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Q&A With Dr. Adam Holden, New President of Admiral Farragut Academy

What did you see at AFA that made you want to lead the school?

I was immediately impacted by both the legacy and the potential of the Admiral Farragut Academy. AFA is steeped in history with alumni working for the White House, walking on the surface of the moon, competing as professional athletes, and in significant leadership positions around the world. It’s also a school with extraordinarily strong academic preparation and an outstanding track record of international university preparation. Of course, this is all founded upon an impressive commitment to the development of leadership. It is an honor to be able to lead such a distinguished school.

What is the most enjoyable part of your day?

If I were to identify any single part of the day that I look forward to it would probably be walking through the lunchroom and seeing such a globally diverse group of students mixing so seamlessly. On any given day, I can sit at a table with students from countries all over the world and I love to see how inclusive and globally aware our students are. Of course, there are so many elements of the school day that I enjoy – and all of them involve interaction with our students or teachers. They are the heartbeat of any school.

What do you think is the greatest motivator for youth?

Even though each generation frowns on the ones that follow, I truly believe that students are just as motivated today as they ever have been. Being curious, wanting to investigate, discover, discuss, debate, problem-solve, is to be human. Our students are motivated when they are welcomed to be a part of our learning community, challenged to consistently give their best effort, nurtured in an environment that values being willing to take a risk, and, above all cared for as a valuable member of the wider school environment.

What motivates you?

Honestly, most of my professional character has been shaped by lessons learned in my own education, on the sports field and during my time in the Royal Air Force. On a personal level, obviously my faith, family and friends have been my great influencers. But, most of all, I tend to be a highly competitive individual – I hate losing! I guess that I love working as a part of a talented team, developing strategies and tactics to be successful. Perhaps that is why I feel that AFA is such a good fit for me!

You have led more than one school that was awarded the National Blue Ribbon School Award. How do you go about making a school great?

Great schools are built on the shoulders of great people. There is nothing that a head of school can do that will have a more positive impact on teaching and learning than investing in the individuals who participate in the process. Attracting and retaining the very best faculty is critical. Identifying students of good character who are eager to be active members of the school community and parents that understand the importance of the role they play in partnering with the school is equally important.

What do you look for in a great teacher?

Teaching is all about relationships. Whether it is a teacher, coach, Residential Life mentor or member of the school’s leadership team, we always look for professionals who can connect with, inspire, challenge, mentor and, most importantly, care for our students. Obviously, we seek dedicated professionals who have a deep knowledge of their subject area—those that view a career in education as a calling rather than just a job. But above all, we look for individuals who develop trusting and nurturing relationships. And that is why I am so proud of the team of professionals that we have assembled here at AFA – they epitomize each of these key characteristics.


About Dr. Adam Holden: President of Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA | Special Advisor to National Education Governmental Committees | Doctoral Graduate of the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Dr. Adam Holden was born near London, England and raised in the southern part of the United Kingdom. Adam has been a university and K-12 educator in both the private and public education systems of Europe, North and Central America for more than 25 years, and is currently the president of Admiral Farragut Academy. Dr. Holden holds doctorate degrees from the University of Cambridge and California Coast University, an education specialist degree from Fort Hays State University, a master’s degree from Washburn University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southampton.
Dr. Holden serves on the Ministry of Education Advisory Committee in Pandemic Management for the country of Panama and was named a Special Advisor to the Minister of Education for Online & Digital Learning (Panama). Dr. Holden has enjoyed an outstanding career record in education where his institutional leadership has twice earned the coveted National Blue Ribbon of Excellence Award.
Dr. Holden is a highly regarded international speaker on digital innovation in education with keynote engagements in Asia, Europe, and North and Central America in recent years as well as two TEDx presentations. Adam has multiple publications on digital technologies and blended learning, serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Online Learning Research and Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education and has been a contributor to ASCD’s SmartBlog on Education.

ABOUT ADMIRAL FARRAGUT ACADEMY
Steeped in history with alumni in the White House, astronauts on the surface of the moon, professional athletes and in key leadership positions around the world, Admiral Farragut Academy is an international university preparatory academy focusing on elite U.S.-based academics and outstanding global leadership development.
Admiral Farragut Academy’s global headquarters is located on the waterfront near the Gulf of Mexico in tropical St. Petersburg, Florida, close to the number one ranked beach in the US, a vibrant downtown harbor and a brief car ride to internationally recognized theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios.

*Presented by Admiral Farragut Academy | Originally Published in March 2022

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