity to hear from the entire community--faculty, staff, parents, everyone," he says.

SPA is the third school Dr. Ottley has led, and he plans to draw on his experiences as a new Head in the early days of his tenure at SPA. "The idea that you could come into a school and claim to understand it immediately is misguided," he says. "What has worked for me--and I think this is one of my strengths as a leader--is the ability to listen, to lean into the culture of the school and then make assessments. The whole process is about matching your strengths with the needs of the school," he says, "and that's why I'm here in the first place. SPA's mission and commitment to its students is what drew me here, and I'm looking forward to figuring out the best ways for me to support that mission and that commitment."

Dr. Ottley has had a remarkable 30-year career as an independent school educator, administrator, and leader. He comes to SPA after serving as Head of School at St. Martin’s Episcopal School, a private day school for 650 students in preschool through Grade 8 in suburban Atlanta, since 2017. Previously, he served as Head of School at Marin Horizon School in Mill Valley, CA, for six years. He has led two Middle Schools, serving as Middle School Principal at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx (NY) and as Middle School Director at University Preparatory Academy in Seattle. He has also held multiple administrative, classroom, and coaching roles at the Shipley School (PA); the Bullis School (MD), and West Nottingham Academy (MD). He holds a B.S. from Allegheny College (PA), a M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University (MD), and an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently working towards a Master of Divinity degree from Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CA).

The entire SPA community is invited to celebrate the installation of Dr. Ottley as Head of School on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 31, at 4 p.m. on the North Lawn of the Randolph Campus. The installation ceremony will include remarks from Dr. Ottley as well as alumni/ae, parents, students, and Trustees; a reception will follow the ceremony for all attendees. View the Head of School Installation page for more information and to RSVP for the event, or contact