When Douglas Eveleth became head of school at St. Paul's School in Clearwater in 1991, the student body numbered 140. By the time Eveleth retired this month, it had grown to 500-plus.
"One of Dr. Eveleth's greatest strengths is the ability to include all of the families to become a bigger family," said school development director Laura Flannigan of Largo, a parent of St. Paul's students in the sixth and second grades.
"He put us in a place to move forward to the next level of success."
Eveleth, though, gives the credit to the rest of the school.
"My success at St. Paul's was because of excellent teachers and a great board," he said. "When you surround yourself with talented people you can't help but have success."
After a nationwide search that identified more than 100 possible candidates, Eveleth, 68, has turned over the reins to Dr. Angel Kytle as the new head of school.
In separate interviews, Kytle and Eveleth touched on common themes as they discussed the independent school, which has students from 3 years old to the eighth grade.
"My job was to build the school back," Eveleth said. "The high school had just been closed and some families had left the school. Working with a great core group, we developed a real sense of community."
"The St. Paul's community is a group of committed and connected people," Kytle said. "I was looking for a group that was just as committed to the children and community as I would be as head, and I found that."
Kytle, 40, says she and her husband were attracted to the natural beauty of the area and the abundance of recreational opportunities for their two young sons. The moved here from Atlanta, where Kytle was a department coordinator at Trinity School.
Eveleth and Kytle both cite the enthusiasm of the faculty as paramount in St. Paul's success.
Kytle said feeding the desire of students and teachers to learn will be a focus of her tenure.
"Professional development for teachers is important so that they continue to have the tools they need for serving the children well. That goes beyond academics. We serve mind, bodies and hearts. That's the art of teaching."
LaRita Jacobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4156.