Park City Day School chooses familiar face for top job

Brad McCutcheon will serve as Park City Day School's new head of school.
Courtesy of Brad McCutcheon

Park City Day School has named Brad McCutcheon as its new head of school.

“I had been here for six years, this is my seventh year, and had been working towards this all along and have worn many hats along the way,” he said. “It feels great.”

“Brad McCutcheon has been a member of the Park City Day School community for seven years, both as a parent of three students and an administrator wearing many hats,” school board member Savannah O’Connell said in an email, listing his turns as lower school director, director of development, director of advancement, and K-4 science specialist at the school.

He said he hopes to fill the school’s enrollment sheets and create more of a name for the institution. He hopes to see the number of students from from about 160 closer to 200.

“We’re focusing on providing the highest quality academic program in Park City, but even regionally,” he said. “We want to have full classes across the board from preschool all the way through eight grade, and right now we have a few openings.

The school involves students in several projects and field trips as part of its efforts to rise above other education options. One such project, McCutcheon explained, takes place when students visit the cemetery, find someone from Park City’s past, write a monologue in their chosen person’s voice and perform it.

“That’s one example of kind of an integrated project that crosses curriculum areas,” he said. “There’s an art component, there’s a performance component, there’s a writing component and then there’s a public speaking component even.”

The school takes what McCutcheon said is “a holistic approach to education,” meaning a lot of learning happens outside what one would consider common school subjects and in areas such as visual arts, wellness and outdoor education, which involves varying lengths of trips and excursions which grow longer and more complex as students reach the latter grades of the K-8 school.

“The outdoor ed program is really a hallmark of our full academic program,” McCutcheon said. “Those trips are also connected to academic content.”

Growing up, McCutcheon watched his dad work with kids as a Little League coach and physical education teacher. With that impression and a desire to pursue education in less traditional ways, he became a rock climbing guide.

“I saw kids light up in the outdoors, and I can remember thinking in my early 20s that that was a really rewarding thing to see kids really kind of get lit up when they were learning new things outside,” he said. “I had an opportunity to kind of bring some of those skills into the classroom and I started teaching in the inner city of Philadelphia.”

He eventually sought more freedom in his teaching style, and found it in private schools.

“We don’t have to follow a script,” he said. “Nobody gets to tell us what we teach. We get to decide for ourselves.”

After he graduated with an undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College and a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Sustainability from Antioch University in New England, McCutcheon’s career took him to different environments in different locations, including the Green School in Bali, Indonesia.

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