Jackson Academy names new head of school; Kling to lead school in Florida

Jackson Academy President Cliff Kling has accepted the position as president and chief executive officer of the Gulliver Schools effective January 1, according to chair of the Jackson Academy Board of Trustees Gregory M. Johnston.

Gulliver is the fifth largest school in the National Association of Independent Schools serving more than 2,200 students on four campuses in Coral Gables, Pinecrest, and Miami, Florida.

“It is a testament to the high caliber of Jackson Academy’s leadership team that our President would be selected to lead one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious independent schools,” Johnston said. “We wish Cliff the greatest success in his new position.”

Kling has served Jackson Academy for more than 17 years, first as chief financial officer and general counsel, and he is currently serving in his fourth year as president. His contributions to the school have been immense and include spearheading land acquisition to double the size of the main campus; overseeing the design and construction of more than $25 million of campus improvements; providing financial leadership to facilitate the implementation of JA’s Apple one-to-one program; implementing a STEM curriculum and installing three STEM labs; leading the processes of creating a new mission statement, branding identity, and a new crest; negotiating the refinancing of JA’s bond indebtedness at a savings of $165,000 per year; and working with the development office staff to raise record amounts in the JA Annual Fund, including over $420,000 this past school year.

“I am so grateful for my many years at Jackson Academy, and I will always love this school,” Kling said. “JA has afforded me such incredible opportunities for both personal and professional growth. I’ve had the privilege of working with the finest colleagues anyone could hope to have. Our school is blessed with great students, wonderful families, and an incredible faculty and staff. Heather and I are especially grateful for the many teachers who have nurtured, inspired, and equipped our daughters who have attended JA since they were three years old.”

 

Jack F. Milne has been unanimously selected by the board of trustees to succeed Kling and lead Jackson Academy as Head of School effective January 1. Milne joined JA June 1 as vice president and dean of the school, the senior administrator overseeing academics, arts, athletics, and student life.

“Jack Milne was the obvious and clear choice following so closely after the national search process that we conducted last year, which resulted in our hiring him for the role of vice president and dean of the school. We considered many high-quality candidates during our search, including sitting heads of school. Even with such outstanding candidates, Jack stood out head and shoulders above the other candidates. We recognized when we hired Jack that he has the skills, qualities, and attributes to lead a school as Head of School. More than that, we recognized what a great fit Jack is for JA, and his time on campus since joining us has certainly confirmed that,” Johnston said.

“Jackson Academy is in an enviable position of leadership succession with its next Head of School already on campus, which will allow Cliff to spend this semester working with Jack to continue to orient him to Jackson Academy and the responsibilities of leading the school.”

Milne came to JA after serving as a teacher, middle school head, and associate head at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, where he served for 17 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Vanderbilt University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law.

“When Caroline and I first set foot on the Jackson Academy campus, we could immediately sense that this was an energetic, progressive, caring, student-centered school,” Milne said. “I am grateful and deeply humbled at the trust that has been placed in me by the Trustees. I have learned a great deal under Cliff’s leadership and look forward to the next several months working with him in preparation for this critically important role. Caroline and I have been made to feel so welcomed by the JA and broader Jackson community and are excited about our future years with the school and in our new hometown.”

Milne and his wife Caroline reside on Sheffield Drive near the school. They are the parents of three adult children.

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